vCloud Director – Storage IOPS Management

It is a little known fact that besides compute (capacity and performance), storage capacity and external network throughput rate, vCloud Director can also manage storage IOPS (input / output or read and write operations per second) performance at provisioned virtual disk granularity. This post summarizes the current capabilities.

Cloud providers usually offer different tiers of storage that is available to tenants for consumption. IOPS management helps them to differentiate these tiers and enforce the virtual disk performance based on IOPS metric. This eliminates noisy neighbor problem, but also makes both consumption and capacity management more predictive.

vCloud Director relies on vSphere to control the maximum IOPS a VM has access to on particular storage policy through a Storage I/O Control functionality which is supported on VMFS (block) and NFS datastores (no vSAN). In vSphere this is defined at virtual hard disk level, but is enforced at VM level. vSphere however does not manage available IOPS capacity of a datastore the same way it can do with compute. That’s where vCloud Director comes in.

The cloud provider first needs to create a new vSphere custom field (iopsCapacity) and use it do define for vCloud Director managed datastore their IOPS capacity. This is done via vCenter Managed Browser Object UI and is described in KB 2148300.

Definition of Custom Field iopsCapacity in vCenter MOB UI
Configuring datastore IOPS capacity in vCenter MOB UI

vCloud Director consumes vSphere datastores through storage policies. In my case I have tag based storage policy named: 2_IOPS/GB and as the name suggests the intention is to provide two provisioned IOPS per each GB of capacity. 40 GB hard disk thus should provide 80 IOPS.

Once the storage policy is synced with vCloud Director we can add it to a Provider VDC and consume it in its Org VDCs. vCloud Director will keep track of the storage policy IOPS capacity and how much has been allocated. That information is available with vCloud API when retrieving the Provider VDC storage profile representation:

Note that the pvdcStorageProfile IopsCapacity is the total IopsCapacity for all datastores as tagged in vCenter belonging to the storage policy.

The actual definition of storage policy parameters is done via PUT call at Org VDC level again with API on the Org VDC storage profile representation. The cloud provider supplies IopsSetting element that consists of the following parameters:

  • Enabled: True if this storage profile is IOPS-based placement enabled.
  • DiskIopsMax: the max IOPS that can be given to any disk (value 0 means unlimited)
  • DiskIopsDefault: the default IOPS given to any/all disks associated with this VdcStorageProfile if user doesn’t specify one
  • StorageProfileIopsLimit: the max IOPS that can be used by this VdcStorageProfile. In other words: maximum IOPS that can be assigned across all disks associated with this VdcStorageProfile
  • DiskIopsPerGbMax: similar to DiskIopsMax but instead of a specific value, it’s the ratio of size (in GB) to IOPS. if set to 1, then a 1 GB disk is limited to 1 IOPS, if set to 10, then a 1 GB disk is limited to 10 IOPS, etc.

When a user deploys a VM utilizing IOPS enabled storage policy she can set specific requested IOPS for each disk though API (0 is treated as unlimited), or set nothing and vCloud Director will set default limit based on DiskIopsDefault or DiskIopsPerGbMax x DiskSizeInGb value, whichever is lower. The requested value must always be smaller than DiskIopsMax and also smaller than DiskIopsPerGbMax x DiskSizeInGb. The DiskIopsMax and DiskIopsDefault values must also be lower that StorageProfileIopsLimit.

In my case I wanted always to set IOPS limit to 2 IOPS per GB, so I configured Org VDC storage policy in the following way:

And this is provisioned VM as seen in vCloud Director UI

and in vCenter UI.

Additional observations:

  • Datastore clusters cannot be used together with IOPS storage policies. The reason is that when datastore clusters are used it is vCenter who is responsible for placing the disk to a specific datastore and as mentioned above, vCenter does not track IOPS capacity at datastore level, whereas the vCloud Director placement engine will take into account both the datastore capacity (GB) and IOPS capacity when finding the suitable datastore for a disk.
  • vSAN is not supported as it does not support SIOC. vSAN advanced storage policies allow specifying IOPS limits per object and can be used instead.
  • Disk IOPS can be assigned only to regular VMs, not to VM templates.
  • The disk IOPS will be always allocated against the Org VDC storage profile even if the VM is powered-off. This means the cloud provide can oversubscribe IOPS at the provider VDC storage profile level.
  • System administrator can override IOPS limits when deploying/editing tenant VMs in the system context.
  • Some vCloud Director versions have bug where the UI sends 0 (unlimited) IOPS for disk instead of null (undefined) which might result in provisioning error if it is not compliant with the policy limit.
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vCloud Director Object Storage Extension – Deep Look

