Provisioning and expanding an IBM Cloud VMware instance via API

IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions recently released a set of public APIs. These APIs allow you to use your IBM Cloud API key to perform operations such as:

  • Get information about your vCenter instance, admin credentials, deployment history, clusters, and hosts
  • Verify parameters for ordering a new vCenter instance, cluster, or hosts
  • Order or remove a vCenter instance, cluster, or hosts

I’ve written some sample code demonstrating how you can authenticate with the IBM Cloud APIs using your API key, and how to interact with the IBM Cloud for VMware APIs. Note that these samples only perform order verification, but you can easily extend them to perform actual orders or removals.

A key use case for these APIs is to expand and contract your VMware instance based on utilization or for workload bursting scenarios. With these APIs, you can now fully automate this process.

Updates to VMware on IBM Cloud

On Monday, March 25, IBM Cloud released the latest updates to our VMware Solutions offerings. The enhancements in this release include:

  • As we announced at Think 2019, IBM Cloud now offers Caveonix RiskForesight as an add–on service for your VMware vCenter Server (VCS) instance. Caveonix RiskForesight helps you to manage compliance risks with proactive monitoring and automated defense controls to protect against threats and to meet industry and government regulations.
  • You now have the option to deploy a VMware vCenter Server (VCS), hybridity bundle, or VMware vSphere Server (VSS) instance using VMware vSphere 6.7u1 and vCenter Server 6.7u1, in addition to version 6.5u2. Note that vSphere 6.7u1 is not available on all hardware combinations.
  • You now have the option to deploy a VMware vCenter Server (VCS) or hybridity bundle instance using VMware NSX-T version 2.4, in addition to NSX-V version 6.4.4. We offer NSX-T at this time for proof of concept, test, and sandbox purposes to test drive this exciting new network technology from VMware.
  • IBM Cloud has updated the versions of several add–on services available for VCS. F5 BIG–IP Virtual Edition is updated to V14.1.0.2; HyTrust Cloud Control is updated to V5.4.2; Zerto Virtual Replication is updated to V6.5 update 3; and Veeam Backup & Replication is updated to V9.5 update 4.
  • The latest version of Veeam now supports IBM Cloud Object Storage as a storage tier, which enables much more cost effective long–term storage for your virtual machine backups.
  • IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions now deploys new ESXi servers for your VCS instance with secure shell (SSH) disabled.
  • You can now simultaneously add or remove ESXi servers from multiple clusters in a VCS instance.
  • You now have the option to add new ESXi servers to their VCS clusters in maintenance mode. This allows you to perform custom configuration on these servers before any virtual machines run on that server.
  • IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions now provides a REST API that you can use to deploy and delete VCS instances, clusters, and hosts.
  • IBM Cloud increased the maximum size of Endurance file storage for a VCS instance from 12 TB to 24 TB. The larger sizes are available at performance levels of 0.25, 2, and 4 IOPS/GB.
  • IBM Cloud’s KMIP for VMware key management service offering is now available in the Sydney multi–zone region (MZR).
  • You can now display the VLANs and subnets allocated to your VCS instance on the instance’s Infrastructure view in the IBM Cloud portal.

Additionally, you should be aware of the following announcements:

  • Beginning May 13, IBM Cloud will no longer support VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). IBM Cloud is actively working with existing VCF customers on a transition or migration plan.
  • Beginning in August, IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions will no longer support VLAN spanning. If you are using VLAN spanning, you should convert your account to Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF) by this time. Additionally, you will be required to enable Service Endpoints for your account by this time.

For details on all of these features and announcements, see the IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions release notes and related documentation.

IBM Cloud for VMware at Think 2019

IBM Cloud for VMware at Think 2019

IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions had a strong presence at the IBM Think 2019 conference in San Francisco last week, with many main stage announcements, think tank discussions, and breakout sessions.

See the IBM Cloud blog for the full list of our announcements: VMware on IBM Cloud at Think 2019.

There was particularly strong interest in our forthcoming offering of Caveonix RiskForesight on IBM Cloud. RiskForesight provides a set of powerful compliance monitoring, remediation, and reporting capabilities for both your cloud and on-premises workloads. We are very excited to be working with Caveonix!

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Large file transfers into the IBM Cloud

I like to use IBM Cloud Object Storage to transfer large files (e.g., an OVA file) into the IBM Cloud infrastructure private network. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Order an instance of Cloud Object Storage if you don’t already have one
  2. Create a storage bucket with the region and storage class of your choice if you don’t already have one
  3. Create a COS service credential. To ensure interoperability with standard S3 tools, you should create an HMAC style credential. You can do this by adding an {"HMAC":true} configuration parameter when creating the credential.
  4. Download the S3 tool of your choice. I like to use the awscli tool:
      1. pip install awscli
      2. Edit the file ~/.aws/credentials to specify your credentials created above:
        [default]
        aws_access_key_id=...
        aws_secret_access_key=...
  5. Now you can use the aws tool to copy a file to your bucket and to generate a presigned URL that you can use to download it:
    aws --endpoint=https://s3-api.us-geo.objectstorage.softlayer.net s3 cp filename s3://bucketname/
    aws --endpoint=https://s3-api.us-geo.objectstorage.softlayer.net s3 presign s3://bucketname/filename --expires-in 31536000
    # returns a URL that you can then use with curl
  6. You can use this URL within the IBM Cloud private network to download your file. For example, I can SSH to an ESXi host and use wget to download an OVA file directly to my vSAN datastore. You’ll need to be sure to adjust the URL to use the correct private endpoint for your storage region.