VMware’s Management Strategy continues to evolve, both on its own and as a part of the vCloud Suite. At VMworld in Barcelona, VMware made an important series of announcements that both clarified strategy and demonstrated significant progress in some important areas.
The vCloud Suite and VMware’s Management Strategy
At VMworld Barcelona, VMware announced enhancements to the vCloud Automation Center 6.0, vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.9, Log Insight 1.5, and IT Business Management Suite. The enhancements, marked with yellow dots in the chart below, are slated to be delivered by the end of 2013. The chart also indicates which components fit into which editions of the vCloud Suite and lists the per-CPU pricing for each edition.
VMware vCloud Suite Editions and Pricing
The most notable updates to the vCloud Suite are to the vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Operations Management.
vCloud Automation Center Updates
The vCloud Automation Center has been significantly updated, with enhancements to the Service Catalog, Applications Release Automation, and breadth of things that can be delivered as services (Anything as a Service), as well as the addition of support of Red Hat OpenStack as a platform.
vCloud Automation Center 6.0 Enhancements
Of particular note in vCloud Automation Center 6.0 is the full integration of what used to be the vFabric Application Director into the core cloud automation platform. This is an extremely significant step for VMware, as it demonstrates a commitment to moving cloud computing beyond just Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service and into what most businesses really care about: the applications through which they run their businesses. This has the promise to radically change how enterprises view private and hybrid clouds, because using cloud automation (in conjuntion with tools like Puppet) has the potential to radically transform what is today a painfully slow and manual application update release process into something much more agile.
vCloud Automation Center Applications as a Service
VMware also made a down payment on what will likely be a long series of enhancements by integrating the automation capabilities of vCloud Automation Center with the NSX network virtualization platform. Here we can start to see where the whole idea of “replacing management with automation” is going. Provisioning CPU and memory through a cloud automation solution like vCloud Automation Center is nothing new. Applying the same level of automation to network provisioning and, we have to assume for the future, storage provisioning (integration of vCAC with VSAN has to be coming), sets the stage for vCAC being the one automation platform where the entire virtual and distributed data center can be managed with policies that drive automated actions.
vCSC Integration with NSX Network Virtualization
vCenter Operations Management Updates
vCenter Operations Manager has been updated with a series of important enhancements including expanded support for packaged Microsoft applications like SQL Server and Exchange, new storage analytics capabilities, expanded support for Hyper-V and Amazon AWS, and integration with Active Directory for authentication.
vCenter Operations Manager Updates
IT Business Management Enhancements
VMware has made some significant enhancements to the IT Business Management Suite (ITBM) by allowing for cost comparisons across private, hybrid, and public clouds. This opens a fascinating front in the battle to let IT approach comparing deployment options and workload placement options on a cost basis. This is an incredibly valuable first step, but in order for such a comparative approach to be truly valuable to both IT and the business, it is going to have to factor in the throughput and performance (response time) requirements of the applications that live on those virtual machines. Perhaps in the future it will be possible to assign response time and throughput requirements to application containers specified in the vCloud Automation Center, and then have ITBM perform a true price/performance analysis across an internal data center and Amazon AWS.
With this set of announcements, VMware has solidified its position as a leader in providing a suite of management solutions across its own data center virtualization platform, the VMware Hybrid Cloud Service, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Amazon AWS. As more of the data center gets virtualized, virtualization and cloud focused solutions like these from VMware become de-facto enterprise grade solutions. Once the enterprise is 100% virtualized, there will be no more need for expensive and outdated legacy management solutions from IBM, BMC, CA, and HP. Clearly, if VMware can help its customers get rid of these legacy management frameworks, the hard dollar ROI associated with their replacement will be enough to fund a large expansion in the estate of virtualized and cloud based data centers.