VMware released last week another product that extends vCloud Director and enables Cloud Service Providers to offer additional services on top of vCloud Director out-of-the-box IaaS. Where vCloud Availability adds Disaster Recovery and migration services to vCloud Director, Container Service Extension adds the ability to deploy Kubernetes clusters, vRealize Operations Tenant App brings advanced workload monitoring, the newly released vCloud Director Object Storage Extension offers easy access for the tenants to a scalable, cheap, durable and network accessible storage for their applications.

As the name suggests it is an extension, that lives side by side to vCloud Director and that requires 3rd party object storage provider. In the 1.0 release the only supported storage provider is Cloudian Hyperstore, however other storage providers (cloud or on-prem) are coming in future releases. The extension provides multitenant S3 compatible API endpoint as well as user interface plugin for vCloud Director.

Use Cases

The object storage service is fully in the service provider competence who decides its parameters (SLAs, scalability) and upsells it to existing or new vCloud Director tenants.

The tenants can provision storage buckets and directly upload/download objects into them via the UI, or use S3 APIs or S3 compatible solutions to do so. Objects can be also accessible via S3 path-style URL for easy sharing.

Additionally tenants can provision application credentials and use them in their (stateless) workloads to persist application configuration or logs and have access to unstructured data (web servers).

Tight integration with vCloud Director also offers usage of object storage as archival or distribution resource for vCloud Director vApps and Catalogs. Tenant can capture existing vApps to a dedicated object storage bucket and later restore it to its Org VDCs.

Alternatively whole vCloud Director Organization Catalog of vApp templates and ISO images can be captured to the bucket or created from scratch by uploading individual ISO and OVA objects and used by same or another Organization even in a different vCloud Director instance via the catalog subscribe mechanism.

S3 API Compatibility

The solution supports S3 API with AWS Signature V4, which means existing applications can easily leverage the Object Storage service without the need for rewrites. The below screenshots show usage of S3 Browser freeware Windows client to manage the files.

Objects can be tagged and assigned with metadata, buckets can be tagged as well. Server side encryption can be configured by the Org Admin at tenant level or via API at object level. SSE-S3 (server managed key) and SSE-C (client supplied keys) methods are supported. Access Control List (ACL) permissions can be set at bucket or at object. Buckets can be shared within the tenant (to subset or all users) or made public.

Security credentials (pair of access and secret keys) are of two types. User credentials (can manage all users buckets and objects) and application credentials (can only manage subset of buckets). Object Storage Extension automatically creates user credential for each tenant user, however additional user or application credentials can be created. Credentials can be disabled and/or deleted.

The full set of supported S3 APIs is documented via the swagger UI on the extension endpoint (/docs) or here.

Provider Management

While the object storage tenant consumption APIs are standardized (S3 AWS APIs), each storage platform uses different admin APIs. Object Storage Extension currently does not expose provider APIs. The tenant administration (service entitlement) is done from the vCloud Director provider UI.

Other administration (quotas, usage metering, platform monitoring, etc.) are done directly through the Cloudian Management Console where the provider admin is redirected from the vCloud Director UI or optionally through Cloudian HyperStore Admin APIs.. This will change in later releases when more storage providers are supported.

Roles

Object Storage Service uses three different user personas. Provider administrator, tenant administrator and tenant user. Provider administrator manages tenant access to service and the storage platform. Tenant administrator has access to all buckets and objects of a particular tenant and can monitor consumption at organization, user or bucket level. Tenant user can only access her own buckets and objects or the ones shared with the user.

The user personas map to users based on their vCloud Director rights. The mapping in general corresponds to System Administrator / Organization Administrator / other non Organization Administrator global roles, unless these were changed in vCloud Director.

