VMware fills in cloud management gap with latest vCloud Suite

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

Earlier this month, Citrix fired shots at VMware with the announcements of XenServer 6.1, its CloudStack integration, and its other newly added cloud-centric features. But it didn't take long for VMware to fire back.

In what ended up being the main attraction at last week's VMworld Europe event in Barcelona, VMware delivered a compelling cloud story to the show's approximately 8,000 attendees. At the show, VMware announced an update to its vCloud Suite, a core component of the company's software-defined data center strategy that enables all components of the infrastructure to be controlled, deployed, and automated with software.

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During VMworld Europe, the virtualization giant unveiled an update to its cloud management portfolio and said it was now focusing on three critical areas: cloud service provisioning, cloud operations management, and cloud business management. To address that new focus, VMware has added four new enhancements to its vCloud Suite that include vCloud Automation Center 5.1, vFabric Application Director 5.0, vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6, and vCloud Connector 2.0.

During one of the keynote sessions at VMworld Europe, VMware CTO Steve Herrod spoke about the new vCloud in detail and recently blogged about it, saying:

Management must change in a fundamental way. In today's cloud era, there are faster moving parts, a requirement for greater scalability, a substantial need for self-service -- and a core requirement of deep automation. VMware brings new capabilities to our customers to better manage their software-defined datacenters with vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Operations Management Suite, and vFabric Application Director. 

The key update to the vCloud Suite comes from the vCloud Automation Center 5.1 release. This component is in large part built on the technology acquired from DynamicOps, which also may turn out to be the company's cloud management secret sauce.

In early July, VMware scooped up DynamicOps, a virtualization management and cloud provisioning and automation solution provider that was spawned out of Credit Suisse. In a move that seemed to come out of nowhere, VMware may have pre-empted a possible acquisition by Dell, which was at the time a bit preoccupied with its own acquisition of Quest Software. By beating Dell and perhaps others to the punch, VMware has been able to add a key component to its cloud management capabilities.

VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 is a new addition to VMware's vCloud Suite. Using the DynamicOps technology, VMware is able to deliver a service governor, enabling policy-based provisioning across VMware-based private and public clouds, physical infrastructure, multiple hypervisors, and Amazon Web Services. VMware recognizes that the cloud is about self-service access and automation.

Thus, Automation Center delivers a self-service portal where administrators, developers, or business users can request new IT services or manage existing resources. Herrod said users can select from a set of applications that will deploy and run automatically with full policy linkages, allowing them to move faster.

VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 will also be integrated with VMware vCloud Director to allow customers to leverage virtual data centers composed of VMware vCloud Suite's software-defined services. vCloud Automation Center 5.1 will also integrate with vCenter Orchestrator to automate IT process workflows across both VMware and customers' existing management tools and processes. As an example, by using external hooks the system can deploy and provision Hyper-V hypervisors directly through System Center or deploy EC2 compute and S3 storage clouds through AWS cloud APIs.

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