Recently I had to run a workshop for our IT personnel in international branches. The workshop centred around setting up Windows 2012 Domain and various other roles. I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to test vCloud Air and use it to setup the labs for the participants.
VMware very kindly offer £300 credit to use over the first 90 days when you sign up for the trial. To sign up head over to https://signupvcloud.vmware.com/1094/purl-signup?x-tenantType=VMW5450000&x-serviceName=vCloud&x-promoCode=ondemand2015&language=en&country=uk&form=open. If you already have a My VMware account you can start your trial with that or you will have to setup a new account.
The sign up process is fairly straight forward, you need to specify your credit card details and the type of support you want.
After clicking through various activation emails and setting up the admin account the vCloud Air service will be activated and will appear under Manage Services in your My VMware account.
Selecting the service shows various usage information, and more importantly the cost of usage.
You can launch the vCloud Air portal by clicking launch service from here or going directly to https://vca.vmware.com
Once logged in there are three sections available to you, the two that we are interested in are Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand and Identity and Access.
Access to the resources in vCloud Air is configured by setting up users under Identity and Access and giving levels of access.
Creation of resources such as Data Centers, Virtual Machines and Networks are created in the Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand section. First thing we need to do is create our first Data Center.
vCloud Air comes with some prebuilt OS templates for creating your virtual machines but for my labs I wanted to use my own Windows 2012 R2 and Windows 10 templates. To create your own templates you need to use the ovftool to upload ovf files to your vCloud Air account.
The knowledge base article at https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=2142271 explains how to do this.
By default vCloud Air trial comes with one network and one gateway, for my purposes one gateway is sufficient but I will need several networks. To add additional networks go the Networks tab and add from there.
Once the templates and networks are in place we are ready to start creating our virtual machines, navigate to the Virtual Machines tab and click New Virtual Machine. Your own templates will be listed under My Catalog.
Specify the resource options and click Create Virtual Machine. The creation of the virtual machine only takes a few minutes and you can create them simultaneously.
Final step is to assign the virtual machines to the accounts created earlier.
I have to say I was very impressed with the ease of use, the performance and flexibility of using vCloud Air. I will certainly be using vCloud Air for future workshops, training and possibly testing new solutions as well.