Provider Administrator (system context):

  • General: Administrator View
  • Provider VDC: View
  • Organization: View
  • UI Plugins: View

Tenant Administrator:

  • General: Administrator View
  • Organization VDC: View
  • UI Plugins: View
  • excludes: Provider VDC: View

Tenant User:

  • UI Plugins: View
  • excludes: Administrator: View

Architecture

The Object Storage Extension has 1:1 relationship with vCloud Director instance and 1:1 relationship with the storage provider (Cloudian HyperStore). Each vCloud Director Organization that is enabled to consume the service will have unique counterpart at the storage platform (Cloudian HyperStore business groups). Same is valid for users. As it is vCloud Director who provides authentication to the service, it is fully multitenant.

The diagram (taken from the official documentation) below shows all the components needed for the Object Service Extension including the traffic flows. vCloud Director 9.1 and newer is supported. Next to the vCloud Director cells you will need to deploy one or more (for HA and scalability) RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux VM nodes (dark green in the picture) that will run the Object Storage Extension service that is provided is RPM package. These VMs are essentially stateless and persist all their data in PostgreSQL DB. This could be vCloud Director external PostgreSQL DB (if possible) or a dedicated database just for the Object Storage Extension.

The service needs its own public IP address as it runs (by default) on port 443. S3 API clients or the vCloud Director UI plugin will access this endpoint. vCloud API extensibility is not used, but vCloud Director HTML 5 UI extensibility is.

The extension VM nodes need to have access to vCloud API endpoint for user authentication and for the vApp/Catalog import/export functionality. Additionally they will need fast access to the underlying object storage platform (in our case Cloudian HyperStore). Cloudian HyperStore is fully distributed with a minimum supported deployment of three (fully equivalent) storage nodes and scales essentially indefinitely. Each storage node also provides UI/API functionality. Fast L4 load balancing should be used to forward the extension calls to all storage nodes. Multiple APIs (S3, IAM and Admin) each running on separate TCP port need to be accessed as well as Cloudian Management Console for the Provider UI plugin redirection (this is the only service that needs to be set up with sticky sessions).

As can be seen the Object Storage Extension is in the datapath of the object transfers that are persisted on the storage nodes. The overhead is less than 10% when compared to accessing Cloudian directly (with TLS sessions) however the extension nodes must be sized properly (it is a CPU intensive workload) so they do not become a bottleneck. Both scale-out and scale-up options are possible.

The Cloudian HyperStore storage nodes can be deployed in three different configurations. For small environments or testing it can be deployed as virtual appliance running on vSphere (CentOS + HyperStore binary) leveraging shared (more expensive) or local disk storage (HyperStore replicates objects across storage nodes so it does not need highly available shared storage). Another options are to deploy Cloudian Hyperstore on dedicated bare metal hardware or to purchase hardware appliances directly from Cloudian. It is up to service provider to decide which form factor to use to tailor the deployment for their particular use case.

Conclusion

As this is a new product VMware is keen on collecting feedback from vCloud Director service providers on which additional storage platforms and new features should be added in the next version. You can engage with the product team via the VMware Communities website.

Load Balancing vCloud Director with NSX-T

I just have had a chance for the first time to set up vCloud Director installation that was fronted by NSX-T based load balancer (version 2.4.1). In the past I have blogged how to load balance vCloud Director cells with NSX-V:

Load Balancing vCloud Director Cells with NSX Edge Gateway

vCloud OpenAPI – Large Payload Issue with Load Balancer

NSX-T differs quite a lot from NSX-V therefore the need for this article. The load balancer instance is deployed into the NSX-T Edge Cluster which is a set of virtual or physical NSX-T Edge Nodes. There are also strict sizing guidelines related to the size and number of LB and size of Edge Nodes – see the official docs.

Certificates

Import your VCD public cert in the NSX Manager UI: System > Certificates > Import Certificate. You will need to provide name, full certificate chain, private key and set is as Service Certificate. If it is signed by Enterprise CA you will also before that import the CA cert.

Monitor

Create new monitor in Networking > Load Balancing > Monitors > Add Active Monitor HTTPs

  • protocol HTTPs
  • monitoring port 443
  • default timers
  • HTTP Request Configuration: GET /cloud/server_status, HTTP Request Version: 1
  • HTTP Response Configuration: HTTP response body: Service is up.
  • SSL Configuration: Enabled, Client Certificate: None

Profiles

Application Profile

Networking > Load Balancing > Profiles > Select Profile Type: Application > Add Application Profile > HTTP

Here in the UI we can set only Request Header Size and Request Body Size. Set both to 65535 maximum (65535 for header size and at least 52428800 for body size as ISO/OVA uploads use 50 MB chunks). We will later use API to also configure Response Header Size.

