vCartoon of the Week (08/02/2012)


vCloud client for iPad

After the vSphere and View client, VMware has now made the vCloud client available for the iPad. You can download the client from the App store and start managing your vCD environment using your tablet. Of course it’s a free app like the previous ones. You can manage your existing vApps and the VMs associated with those vApps, deploy new vApps, check their status and even share that info via email all from your iPad. There are more details and  a nice video here. For everyone else, best way to learn it is to spin it up and try it for yourself. Of course you need an existing vCD instance that you will need to connect to. Have fun!!

vCloud Integration Manager

With the PEX coming up, VMware has made a very timely announcement and we can expect more details to come out shortly. VMware has announced a new product called “vCloud Integration Manager” (vCIM) which will enable vCloud service providers to serve their customers in an even more efficient manner.

The Integration Manager will sit between the vCloud Director and the front end portal. It will automate a lot of tasks that will usually be an operational cost to a service provider. This will be a new way to increase efficiency in service delivery. For instance tasks like provisioning virtual data centers, networks, accounts etc can now be delivered truly as a service. The Integration Manager will integrate VMware vCloud Director, vSphere, vShield Edge and Chargeback.

According to Mathew Lodge, senior director of cloud services for the virtualization and cloud technology vendor, vCIM will enable service providers to create product catalogs that will be available to the customers. This will allow the customers to provision their own cloud services using a front-end ordering system that connects to vCIM.

Accelerate time to revenue: 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. vCloud Integration Manager will provide a REST-based API to integrate with a service provider’s back office systems (CRM, billing, etc.), and a Web-based administration portal. (VMware)

Simplify operations to increase efficiency and reduce costs:vCloud Integration Manager will include Web-based portals to streamline and automate service plan, customer lifecycle and reseller management. With the click of a button, 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. (VMware)

Service providers will also be able to make their services available to resellers. Why? This will allow SP to delegate the selling to the resellers. The SP or the resellers will be able to set appropriate products available to each customer.

So this will make the life of the SPs a lot easier  (no need to develop vCIM like in-house tools) where they can focus on what they know best while the customers also benefit from decreased wait time from the time of the order to the delivery of service. vCIM is said to be out in Q1 of 2012 and is expected to work with vCD 1.0/1.5 and possibly supporting both ESXi 4.1 and 5.

Why get vSphere Ent. Plus with vCD?

I have often seen customers who purchase vCD licenses in hopes from setting up a private cloud in their environment without realizing the need for  purchasing vSphere Ent. plus licenses. You dont really need the Ent. Plus license. However, you will loose a certain level of automation if you dont. Why? Only Ent. Plus license gives you the ability to use distributed switches. According to VMware, “Virtual Distributed Switches (vDS) are supported and recommended by VMware. vDS provides full automation.

You will not be able to use vCloud Network Isolation, dynamic provisioning of network pools will not be possible and port-groups will have to be manually created on all the hosts if vDS are not engaged. These  are just some of the drawbacks of using std. switches in hosts that are a part of a vCloud environment. I can’t stress enough on the importance of some of the above mentioned functionalities that really make vCD beautiful.  If you don’t believe in automating those tasks, then you can get away with a std. switch, but keep in mind you wont benefiting from the fruits of vCloud completely. So, just get enterprise plus license.

vCD + vCO +AD What does this mean?

We are all aware of the VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) and how it enables the automation of so many tasks in vCenter that could become tedious and boring after a while. In February 2011, VMware released the vCO plugin for vCloud Director aka vCloud aka vCD. How will this help you? Think about the process involved in creating an organization, virtual datacenter, users, networks etc. With vCO, you can create workflows to automate these tasks so that the ever shrinking and often under staffed IT department can focus on bigger and better things. vCO for vCD expanded the automation to your vCD environments which is slowly becoming the standard to start your own cloud.

Today, VMware has released vCO plugin for Active Directory. Some of you must be thinking whats the big deal? With this plug-in, you can enhance the level of automation you had before and provide better service to your customers. Tasks like creating AD accounts, deleting AD account, groups, memberships can all be automated by leveraging vCO workflows. It comes with 32 preconfigured workflows and you can create more as needed.  To benefit from this, you will need  to have a vCO setup along with your vCD. Not to mention you will need to have the underlying vSphere environment in  place.

Lets think of what this could do when all the pieces line up. The customer logs into your portal and creates a request. vCO creates the organization/virtual datacenter/network/ bla bla bla for the user. The user then creates a vApp that consists of two VMs in the vDC. Now with the AD plugin for vCO, the workflow for creating computer accounts for these VMs can be leveraged. Oh and did I mention the new organization that was created will now have the users that were also created in AD using a workflow. Next thing you know a customer decides  to leave, now a workflow can handle that task as well. You dont have to go and delete the child objects in the organization like you did before. Your workflow will delete all the child objects and finally your organization as well. Now your resources are available to be purchased again. And while you are at it, you can also clean up AD with the accounts that are no longer needed using the AD plugin for vCO.

To sum it up, automation is the name of the game. You dont have to be a hardcore developer to leverage vCO. If I can do it, anyone can. The only way to handle the ever increasing demand is by automating tasks that can be automated. It even decreases the room for error and helps to divert your time into bigger and better things besides creating a VM, adding a portgroup etc. Lastly, automation is also extremely important in ensuring your cloud meets the standard definition of what a cloud should be. Trust me, there are just too many definitions out there, and automation seems to be the common denominator.

You can download the AD plugin for vCO here.