Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud v3.1 – What’s New?

Recap:  The Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is an engineered solution that uses the best of breed products, engineering, and services from EMC & VMware.  The solution provides a self-service portal where IT consumers can request and provision resources from IT, such as Virtual Servers and fully functional applications with the click of a button.

In the latest installment of the solution, there are a few new features and capabilities that are pretty exciting.  Let’s take a quick look at some of them, and what they mean for both IT and the Business.

  • Platform Enhancements
  • Operational Enhancements
  • 3rd Party Integrations
  • New Cloud Management Infrastructure Options
  • Backup, CA, and DR Enhancements
  • New Security features for On and Off-Premises
  • VCE Foundations speeds up the delivery of your Infrastructure and adds new workflows for managing the Vblock

Platform Enhancements


As the infrastructure and software managing the solutions is continually maturing, the support for these changes needs to be included in the solution.  What’s new in this version?

  • Support for VMAX3
  • EMC ViPR 2.3 enables additional plaforms to be supported
  • Hadoop File Services on Native EMC Isilon storage
  • Support for EMC ScaleIO Block Storage
  • EMC VSPEX Blue as a ROBO End Point
  • VMware vRealize Suite Upgrades to version 6.2.x

With these new platforms supported, IT has some great new options to enable even more choice for running mission critical workloads on the VMAX3 platform, or to be able now to leverage the massive scale out and low entry prices of ScaleIO.  VSPEX Blue as a ROBO endpoint now gives enterprises the ability to deploy local cloud infrastructure into remote offices, enabling centralized control but with distributed application provisioning.  Much of these new capabilities are made possible due to the upgrade to version 2.2 SP1 of the ViPR Controller.

Operational Enhancements

The solution has some exciting new advances and features that customers have been asking for.  These updates to the solution make it an even better fit for organizations looking to use the cloud for more than just “Test and Dev”;  it’s even more suited for production enterprise workloads.  Let’s take a look at what’s happening…hybridcloud2

  • Backup services are enhanced in this version of the solution to enable multiple Avamar environments to be included in the infrastructure
  • New options for the hosting infrastructure on the cloud management pods will increase the efficiency of the use of infrastructure and could reduce the cost for physical hardware required to run the cloud environment.
  • Virtual Machine affinity can now be set in cases where there are more than 2 sites being managed by a single vCenter.
  • New Data Protection Services enabled in the portal give cloud administrators new control over the configuration of the Avamar grids as they cross sites and replicate with each other.
  • Multiple sites can now be active at the same time, increasing greatly the efficiency of a multi-site deployment disaster-recovery enabled environment.
  • The solution also now enables the use of multiple vCenters.  This lets customers design new types of architecture designs in their cloud data centers and gives more flexibility to add more sites and internal “tenants” to the hybrid cloud.

3rd Party Integrations:  Adding more features…faster.

hybridcloud3With the release of this new version of the solution, the Cloud Solutions team is also introducing the concept of the 3rd Party Integration.  These new integrations are add-ons the foundation solution, but unlike our official Modular Add-Ons, are not “engineered” by EMC to be a part of the solution.

3rd party integrations come from the field.  They come from our customers working with our field services teams to take well-known applications that use common APIs and plug them into and validate them.

They don’t have the same level of engineered and eLab validation as our Foundation and Official Modular Add-Ons, but the come from the community where these integrations have both ecosystem and EMC services validation

Our first set of integrations that we have today are listed here.  But the great thing about this new program, is that this list of integrations is going to grow rapidly as more customers engage with the EMC Global Services teams to take THIER hybrid cloud solution to the new places.

New Cloud Management Infrastructure Options


As customers have begun to work with EMC to architect their hybrid clouds, some have recognized the value of the distributed management pod, which places the various components required to operate and manage the cloud into different vSphere clusters.  By dividing the management resources and functions into separate clusters, our customer achieve the greatest amount of protection and scalability possible.

There are some customers and scenarios, where the need for a more cost-effective and efficient management infrastructure outweighed the need for the greatest amount of protection and resource scalability.

For these situations, the solution now supports two models of architecting the management pod.  The new “Collapsed” model reduces all of the management components into a single vSphere cluster, but divided now into vSphere resource pools to still enable some protection of the management workloads running.

Protecting Your Cloud Even Better


Protecting your most important data is an area where EMC excels and has raised the bar in our infrastructure products and solutions.  In the latest release, new capabilities are added to make this an even easier and more robust offering when used in conjunction with the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

Backup capabilities are improved to support multiple Avamar systems, backup performance is improved, and integration with multiple-site designs is also added.  Continuous availability with VPLEX also gets enhanced to support site affinity rules and new workflows enable automatic configuration of VPLEX consistency groups.

Recoverpoint integration in the solution adds capabilities to support Active/Active DR protection, and new workflows to enable and configure the replication and failover tasks taking a huge amount of effort and risk off of the table for cloud and storage admins.

New Security Features for On and Off-Premises Workloadshybridcloud

Security for the Hybrid Cloud is a very serious concern.  To that end, the new version adds several measures intended to add more control, isolation, and protection of your critical data.  Micro-segmentation uses Software Defined Networking to enable cloud users to deploy workloads wrapped in virtual firewalls to ensure that only authorized network access is allowed.

VM at rest encryption comes to the solution by way of EMC’s 2014 acquisition of Cloudlink SecureVM.  With the SecureVM add-on, virtual servers living on-premises or in the cloud can be encrypted and the keys managed by a central, customer-controlled tool.

Palo Alto Networks as a 3rd party integration into the solution provided advanced networking monitoring and intrusion detection through the NSX software defined networking element of the virtual infrastructure.

Want Your Cloud Even Faster?


Hopefully by now you’ve heard of the VCE Vblock.  The value that VCE offers centers around getting you an enterprise-class converged infrastructure right from the factory, and then continuing to support it with a centralized support model and regular design and upgrade guidance in the form of a highly-engineered and tested release control matrix.  (sound familiar?)

Now, VCE gets into the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud game by accelerating the time to value by factory integrating the solution software stack on Vblocks that have been pre-qualified and sized appropriately.  Now, you get a fully engineered hardware AND software stack…and quickly.

New Management Workflows for VCE Vblocks

hybridcloudThis is pretty interesting.  For customers who choose Vblock as their cloud infrastructure and go with the VCE Foundations (you have to get them this way from the factory) you’ll get a bunch of NEW workflows in your service catalog.  I think that they are fairly self-explanatory…

  • Create Cluster
  • Remove Cluster
  • Add ESXi Host
  • Remove ESXi Host
  • Create VLAN
  • Remove VLAN

Wrapping Up

That’s a lot of new features…and there are many more.

Interested in learning more about the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud?

About the Author: Jim Sanzone