VMware fills in cloud management gap with latest vCloud Suite

Company extends multiplatform and multicloud management to better align with software-defined data center

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vFabric Application Director 5.0 was designed to provision applications on any cloud by standardizing and accelerating the ways customers model and deploy multitier applications using blueprints with pre-approved operating system and middleware components.

VMware says that while vFabric Application Director 5.0 was primarily optimized for VMware vCloud Suite-based clouds, "[It] will make it possible for customers to use the same blueprints to deploy applications across multiple virtual and hybrid cloud infrastructures, including Amazon EC2." The product will continue to expand application support for all Microsoft packaged applications including Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, as well as custom applications built on Java, .Net, and Ruby on Rails.

Beyond pricing and packaging updates, vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6 has also been given a facelift and a new lease on life. This is an analytics tool that can watch what's going on inside of a vSphere or vCloud stack so that administrators know what's happening within their environments. The integrated performance, capacity, and configuration management provides the intelligence customers need to proactively enable service levels in hybrid cloud environments. But perhaps the most important aspect of the new Operations Management Suite is that it helps manage risk in terms of compliance, not just capacity and performance. New views in the operations dashboard will help customers proactively enforce compliance with IT policies, security guidelines, and regulatory requirements.

VMware also introduced vCloud Connector 2.0, the latest version of the tool used to reliably and efficiently transfer virtual machines and data between clouds. This latest version makes that process even simpler. vCloud Connector 2.0 comes with the VXLAN protocol built in, which allows users to move their workloads across hybrid clouds while retaining the same IP and Ethernet MAC address. This allows users to move applications without requiring DNS or other network reconfigurations, a powerful example of software-defined networking. With 2.0, vCloud Connector can also now automatically synchronize catalogs of virtual machines and applications across clouds using a publish-and-subscribe mechanism.

The deployment of vCloud connector is now much faster in a multi-tenant cloud. The vCloud Connector node, which handles the transfers, can now be deployed once to manage all tenants in a cloud where the previous version required one node per tenant.

VMware has been taking positive steps toward a more open view of the world. The company no longer dismisses or turns a blind eye to the thought of a heterogeneous, multihypervisor virtual data center or multicloud environment.  While it continues to build on its own stack, the company is also spanning across other open initiatives such as its CloudFoundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology, its continued development with Nicira on OpenFlow, and the recent admission of VMware into the OpenStack Foundation.

VMware appears to be getting a lot more generous with regard to its products plugging into competing data center components. That should end up being good news for many data center administrators and organizations around the globe. However, with much of the new vCloud Suite's IP coming from acquisitions and things just starting to be sewn together in a cohesive manner, I suspect some organizations will wait a while to let others identify the bumps in the road and give VMware time to work out the kinks and the bugs.

VMware cloud automation solutions are expected to be available sometime during the fourth quarter of 2012.The vCloud Suite will be licensed per processor with no core, vRAM, or number of virtual machine limits. Pricing will start at $4,995 per processor.

This article, "VMware fills in cloud management gap with latest vCloud Suite," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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