VMware paves path to hybrid clouds with vCloud Integration Manager

Tool allows service providers, resellers to automate delivery and operations of VMware vCloud Director-based clouds

Last week VMware introduced its latest weapon in the battle for cloud domination: the VMware vCloud Integration Manager. According to the company, the new tool should be battle ready and operational in the first quarter of 2012, and it'll be priced on a usage-based subscription model familiar to vCloud Service Providers.

VMware vCloud Integration Manager is designed to help service providers automate the delivery and operations of VMware vCloud Director-based clouds. It will allow service providers to quickly create and deploy cloud service offerings, as well as help them scale to meet customer demand in a reliable, repeatable, and cost-effective manner.

[ Also on InfoWorld: VMware releases vCenter Operations Management 5.0 for virtualization and cloud infrastructures. | Find out how Microsoft takes aim at VMware and the cloud with System Center 2012. | Keep up on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]

VMware said vCloud Integration Manager will be tightly integrated with VMware vCloud Director, VMware vSphere, VMware vShield Edge, and VMware vCenter Chargeback Manager to automate and accelerate the provisioning and delivery of infrastructure and associated services.

It will also include a Web-based portal to streamline and automate service plan, customer lifecycle, and reseller management. Service providers will be able to standardize product configuration and delivery, manage customer lifecycles from sign-up to decommission, and reduce the time and overhead involved in transacting with resellers.

"In production at service providers, Integration Manager will mostly be driven through API calls from the service provider's customer portal or CRM systems. These are typically the 'systems of record' for customer data and product orders, with Integration Manager doing the detailed provisioning work," writes Mathew Lodge, senior director of cloud services at VMware. "Integration Manager is also important for VMware's reseller partners, many of whom are looking to add cloud services to their portfolios in order to be able to sell complete hybrid clouds (combinations of public and private clouds)."

Long established as the dominant player in the server virtualization market, VMware's ESX hypervisor platform and vSphere solution have made it the industry's 800-pound gorilla, with everyone else forced to play catch-up in features and functionality. As a result, most enterprise organizations have settled on VMware as the de facto standard for their server virtualization implementations. Since server virtualization is a major foundational component of cloud computing, most of these enterprise organizations have also been using VMware technology for their private cloud initiatives.

However, a large number of public cloud service providers have yet to bestow their blessing on VMware. In fact, many of these companies have turned to open source or less expensive framework solutions built on top of Xen, KVM, or Microsoft Hyper-V technologies. That reality has probably given VMware executives fits, and it's more than likely one of the leading reasons for VMware's creation of vCloud Integration Manager.

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