Just Another IT Blog

It's time to share some of my experiences, crazy ideas, tips and tricks !!!

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 Recently I’ve been faced with a challenge on a client’s vCloud Director Implementation.
Their vCloud solution allows customers to choose to consume resources from two different locations. Those 2 Providers VDCs are backed by resources from two distinct sites.

Originally, they were holding a single Public Catalog stored on Datacenter A, but when users provisions vApps on Datacenter B, the templates got copied over the WAN, taking a long time to complete and prejudicing the user’s experience.

To provide the best user’s experience possible, I suggest to create a new Catalog, storing their data on Datacenter B, so the clients provisioning on Datacenter B chooses templates from Catalog B, keeping provisioning locally and enhancing the user’s experience.

It came down with the need to maintain two separate Catalogs.
Thanks to a new feature introduced by VMware vCloud Director 5.5, it’s now a piece of cake.

Let’s see how to Publish Catalog Externally:

First thing is to enable the Org to either Publish or Subscribe to a catalog,
- On the properties of the Organization, click on Catalog Tab
Select the desired option:
- Allow publishing external catalogs
- Allow subscribing to external catalogs

Now let’s create the Source Catalog
- On the Org, click on Catalogs tab and then on the plus sign to create a new catalog

- Give it a Name a Description and click Next

- Select a datastore where to store the templates and click Next
On our example, would be a datastore on Datacenter A

 - Set up the Catalog sharing as you would normally do and click Next

 Here’s where the magic happens
- Enable Publishing, protect it with a password is a good idea to avoid others subscribing to your catalog without your knowledge.

 - Click Finish to create the Catalog

Add the templates to the recently created Catalog as you would normally do.
At this point your Catalog is created and available to subscription from others, but in fact we don’t know your Catalog’s address yet.

- Back on Catalog tab, select the source Catalog and check Publish/Subscribe Settings..

 - Click on the External Publishing tab, there you will find the Catalog’s address, just copy it.
Now we just need to create an empty Catalog and subscribe to the content of the source one.

When creating a new Catalog..
- select Subscribe to an external Catalog, fill with the source Catalog’s address and the password for accessing it.

 Everything else is the same as a regular Catalog, just make sure to select a datastore on the correspondent site.
On or example, would be a datastore from Datacenter B.

Once it’s done you will see it’s Synchronization taking place.

One thing to be aware of is related with the transfer area of vCloud’s Cells.
During the synchronization, the templates are first exported to vCloud’s Cell transfer area then copied to the datastore of the destination.

You can see by the screen bellow that there was not folder in there, then during the synchronization a folder called 6326975a-a9b1-454b-97be-c416cc1526f got created, the data (vmdk) is copied to there and deleted after synchronization.

 Plan your transfer area accordingly

I’m sure you can come up with a lot of other use cases for this feature, like, if you have access to a Public Cloud and want to use your own catalog on-premises and off –premises.

Good Publishing….

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