The entire purpose of constructing an Software Defined Data Center is to allow new data center services to be rapidly provisioned in response to business demands. But the business does not just want a data center service. The business wants and needs either a full development environment in support of custom application deployment, or a full business application delivered as a service. Cloud Management is the crucial layer of software that adds application level services to SDDC services to create solutions for the business.

The Role of Cloud Management in the Software Defined Data Center

In “Building a Management Stack for Your Software Defined Data Center” we proposed that due to the rate of change in the SDDC, that a completely different approach to managing the SDDC will be required than was used to manage static and dedicated hardware.  Rapid change in the SDDC will come from several sources; software driven changes from virtualization administrators, rapidly arriving and changing applications driven by Agile Development, and the automated provisioning of workloads ordered up by business units and other constituents out of a service catalog. The Cloud Management layer of software is the crucial layer of software that is responsible for presenting the catalog of services to the users, and for then automatically (and correctly according to a variety of criteria) provisioning those workloads.

 

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The Evolution of Cloud Management and the SDDC

Cloud Management solutions have existed for quite some time. They came about primarily in reaction to Amazon EC2 which is a public cloud service offering primarily Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Early cloud management solutions focused upon allowing enterprises to automate the creation of tactical, transient, and elastic workloads like development, test, and training. Customers at the tactical end of the private cloud spectrum are in fact still largely focused upon these use cases for private clouds.

But Cloud Management is in the process of taking on a much more important role. Cloud Management is becoming the layer of software by which enterprises manage the provisioning and lifecyle of both application services (think putting a web server, a Java server and a database server into a service catalog as a managed entity), or actually entire business applications (think putting an entire online banking application into a service catalog so that business units worldwide can order it and deploy it in a manner appropriate to local market regulations).

Cloud Management Vendors to Pay Attention To

While Cloud Management has been around for a while it is a rapidly evolving space. In the last 12 months, VMware has acquired DynamicOps (which lead to vCloud Automation Center), Cisco has acquired Cloupia, Dell has acquired Gale Technologies and Enstratius, and Red Hat has acquired ManageIQ. The fact that BMC has been taken private likely means that BMC will be less able to invest in the modernization of its legacy data center automation tools, and therefore less likely to be able to transform them into effective and modern Cloud Management offerings.  The only real hope for many of the legacy enterprise players is to start with OpenStack and then attempt to build something that is reasonably modern and differentiated as true organic software development is simply not feasible for most of them. So here are the vendors to take a look at when selecting a Cloud Management Platform for your SDDC:

  • CloudBolt Software – CloudBolt Comand and Control (C2), automates the request, provisioning, management, and delivery of compute resources to users. C2 spans not just virtualization, but also public and private cloud-based compute technologies. As a next-generation Cloud Manager, CloudBolt C2 goes beyond typical resource management to orchestrate provisioning across the rest of the typical enterprise technology stack, including data center automation/con! guration management (collectively CM) tools, network, storage, and physical hardware.
  • Cloud Sidekick – Cloud Sidekick Maestro is an enterprise-class automation solution that approach automation from the perspective of distributed applications – not infrastructure. Maestro joins robust application automation tools with a template-based provisioning technology. Maestro is the single-pane of glass in which application owners, DevOps and IT can provision, manage and terminate application deployments across traditional/dedicated servers, VMware/vCloud, private and public infrastructure.
  • Embotics – Embotics vCommander is an easy-to-use, integrated Cloud Management Platform with the fastest time-to-value in the industry—it can be implemented within one hour. It allows mid-sized to large IT organizations to deliver IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) while continuously monitoring the virtual data center to optimize the automation, deployment and configuration of IT services within private, public and hybrid clouds.
  • FluidOps – FluidOps eCloud Manager delivers an innovative solution for private and public cloud management, enabling the creation of a flexible and scalable cloud environment. Enabling end-to-end integration of resources, eCloudManager allows for unified overview of all aspects of a private or public cloud. Thus, multiple multi-vendor hypervisors, storage systems, public clouds and enterprise applications can be managed and controlled from eCloudManager‘s simple user interface.
  • Hotlink – Hotlink SuperVISOR and Hybrid Express allow enterprises who have a significant investment in VMware vSphere and vCenter to manage other virtualization platforms like Microsoft Hyper-v, Red Hat KVM, and Citrix XenServer, as well as public clouds like Amazon EC2 from within vCenter. This includes the ability to migrate workloads and their datastores from any platform to any platform.
  • Pivotal – Pivotal One is a complete, next generation Enterprise Platform-as-a-Service that makes it possible, for the first time, for the employees of the enterprise to rapidly create consumer-grade applications. Pivotal allows enterprises to build their applications in a variety of languges and supports these applications with a rich set of middleware, data fabric and big data services. The Pivotal platform and the applications on it can then run on the enterprises choice of VMware, Amazon AWS, OpenStack, and other private cloud platforms.
  • ServiceMesh-  The ServiceMesh Agility Platform is used by enterprise customers to automate the deployment and management of enterprise applications and platforms across private, public and hybrid cloud environments. The Agility Platform provides a single, policy-driven control point to ensure governance, compliance and security across the full lifecycle of cloud applications, empowering the business with fully governed, self-service access to applications, platforms, and services.
  • Virtrustream – xStream™, Virtustream’s cloud management software, delivers an innovative approach to private, public, and hybrid clouds, enabling customers to deploy mission-critical and production applications to the cloud. Powered by Virtustream µVM™ technology, xStream™ delivers enterprise-grade security and compliance, multi-tenant efficiency, and consumption-based charging for both legacy and web-scale applications. Virtustream is the only cloud managemenet vendor that offers a response time based SLA for SAP running on its cloud management platform.
  • VMware – VMware vCloud Automation Center and vFabric Application Director combine to provide an end-to-end solution for automating the deployment of the infrastructure for the applications (vCAC) and the applications themselves (vFabric Application Director). VMware vFabric™ Application Director is a cloud-enabled application provisioning and maintenance solution that simplifies how to create and standardize application deployment topologies across cloud services. 

Summary

The Cloud Management layer of the Software Defined Data Center is where the flexibility of the SDDC is translated into tangible benefits for the business constituents of the virtualized data center, the private clouds, the hybrid clouds and the public clouds. Without a robust Cloud Management layer, the IT Operations flexibility of the SDDC cannot translate into the relevant level of Business Agility for the business.

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Bernd Harzog (336 Posts)

Bernd Harzog is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Performance and Capacity Management and IT as a Service (Private Cloud).

Bernd is also the CEO and founder of APM Experts a company that provides strategic marketing services to vendors in the virtualization performance management, and application performance management markets.

Prior to these two companies, Bernd was the CEO of RTO Software, the VP Products at Netuitive, a General Manager at Xcellenet, and Research Director for Systems Software at Gartner Group. Bernd has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.

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