Magilla
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VMWare vCloud Director and a Test enviorment

I'm looking at building a lab environment and a co worker says I need to use vCloud director as apposed to using lab manager. I've got a couple questions and concerns before I head down that road.

First I want to build a test environment, where different groups can test their applications without stepping on others. Most of my VM's will never change but they made need to edit one or two servers in order to preform integration testing with their application.

1. I'd like them to be able to log in from their terminals on the primary network as apposed to setting up a desktop for each environment. I don't mind if they use an application like view or something, but I just want to stay away from multiple systems for each user.

2. I was told that vCloud Director could assign a single VM to multiple environments. For example if two groups are working on different applications and need to make different changes to the same IIS server that those would appear different in the enviorment but since Active Directory wouldn't change their domain controller would remain the same machine, is that correct? How does vCloud Director handle IP address conflicts?

3. Also in this lab environment I don't want to have to keep changing IP Addresses to avoid DNS Conflicts. I'd like to move production to this lab and let them run to minimize administration, but I need to connect them to an exterior machine since VMWare doesn't support SPARC. Does each machine need its own VLAN back into the network.

Thanks.

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cfor
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If setting up a new system you should look at vCloud over LabManager as lab manager is no longer the lab tool from VMware (vCloud was release in part to replace).

1. I'd like them to be able to log in from their terminals on the primary network as apposed to setting up a desktop for each environment. I don't mind if they use an application like view or something, but I just want to stay away from multiple systems for each user.

* We have our users just RDP and SSH directly to the "lab" box.  We use a 1:1 NAT to allow for this, while still allowing for a firewall'ed secure lab kit. (vApp)

2. I was told that vCloud Director could assign a single VM to multiple environments. For example if two groups are working on different applications and need to make different changes to the same IIS server that those would appear different in the enviorment but since Active Directory wouldn't change their domain controller would remain the same machine, is that correct? How does vCloud Director handle IP address conflicts?

* One way (and what I have found to be a good way in many of these cases) - each "user or group" should be given their own lab (vApp) - this vapp will contain 100% of the systems and services needed to test.  This allows the user to change all they want and not cause any impact to others.  If you store the "base image" of the vapp in the catalog before users modify, then users can get new copies when they mess their copy up.

3. Also in this lab environment I don't want to have to keep changing IP Addresses to avoid DNS Conflicts. I'd like to move production to this lab and let them run to minimize administration, but I need to connect them to an exterior machine since VMWare doesn't support SPARC. Does each machine need its own VLAN back into the network.

* You can configure the network in various ways.  vCloud supports a few network isolation technologies, but VxLan is what you should be looking at.  This would back 1000's of private networks with a single vlan.  vCloud has settings to keep IP addresses from changing, and a good firewall and NAT gateway (via vCNS - included with vCloud Suite). 

My suggestion is read (or skim) the admin guide as well as the vCloud Architecture Toolkit - then setup a small vCound instance and see how you think you will use it.  Rarely will your first setup idea be your end-state with a very complex product like vCloud.  -- And as always, VMware has people to help - and this community is around to help as well.

ChrisF (VCP4, VCP5, VCP-Cloud) - If you find this or any other answer useful please consider awarding points by marking the answer correct or helpful
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