Persistence and SSL Profiles

I will reuse existing default-source-ip-lb-persistence-profile and default-balanced-client-ssl-profile.

Server Pools

Networking > Load Balancing > Server Pools > Add Server Pool

  • Algorithm: Least Connection
  • Active Monitor: picked the one created before
  • Select members: Enter individual members (do not enter port as we will reuse the pool for multiple ports)

 

Virtual Servers

We will add two virtual servers. One for UI/API and another for VM Remote Console connections. For both I have picked the same IP address from the cell logical segment. Ports will be different (443 vs 8443).

vCloud UI

  • Add virtual server: L7 HTTP
  • Ports: 443
  • Ignore Load Balancer placement for now
  • Server Pool: the one we created before
  • Application Profile: the one we created before
  • Persistence: default-source-ip-lb-persistence-profile
  • SSL Configuration: Client SSL: Enabled, Default Certificate: the one we imported before, Client SSL Profile: default-balanced-client-ssl-profile
    Server SSL: Enabled, Client Certificate: None, Server SSL Profile: default-balanced-client-ssl-profile

vCloud Console

  • Add virtual server: L4 TCP
  • Ports: 8443
  • Ignore Load Balancer placement for now
  • Server Pool: the one we created before
  • Application Profile: default-tcp-lb-app-profile
  • Persistence: disabled

Load Balancer

Now we can create load balancer instance and associate the virtual servers with it. Create the LB instance on the Tier 1 Gateway which routes to your VCD cell network. Make sure the Tier 1 Gateway runs on an Edge node with the proper size (see the doc link before).

Networking > Load Balancing > Load Balancers > Add Load Balancer

  • Size: small
  • Tier 1 Gateway
  • Add Virtual Servers: add the 2 virtual servers created in the previous step

Now we have the load balancer up and running you should get all green in the status column. We are not done yet though.

Firstly we need to increase the response header size as vCloud Director Open API sends huge headers with links. Without this, you would get H5 UI errors (Nginx 502 Bad Gateway) and some API calls would fail.  This can be currently done only with NSX Policy API. Fire up Postman or Curl and do GET and then PUT on the following URI:

NSX-manager/policy/api/v1/infra/lb-app-profiles/<profile-name>

in the payload change the response_header_size to at least 10240 50000 bytes.

And finally we will need to set up NAT so our load balanced virtual servers are available both from the outside world (on Tier-0 Gateway) as well from the internal networks. This is quite network topology specific, but do not forget the cells itself must properly connect to the public (load balanced) URL configured in vCloud Director public addresses.

vCloud Director 9.7 Appliance Tips

About half a year ago I published blog post with similar title related to vCloud Director 9.5 appliance. The changes between appliance version 9.5 and 9.7 are so significant therefore I am dedicated a whole new article to the new appliance.

Introduction

The main difference compared to 9.5 version is that vCloud Director 9.7 now comes with embedded PostgreSQL database option that supports replication, with manually triggered semi-automated fail over. The external database is no longer supported with the appliance. Service providers can still use Linux installable version of vCloud Director with external PostgreSQL or Microsoft SQL databases.

The appliance is provided in single OVA file that contains 5 different configurations (flavors). Primary node (small and large), Standby node (small and large) and vCloud Director cell application node.

All node configurations include the vCloud Director cell application services, the primary and standby also includes the database and the replication manager binaries. It is possible to deploy non-DB HA architecture with just the primary and cell nodes, however for production the DB HA is recommended and requires minimum of 3 nodes. One primary and two standbys. The reason for the need of two standby is, that at the moment the replication is configured, PostgreSQL database will not process any write requests as it is not able to synchronously replicated them to at least one standby node. This has some implications also how to remove nodes from clusters which I will get to.

I should also mention that primary and standby nodes once deployed are from appliance perspective equivalent, so standby node can become primary and vice versa. There is always only one primary DB node in the cluster.

