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.

Changes in the Cloud World

Along with the already existing Cloud service providers (SP) that are labelled as the vCloud Datacenter by VMworld. Dell has also been added to the race and will be going up against the likes of companies Verizon, SlingTel, BlueLock etc. Now they maybe going against one another for the business but they will really be working in conjunction with one another in order to provide you a true cloud experience. Yes you heard it right. Global connect is the business arrangement that will make this happen for you. So let’s say you have are a SlingTel customer and want to deploy a VM in Hong Kong, if SlingTel does not have a datacenter in the location of your choice, it will reach out to the other vCloud Datacenters and fullfill your needs. Of course you will only interface with SlingTel and choke them if something doesn’t go as you like. With Dell joining the alliance and Verizon’s acquisition of Terremark, you as a customer will have more choices.

Another cool thing that has happened is the consolidation of the cloud SPs in one location by VMware. Go to vcloud.vmware.com . If the link does not work when you try, please try later. This announcement has just been made and VMware might still be in the process of bringing it up. So here you get to pick your location and test drive the SP of your choice. I think this consolidation isn’t only great for customers but also for SPs who can now reach out to more customers.

Lastly, Verizon bought Cloudswitch last week as we all know. Cloudswitch produces a very innovative tool that helps you play taxi between your private and public cloud. Will this tool be further enhanced to play taxi between all the SPs and fit within VMware’s vision of the cloud where you app can be anywhere you want? At this point Cloudswitch‘s future road-map isn’t very clear, but we know Verizon’s acquisition of CloudswitchTerremark and their own cloud offering makes Verizon an extremely strong candidate for all your cloud needs.

These are interesting times to be in the world of clouds. If you are not in it, hurry up. You are falling behind. Remember when you needed a CR to vMotion a server? Times have changed and soon no CR will be needed for moving your server to a different continent (only time will tell). Thanks to the cloud!

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.