VMware on Google Cloud: A Deployment Roadmap

[Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Google Cloud, Elementary, 7 minute read]

What is VMware on Google Cloud?

Google Cloud VMware Engine is a managed service that makes it possible to run VMware on the Cloud . VMware Engine allows you to run VMware resources as usual, while enjoying cloud-style provisioning and consumption, and capacity optimization, which can reduce total cost of ownership (TCO). Supported solutions include VMware vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX-T and related tools.

VMware Engine runs on Google Cloud infrastructure and is fully integrated with other Google Cloud services. Google manages the infrastructure and all network and management services required to use the VMware platform. VMware Engine is the primary way to enable Google Cloud migration of VMware resources in a local data center.

This article describes several key stages in your VMware Engine deployment, from appropriate use cases for VMware Engine, through to its private cloud architecture, and finally to operational considerations like backups and redundancy.

In this article, you will learn:

Google Cloud VMware Engine Use Cases

Here are a few main use cases in which the Google Cloud VMware solution can provide value. 

  • Extend data centers—extend local data center capabilities to the cloud, continuing to use existing hardware but without investing in upgrading and procuring new hardware. By using familiar VMware features and tools, migrating to the cloud can reduce risks and costs.
  • Scale on demand—expand and maintain capacity to meet unexpected demand, such as seasonal peaks and large development projects. Use the same architecture and strategy internally and in the cloud to reduce initial investment, accelerate deployment, and reduce complexity.
  • Virtual desktops—configure remote access to Google Cloud desktops, applications and data. By using high bandwidth connection and low-latency networking, you can give users fast access to their VMware-hosted desktops running in Google Cloud, in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments.
  • Disaster recovery—quickly retrieve data from the cloud for disaster recovery. Run a copy of local VMware infrastructure on Google Cloud resources, and use it to recover the on-premise data center.
  • High-performance applications and databases—Google provides a hyper-converged architecture for the most demanding VMware workloads. Run Oracle on Google Cloud, Microsoft SQL Server on Google Cloud, middleware systems and high performance NoSQL databases. Leverage high-speed 25 Gbps network connections to run hybrid applications across local environments and Google Cloud.

VMware Engine Private Clouds

The primary unit used to manage VMware resources in Google Cloud VMware Engine is a “private cloud”. A VMware Engine private cloud is a separate stack that includes everything you need to run VMware, fully managed by Google Cloud. This includes the ESXi hypervisor, vCenter Server, NSX, HCX, and vSAN storage.

You can manage VMWare Engine private clouds through the VMware Engine portal. Each private cloud has its own vCenter Server in a separate management domain. VMware servers run on isolated bare metal instances in Google Cloud data centers. VMware resources can be accessed via the regular VMware tools, like NSX Manager.

Network connectivity
Google Cloud lets you connect the VMware Engine private cloud to your local data center using one of three connectivity solutions:

  • Cloud VPN—creates an isolated private network within the Google Cloud datacenter
  • Cloud Interconnect—provides a highly available, low latency network connection between Google Cloud and your local data center.
  • Point-to-site VPN—connects local data centers to VMware Engine using a VPN gateway.

Related content: Google Cloud Migration Tools: Copying 1GB or 500TB? Learn How

High availability
VMware Engine private clouds provide the following high availability options:

  • The ESXi cluster is configured with vSphere HA (High Availability), and can run one or more spare nodes for fault tolerance. This prevents node and network failures from disrupting your workloads.
  • vSAN provides redundant primary storage. VSan needs at least three nodes to avoid a single point of failure. You can configure larger vSAN clusters for improved redundancy.

Related content: Understanding Google Cloud High Availability

Google Cloud VMware Engine Backup Considerations

Protecting application data in virtual machines (VMs) is a key requirement for mission-critical applications. You can use the same backup tools that you use locally to back up VMware virtual machines and VMware Engine data.

Selecting a Backup Technology

You can perform backups on VMware Engine using agents, or VMware vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) methods. Google recommends the VADP-based approach because it requires fewer changes when migrating workloads from a local site. You can also flexibly choose where to save the backup.

If your Layer 2 network extends from the local data center to VMware Engine, or the default backup storage location changes during the migration process, the agent-based backup method for migrated virtual machines requires additional configuration.

Number of Data Copies to Store

You should evaluate the company's backup needs, goals and policies. Investigate if there is a requirement to store backups in specific locations, such as local, offsite, or specific geographies. Check the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) needed for different applications. Based on all these criteria, identify the number of data copies needed to achieve backup objectives.

Where to Store Backups

Backup data for VMware Engine can be stored in multiple locations. Each location may provide a different combination of storage cost, recovery time objective (RTO), number of copies, and network access cost.

There are four main options for storing backups on Google Cloud:

  • Persistent disks attached to Compute Engine instance—Compute Engine instances can export an NFS mount on a persistent disk to a backup server. One of the advantages of this method is that persistent disks are regional and can have multiple copies in different availability zones, and even multiple regions.
  • Filestore instances—you can also use the Google Cloud Filestore managed service to export NFS volumes and use them as backup storage. However, Filestore instances are zonal and do not allow multi-region redundancy.
  • Google Cloud Storage—Cloud Storage stores multiple copies of data on different zones and regions. Data can be moved between storage tiers based on user-defined triggers (for example, you can move archive data that is not frequently needed to a low-cost cold storage tier). To see if you can use this option, check if your backup solution integrates with Google Cloud Storage.
  • NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP—a cloud service that lets you export NFS and SMB volumes for backup storage. It is a fully managed service that eliminates the overhead of network attached storage (NAS) solutions like Filestore. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides very fast synchronization, with the ability to reach RPO=0 and RTO<60 seconds for business-critical applications.

VMware on Google Cloud with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports advanced features for managing SAN storage in the cloud, catering for cloud-based database systems, as well as cloud file shares.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides high availability, ensuring business continuity with no data loss (RPO=0) and minimal recovery times (RTO < 60 secs).

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps to address the challenges of VMware Cloud, and read here about our VMware Cloud Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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