Identify, Migrate Applications to Cloud with Velostrata, VMware Infrastructure Navigator

By: Tom NiklMay 16, 2017

The challenge facing many organizations when trying to migrate to the cloud is identifying application dependencies, and then automating a particular migration sequence. Thankfully, Velostrata and VMware have a seamless solution that can easily solve these challenges.

At a high-level, VMware Infrastructure Navigator (VIN) provides an application view of your environment. This lets IT administrators discover and itemize resources in vSphere, giving them a way to view the relationships between virtual machines and services, as well as dependencies among applications running across different virtual machines. After that, Velostrata Runbook Automation takes over and handles the orchestration and migration of these multi-tier applications to the cloud (for either testing, migration, or both).

Let’s talk a little bit more about how to set it all up. Infrastructure Navigator is included in the vRealize Operation Suite which means most vSphere users already have a license for it. VIN installs easily as an appliance with an associated plugin using the vSphere web client. Once it’s deployed and configured, it automatically begins to map dependencies in the vSphere web console for running VMs. These dependencies may be viewed at the VM-level and the vCenter-level. There are some prerequisites, like having VMware tools installed on each guest, running a supported OS, and a supported ESX version.

We’ve installed Infrastructure Navigator in our lab to provide you with a quick walk-through, and here we can see it identified 9 application services and associated servers (click to enlarge):

Clicking on the ‘Application Services’ tab yields a more detailed view of those services (click to enlarge):

To make this a practical walk-through, let’s take a look at one of these multi-tier applications – Hammer DB (SQL and Web Servers). Here are the database dependencies which Infrastructure Navigator provides for Hammer DB (click to enlarge):

We can see here that the web service is dependent on the SQL server which means for a migration we have to make sure these are moved to the cloud in the proper sequence. At this point, IT administrators now have the dependency information they need to proceed.

Now we’ll use Velostrata’s runbook automation tool, which offers another method to automate migrations (in addition to Velostrata’s PowerShell modules, RESTAPI, and vCenter Plugin). With runbook automation you can define the specific migration plan of this multi-tier application, and gives you a quick way to export key information about your VMs from vCenter into a CSV file. Once you have that CSV file, you can modify the various columns as needed to configure your migration.

One particular column, “Run Group”, will define the sequence in which these VMs get migrated into the cloud. In this case we will define that the SQL Server should be migrated before the Web server. Another column that is typically quite useful is “ProbeTCPPort”, which lets you define where to monitor for a successful migration of that VM. In this case we’ll put port 1433 for the SQL server and port 80 for the Web server.

You can, of course, continue to define other properties within the CSV file (target cloud instance configurations, as another good example) to fit the needs of your migration. You can see an example of this CSV file below (click to enlarge):

Once your CSV file is complete, you execute it using Velostrata’s runbook automation tool. Once that begins you’ll be able to monitor information about these virtual machines running in the cloud both in the runbook automation tool and in vCenter, and after just a few minutes these particular VMs will be running in cloud. Below you can see the Velostrata portlets for the two virtual machines we’re migrating from Hammer DB (click to enlarge):

What we’ve shown here today is that VMWare’s Infrastructure Navigator and Velostrata’s Runbook Automation can be used together to help organizations identify and migrate multi-tier applications to the cloud. What makes this powerful is that IT can do this directly from the vCenter management console (for both Infrastructure Navigator and Velostrata operations) which keeps things easy and familiar. It also helps IT reduce both the complexity and duration of a multi-tier application migration. It’s a critical combination for any company looking to migrate stateful, multi-tiered applications into the public cloud.

If you’d like to learn more about Velostrata be sure to watch this video of us migrating a complex, multi-tier application into the public cloud. You can always drop us a line, too, or head here to learn more about VMware Infrastructure Navigator.

Tom Nikl
Tom Nikl
Tom has spent twelve years leading product management and product marketing at technology companies large and small who focus on virtualization and cloud technologies. He currently blogs primarily about cloud migration, with an emphasis on overcoming challenges that companies face getting to the cloud and how to solve them. Prior to enterprise, Tom received a B.S. in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Outside of work he is an unabashed fan of Disney Theme Parks and various junk food. Find Tom on Twitter, too: @Tom_Nikl