VMware Expands Hybrid Cloud Management Capabilities

VMware concedes Amazon cloud is here to stay, upgrades virtualization software to manage workloads in diverse environments.

Charles Babcock

October 15, 2013

3 Min Read
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VMware announced Tuesday that it has upgraded key elements of its virtualization software, including vCloud Automation Center 6.0, vCenter Operations Management 5.8, and vCenter Log Insight 1.5. Its moves marked a turn toward managing workloads in more mixed, hybrid cloud environments.

At VMworld in San Francisco in August, VMware revealed enhancements to the data center's virtualization infrastructure. As VMworld Europe opens this week in Barcelona, it marks VMware's increased emphasis on enabling IT as a service and hybrid cloud management, said Martin Klaus, VMware group product marketing manager.

In addition, VMware is making a more direct bid to become the manager of non-VMware hypervisors and other resources. "With this release, we can handle not only virtualization management but support for heterogeneous, public cloud services," said Klaus in an interview.

VCloud Automation Center 6.0 now has an employee self-service catalog for IT services. An employee can order a backup service, a storage service, a mailbox, "anything as a service from a single catalog," Klaus said. The catalog support is provided by vCloud Application Director, now part of Automation Center. It allows the rapid release into production of new applications and support for DevOps-style frequent updates of applications.

[ Want to learn more about VMware's data center server log analyzer? See VMware Analysis Tools: Small Step, Big Vision. ]

The product supports workflows to establish a new service. It can be used to design the user interface for a new service. The 6.0 version "enables customers to design any custom IT service in minutes, such as Hadoop as a service," said Klaus.

Further, the 6.0 version is enhanced to take on more responsibility for the operation of the hybrid cloud. VCloud Hybrid Service, which has been a separate product, can now be used and managed from Automation Center. In addition, customers may manage virtual networks based on VMware's NSX Platform, launched at VMworld in August. Version 6.0 will also support sending workloads to a cloud based on Red Hat's OpenStack version supported with Enterprise Linux. OpenStack workloads typically run under Red Hat's KVM hypervisor.

VMware also upgraded vCenter Operations Management suite 5.8. That product combines configuration management of virtual machines with performance management and capacity management. This core part of the VMware product line has been given analytics for several key business applications, including Microsoft's SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange. The analytics tell managers whether the applications are meeting performance goals or not.

The 5.8 version includes analytics for a wide range of storage vendors and devices that will help identify configuration errors, resource issues and operational bottlenecks. Customers will be able to build monitoring dashboards that can chart the performance of virtual machines running under Microsoft Hyper-V or in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

"IT has always been hybrid. We do need to support Amazon as the most widely adopted service and help prevent shadow IT," said Klaus. Part of the goal behind enhancements to Automation Center is "to put IT back in the driver's seat" by combining many types of operations into one management product, he added.

VCenter Log Insight 1.5 is a relatively new addition to the product line, with its log file analysis carried out in near real time. It's been integrated with the previously discussed vCenter Operations so that feedback from log file analytics can be used in gauging system performance. Customers may define metrics that use the information available to give them key performance indicators for their systems.

Log Insight "is getting great traction," claimed Klaus, with other companies producing content packs for it so their products can be analyzed by it. They include Brocade, NetApp, Dell, FlowLogic, HyTrust, and Cisco for its Unified Computing System servers, he said.

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