There is no doubt that the VMware acquisition of DynamicOps has had a lot of press and has demonstrated that the Cloud and Virtualization market is starting to consolidate in terms of common access, management and ‘carriage’ platforms. We have seen at recent VMworld 2012 events confirmation of this product positioning by VMware and this quarter DynamicOps will become available for download and deployment as a part of the VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 as a new product called vCloud Automation Center 5.1 – so let us take a quick look at the capability this will provide.
The vCloud Automation Center 5.1 immediate release will provide the following key functional areas:
Self Service Portal
The portal has undergone some minor enhancements as a part of the re-brand and will still provide standard levels of customisation as available in the DynamicOps 4.5 product release. The portal will allow the consumer access to the Cloud service catalogue for your standard service management functions. Despite claims this portal will replace all others in consumer domain such as vCloud Director and vCenter Web Access despite as it simply makes sense.
Physical and Virtual Workload Management
This is the main new area of differentiation for VMware, providing support for both physical and virtual workloads. The plan is for vCloud Automation Center to support physical component provisioning via out of the box integrations into BMC Bladelogic for Server Automation, Cisco UCS Manager and HP BladeSystem. For virtual components the statement is support for out of the box for Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and of course vSphere (as per the current DynamicOps release) and now is this release vCloud Director. VMware has a long history of software that works out of the box, however as they move into the space for supported integrated environments it will be interesting to see how they handle components within an ecosystem that are not always within their control such as patches, errors and correct version levels for end points.
Public Cloud Workload Management
Although plugins already exist at the vCenter layer for integration into say Amazon Web Services this task was typically performed by the system administrator within the organisation. vCloud Automation Center will now provide support via the self service portal for consumption of Amazon EC2 services. Discussion is a little light in terms of support for any other Public Cloud vendors than Amazon EC2, and indeed within Amazon if integrations will go beyond EC2 and provide the ability for end consumers to order Amazon services such as load balancing, storage, etc
In should also be stated that although this will provide consumers with a centralised portal for management of multi-vendor and cloud services types, it does not provide workload mobility or portability between them. Likewise as is the case with higher order management platforms the functionality will likely not be as rich as the supported use cases will likely be restricted to a set of required operational tasks for consumers. However not to take anything away from very solid first step towards dominating this space.
In terms of licensing VMware announced the following three models:
- vCloud Automation Center for Server: licensed per VM server
- vCloud Automation Center for Dekstop: license per VM desktop
- vCloud Automation Center Development Kit: one time license
The above licensing raised more questions in the areas of desktop support as the assumption can be made that consumers will be able to also manage the ordering of desktop virtual machine workloads from vendors such as VMware via View and also Citrix via XenDesktop, but whether will vCloud Automation Center support XenApp for publishing of applications to consumers is unclear. I suspect that this will eventually occur inline with integration to VMware’s Horizon Application Manager which provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud function for consumer access to web and VMware Thinapp publisher software.
Over the coming weeks I will provide a review of the stack in some further detail.