VMware has established a pattern of updating its infrastructure offerings at its Fall VMworld Conference in the US, and then following up with an update of the cloud management offerings at the VMworld Europe Conference. Well, VMworld Europe is here, and we have a significant set of updates to the cloud management offerings in hand. Highlights include vCenter Operations 5.6, vCloud Automation Center (DynamicOps), vCloud Connector Advanced 2.0, vFabric Application Director 5.0, vFabric APM 5.0, ITBM 7.5, and an IT Benchmarking Service.
What is New in VMware Cloud Management
The really big news is that VMware has now formally stated and started to deliver upon its cross-platform management strategy. VMware’s management offerings are not just targeted at vSphere anymore. The scope includes other hypervisors (Hyper-V, XenServer, and KVM), other clouds (Amazon EC2 and Windows Azure), management across on-premise and vCloud-based clouds, and management of operating systems and applications running on physical hardware (IBM, VCE, Dell, and HP). DynamicOps has been renamed vCloud Automation Center and has been included in the upper tier (Enterprise Edition) of the vCloud Suite.
Updated Components of the vCloud Suite (click image to expand)
New in vCloud Automation Center 5.1
Obviously, since DynamicOps was a cross-hypervisor cloud management offering before it became part of VMware, this was the easiest place for VMware to deliver its new cross-platform management capabilities. But there is more here than just the rebranding of DynamicOps into vCloud Automation Center (vCACE). Tighter integration with the vSphere platform has already begun in terms of both the vCloud API and vCenter Orchestrator workflows. vCACE is now clearly at the front and center of the VMware automated IaaS service provisioning story and will be central to the delivery of the OPEX benefits that come with such automation.
New Features in vCloud Automation Center 5.1 (click image to expand)
New in vFabric Application Director 5.0
When it was first delivered, vFabric Application Director was a compelling U/I for creating a vApp, but one limited essentially to the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, mySQL, PHP). With this release, it has been significantly enhanced to include a broader range of custom applications (.NET, Ruby, Java) but also packaged (purchased commercial) applications and their supporting services, including some of the most popular on-premise offerings from Microsoft (SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.). Scaling rules can be defined in vFabric Application Director, and then automatically implemented. Integration with vFabric APM allows for true application performance management (management of response time) to be defined at the time that the application is defined, which is a significant step forward in the systems management industry. The idea that application definitions are reusable across customers is implemented in an Application Management Marketplace. Finally, the deployment options have been broadened to include both other hypervisors and other clouds like Amazon EC2.
New Features in vFabric Application Director 5.0 (click image to expand)
New in vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6
The big news here is a significant re-packaging and re-pricing of the Operations Management Suite covered in more detail in this post. The summary is that there is a new edition of vC Ops (Foundation) that will be bundled for free with all editions of vSphere. The important product enhancements include operations groups, the ability to start vCenter Orchestrator workflows off of vCenter Operations Alerts, and broad application and OS monitoring through the inclusion of the Hyperic agent in certain editions of the vCenter Operations suite. vC Ops also joins vCACE in the cross-platform story with support for monitoring OS instances that run on other hypervisors and on physical hardware.
New Features in vCenter Operations (click image to expand)
New in IT Business Management Suite 7.5
An important but often overlooked question as to how to manage IT in the new world is the question of IT’s roles in the business changes. This is a question of profound importance. Some misguided people (like Larry Ellison of Oracle) have proposed the view that IT is a commodity that should be managed as such. Others believe that some aspects of IT need to be and deserve to commoditized, but that others are a source of significant business advantage. How to decide which is which? The whole question of how to manage the financial aspects of IT along with the technical aspects of IT is the focus of the IT Business Management and Benchmarking Suites from VMware. It is way too early to know if this is exactly how the business management of IT will be reinvented, but VMware deserves enormous credit for putting significant early stakes in the ground.
New Features in IT Business Management Suite 7.5 (click image to expand)
Cloud Management Summary
VMware has announced, and to a certain extent delivered, significant enhancements to its cloud management strategy and offerings. VMware should now be considered as a first tier management vendor with a focus upon the new reality of IT (dynamic and distributed systems) and the fact that most enterprises will have more than one dynamic resource pool (hypervisor platform) and more than one cloud (vCloud, Amazon, Azure). VMware should now be judged not just upon its chops as the leading vendor of a virtualization platform (vSphere), but also upon its ability to manage the disruptive change that it has created.