NFS transfer share is required and is crucial for sharing information among the nodes about the cluster topology. In the appliance-nodes folder on the transfer share you will find data from each node (name, IP addresses, ssh keys) that are used to automate operations across the cluster.

Contrary to other HA database solution, there is no network load balancing or single floating IP used here, instead all vCloud Director cells are for database access always pointed to the eth1 IP address of the (current) primary node. During the failover the cells are dynamically repointed to the IP of the new node that takes the role of primary.

Speaking about networking interfaces, the appliance has two – eth0 and eth1. Both must be used, and  must have different subnets. The first one (eth0) is primarily used for the vCloud Director services (http – ports 80, 443, console proxy – port 8443, jmx – ports 61611, 61616), the second one (eth1) primary role is for database communication (port 5432). You can use both interfaces for other purposes (ssh, management, ntp, monitoring, communication with vSphere / NSX, ..). Make sure you follow the correct order during their configuration. It is so easy to mix up the subnets or port groups.

Appliance Deployment

Before starting deploying the appliance(s) make sure NFS transfer share is prepared and empty. Yes, it must be empty. When the primary node is deployed, responses.properties and other files are stored on the share and used to bootstrap other appliances in the server group and the database cluster.

The process always starts with the primary node (small or large). I would recommend large for production and small for everything else. Quite a lot of data must be provided in the form of OVF properties (transfer share path, networking, appliance and DB passwords, vCloud Director initial configuration data). As it is easy to make mistake I recommend snapshoting the VM before the first power-on so you can always revert back and fix whatever was wrong (the inputs can be changed in vCenter Flex UI, VM Edit Settings, vApp Options).

To see if the deployments succeeded or why it failed, examine the following log files on the appliance:

firstboot: /opt/vmware/var/log/firstboot
vcd setup:  /opt/vmware/var/log/vcd /setupvcd

config data can be checked in: /opt/vmware/etc/vami/ovfEnv.xml

Successful deployment of the primary node results in a single node vCloud Director instance with non-replicated DB running on the same node and with responses.properties file saved to the transfer share ready for other nodes. The file contains database connection information, certificate keystore information and secret to decrypt encrypted passwords. Needless to say, pretty sensitive information to make sure the access to NFS is restricted.

Note about certificates: the appliance generates its own self-signed certificates for the vCloud Director UI/API endpoints (http) and consoleproxy access and stores them to user certificates.ks keystore in /opt/vmware/vcloud-director which is protected with the same password as the initial appliance root password. This is important as the encrypted keystore password in the responses.properties file will be used for configuration of all other appliances and thus you must deploy them with the same appliance root password. If not, you might end up with half working node, where database will be working but the vcd service will not due to failed access to the certificate.ks keystore.

To deploy additional appliance nodes you use standby or pure VCD cell node configs. For HA DB two standbys (at least). As these nodes all run VCD service, deploying additional pure VCD cell nodes is needed only for large environments. Size of the primary and standbys should always be the same.

Database Cluster Operations

Update 2019/06/14: The official documentation has been updated to include this information.

The database appliances currently provides very simple UI on port 5480 showing the cluster state with the only operation to promote standby node and that only if the primary is failed (you cannot in the UI promote standby while primary is running).

Here is a cheat sheet of other database related operations you might need to do through CLI:

  • Start, stop and reload configuration of database on a particular node:
    systemctl start vpostgres.service
    systemctl stop vpostgres.service
    systemctl reload vpostgres.service
  • Show cluster status as seen by particular node:
    sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf cluster show
  • Planned DB failover (for example for a node maintenance). On the standby cell run:
    sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin/repmgr standby switchover -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/etc/repmgr.conf –siblings-follow

Location of important database related files:
psql (DB CLI client): /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin/psql
configuration, logs and data files: /var/vmware/vpostgres/current/pgdata

How to Rejoin Failed Database Node to the Cluster

The only supported way is to deploy a new node. You should deploy it as standby node and as mentioned in the deployment chapter it will automatically bootstrap and replicate the database content. That can take some time depending on the databse size. You will need to clean up the old failed VCD cell in vCloud Director Admin UI – Cloud Cells section.

