VMware Launches Software-Defined Data Center

VCloud Suite 5.1 combines three key VMware products to create an early version of a software-defined data center.

Charles Babcock

December 1, 2012

3 Min Read
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7 Dumb Cloud Computing Myths

7 Dumb Cloud Computing Myths

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VMware announced Monday that it has integrated its virtualized environment software with its cloud management products, putting into one box the software that generates virtual machines, applies cloud management, and introduces performance and capacity management to the resulting environment.

Dubbed VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, it combines the latest version of three previously separate products: vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6 for virtual systems management; vFabric Application Director 5.0 for deploying applications in a virtual environment; and vCloud Suite 5.1 for managing pooled resources as a cloud operation.

The combination is available at a price of $4,995 per processor. VCenter Operations and vFabric Application Director also remain available as separate products with their separate price points.

The combination might also be dubbed the "software-defined data center in a box." VMware has adopted the notion of the software-defined data center as the best explanation for what its combined software aims to achieve. A software-defined data center is one where major changes and adjustments may be accomplished in live operations through rules and processes captured in software.

[ Want to learn more about VMware's notion of a software-defined data center? See VMware CTO: Software-Defined Data Centers Are Future. ]

One of the main thrusts of the new combination is simplify and speed the deployment and availability of a new application in an on-premises, virtualized environment, said Shahar Erez, director of products for application management, in an interview.

Launching an application "remains a very fragmented process. Every time you want to deliver software-as-a-service, you have to start from scratch," noted Erez. If a user requests an application, IT staffers have to discover the right operating system and middleware with which to package it, with additional networking, servers and storage needed to implement the package. The result is often "a month-long deployment," he said.

One of VMware's lesser-known products, vFabric Application Director, is meant to overcome those complexities and delays. It includes blueprints of recommended combinations of applications, operating systems and middleware. More than 100 blueprints are available to vFabric customers in a new exchange launched to support use of the vFabric, the VMware Cloud Applications Marketplace.

Combinations representing best-practice configurations are available there, supplied by 30 independent software vendors and systems integrators, as well as VMware. For example, such decisions as determining the right amount of cache memory and setting load balancing will have been determined by the experts who built the blueprint. Riverbed, Zend and Oracle's MySQL unit combined to produce an auto-scaling and load-balanced database blueprint, Erez said.

Recommended configurations for Hadoop deployments are also included in the marketplace.

The other major piece of the suite, vCenter Operations 5.6, supplies systems management to virtual machines. It combines configuration management, performance management and capacity management in one system.

With the vCloud Suite 5.1 bundle, VMware is also taking its first steps toward embracing cloud environments outside its own, including offering to manage those external workloads. An application, once chosen from a blueprint, can be deployed into a VMware-virtualized environment on premises, a VMware-based cloud, such as Savvis or Bluelock, or into the Amazon Web Services public cloud. Even when the workload becomes an external one, it can be managed from the vCloud Suite's management console, he said. The capabilities are derived from VMware's DynamicOps acquisitionin July.

Both VMware and Amazon have taken steps to make their environments more interchangeable. AWS announced several months ago that it would accept and run workloads configured as VMware ESX Server virtual machines, even though it has its own Amazon Machine Images, a virtual file format based on the open source Xen hypervisor.

The base level of vCenter Operations, known as the Foundation version, is also available as a free, separate download to existing VMware vSphere customers.

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