There is an unsupported way to rejoin failed node without redeploy, but use at your own risk – all commands are triggered on the failed node:

Stop the DB service:
systemctl stop vpostgres.service

Delete stale DB data:
rm -rf /var/vmware/vpostgres/current/pgdata

Clone DB from the primary (use its eth1 IP):
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin/repmgr -h <primary_database_IP> -U repmgr -d repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/etc/repmgr.conf standby clone

Start the DB service:
systemctl start vpostgres.service

Add the node to repmgr cluster:
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin/repmgr -h <primary_database_IP> -U repmgr -d repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/etc/repmgr.conf standby register –force

How to Remove Failed Standby Node from the Cluster

On the primary node find the failed node ID via the repmgr cluster status command:
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf cluster show

Now unregister failed node by providing its ID (e.g. 13416):
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf standby unregister –node-id=13416

Clean up failed VCD cell in Cloud Cells VCD Admin UI.

How to Revert from DB Cluster to Single DB Node Deployment

As mentioned in the introduction, if you shutdown both (all) standby nodes, your primary database will stop serving write I/O request. So how to get out of this pickle?

First, unregister both (deleted) standbys via the previous mentioned commands:

sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf cluster show
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf standby unregister –node-id=<id1>
sudo -i -u postgres /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/bin/repmgr -f /opt/vmware/vpostgres/10/etc/repmgr.conf standby unregister –node-id=<id2>

Delete appliance-nodes subfolders on the transfer share corresponding to these nodes. Use grep -R standby /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/appliance-nodes to find out which folders should be deleted.

For example:
rm -Rf /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/appliance-nodes/node-38037bcd-1545-49fc-86f2-d0187b4e9768

And finally edit postgresql.conf and change synchronous_standby_names line to synchronous_standby_names = ”. This disables the wait for the transaction commit to at least one standby.

vi /var/vmware/vpostgres/current/pgdata/postgresql.conf

Reload DB config: systemctl reload vpostgres.service.  The database should start serving write I/O requests.

Upgrade and Migration to Appliance

Moving both from Linux cells or 9.5 appliance to 9.7 appliance with embedded DB requires a migration. Unfortunately, it is not possible to just upgrade 9.5 appliance to 9.7 due to the embedded database design.

The way to get to 9.7 appliance is you will first upgrade the existing environment to 9.7, then deploy a brand new 9.7 appliance based environment and transplant the old database content to it.

It is a not a simple process. I recommend testing it up front on a production clone so you are not surprised during the actual migration maintenance window. The procedure is documented in official docs, I will provide only high level process and my notes.

  • Upgrade existing setup to 9.7(.0.x) version. Shut down VCD service and backup the database, global.properties, responses.properties and certificate files. Shut down the nodes if we are going to reuse their IPs.
  • Prepare clean NFS share and deploy single node appliance based VCD instance. I prefer to do the migration on single node instance and then expand it to multi node HA when the transplant is done.
  • Shut down the vcd service on the appliance, delete its vcloud database so we can start with the transplant.
  • We will restore the database (if the source is MS SQL we will use cell-management-tool migration) and overwrite global.properties and responses.properties files. Do not overwrite the user certificate.ks file.
  • Now we will run  the configure script to finalize the transplant. At this point on 9.7.0.1 appliance I hit a bug that was related to SSL DB communication. In case your global.properties file contains vcloud.ssl.truststore.password line, comment it out and run the configure script with SSL disabled. This is my example:
    /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/configure –unattended-installation –database-type postgres –database-user vcloud \
    –database-password “VMware1!” –database-host 10.0.4.62 –database-port 5432 \
    –database-name vcloud –database-ssl false –uuid –keystore /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks \
    –keystore-password “VMware1!” –primary-ip 10.0.1.62 \
    –console-proxy-ip 10.0.1.62 –console-proxy-port-https 8443
  • Update 2019/05/24: The correct way to resolve the bug is to also copy truststore file from the source (if the file does not exist, which can happen if the source was freshly upgraded to 9.7.0.1 or later start the vmware-vcd service at least once). The official docs will be updated shortly. The configure script can be then run with ssl set to true:
    /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/configure –unattended-installation –database-type postgres –database-user vcloud \
    –database-password “VMware1!” –database-host 10.0.4.62 –database-port 5432 \
    –database-name vcloud –database-ssl true–uuid –keystore /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks \
    –keystore-password “VMware1!” –primary-ip 10.0.1.62 \
    –console-proxy-ip 10.0.1.62 –console-proxy-port-https 8443Note that the keystore password is the inital appliance root password! We are still reusing appliance autogenerated self-signed certs at this point.
  • If this went right, start the vcd service and deploy additional nodes as needed.
  • On each node replace self-signed certificate with the CA signed.

Backup and Restore

The backup of the appliance is very easy, the restore less so. The backup is triggered from the primary node with the command:

/opt/vmware/appliance/bin/create-db-backup

It creates single tar file with database content and additional data to fully restore the vCloud Director instance. The problem is that partial restores (that would reuse existing nodes) are nearly impossible (at least in HA DB cluster scenario) and the restore involve basically the same procedure as was the case with migration.

CA Certificate Replacement

There are probably many ways how to accomplish this. You can create your own keystore and import certificates from it with cell-management-tool certificates command to the existing appliance /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks keystore. Or you can replace the appliance certificate.ks file and re-run the configure command. See here for deep dive.

Note that the appliance UI (on port 5480) uses different certificates. These are stored in /opt/vmware/appliance/etc/ssl. I will update this post with the procedure once it is available.

External DB Access

In case you need to access vCloud Director database externally, you must edit pg_hba.conf file with the IP address or subnet of the external host. However, pg_hba.conf file is dynamically generated and any manual changes will be quickly overwritten. The correct procedure is to create on the DB appliance node new file (with any name) in /opt/vmware/appliance/etc/pg_hba.d folder with a similar line:

host all all 10.0.2.0/24 md5

Which means that any host from 10.0.2.0/24 subnet will be able to log in via password authentication method with any database user account and access any database.

There is currently not an easy way to use network load balancer to always point to the primary node. This is planned for the next vCloud Director release.

Postgres User Time Bomb

Both vCloud Director 9.7 and 9.7.0.1 appliance version have unfortunate time bomb issue where postgres user account will expire in 60 days (since the appliance creation, not its deployment). When that happens, the repmgr commands triggered via ssh stop working. So for example UI initiated failover with the promote button will not work.

The 9.7 appliance postgres user expires May 25 2019, 9.7.0.1 appliance postgres user expires July 9 2019. The fix is as root on each DB appliance run the following command (see KB 70332):
chage -M -1 -d 1 postgres

You can check the postgres account status with:
chage -l postgres

 

 

Patching vCloud Director 9.7 Appliance

vCloud Director 9.7.0.1 patch has just been released and it is the first opportunity to patch the appliance edition of vCloud Director. Let me describe the process.

I have three appliance deployment with each node running the embedded database in active – standby – standby configuration. While in theory you could treat the appliance as regular Linux deployment and use the same patching process that was used for years by simply running vmware-vcloud-director-distribution-9.7.0-13635483.bin this would not patch just the vCloud Director binaries, but not the appliance packages. Therefore we must follow completely different process.

It should also be noted that currently we cannot use the automated orchestrated upgrade procedure or appliance UI. Hopefully both will come in the future as the appliance version matures.

Download the Appliance upgrade file: VMware_vCloud_Director_9.7.0.4264-13635483_update.tar.gz and unpack it to a transfer directory that is available to all the cells.

mkdir /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/update

tar xzf VMware_vCloud_Director_9.7.0.4264-13635483_update.tar.gz -C /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/update

Now on each cell we will have to set the repo, check if we need to update, shutdown the vCloud Director service and patch.

vamicli update –repo file:///opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/update/

vamicli update –check

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/cell-management-tool -u administrator cell -s

vamicli update –install latest

Note that during the whole process that embedded database is still running on each node, so until the vcd service shutdown of the last node the vCloud Director is still functional.

Once the last node is patched we can upgrade the database schema. Before we do that we will make a database backup. This is done from the primary DB node (which node is primary can be checked at the vCD Database Availability UI running on each node on port 5480).

/opt/vmware/appliance/bin/create-db-backup

The backup is created in the pgdb-backup folder in the transfer share (e.g. /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/data/transfer/pgdb-backup/db-backup-2019-05-20-090502.tgz).

Now we can finally proceed with the database schema upgrade:

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/upgrade

If everything went right we can start vcd service on each cell and enjoy our updated vCloud Director instance.

service-vmware vcd start