Having blanketed the business world with virtualized servers, VMware is expanding its horizons. Weeks after introducing new cloud infrastructure products at its user conference in San Francisco, VMware has turned its attention to helping IT get a handle on the fast-growing array of public cloud computing resources.
This week at its European customer event, VMworld Barcelona, the company introduced new management capabilities intended to help IT departments in three areas: automating the provisioning and delivery of cloud services, managing hybrid cloud environments, and comparing the costs and quality of cloud services.
VMware touts the tools as boosting IT's position in an environment where it's so easy for business units to sign up for public cloud applications that it threatens to make IT irrelevant.
IDC analyst Rohit Mehra, however, disputes the notion that the cloud is pushing IT toward irrelevance. In fact, he believes the opposite is true.
“The move towards public cloud computing is an opportunity for IT to rise to the occasion in meeting the evolving needs of enterprises,” Mehra said via email. “From provisioning and rollout of apps, to meeting the security and compliance needs of the business, IT can step up with a seat at the table for business decisions while being the arbiter on how implementations actually happen.”
That said, Mehra agrees that IT departments need better cloud-management tools to take full advantage of that opportunity.
“IT can be responsive with agility and scale only if it has the right cloud management and orchestration capabilities,” he said.
[Read about VMware's efforts to virtualize the network in "Inside VMware NSX."]
Along those lines, as business units and employees increasingly secure services from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce and Google with nothing more than a credit card, VMware is hoping to boost IT’s business value with these tools:
• The new vCloud Automation Center provides on-demand access to a catalog of services IT can effectively patrol. It’s designed to enable IT to define governance and policies, and decide where cloud services should run in hybrid environments. It also gives IT the ability to offer backup storage and virtual desktops as services.
• On the operations management front, the latest edition of vCenter Operations Management Suite is designed to let IT better manage the health of applications. The focus is on proactive action, making it possible for IT to address bottlenecks and performance issues as they’re occurring, before users even notice.
• New capabilities in VMware’s IT Business Management Suite will let IT define and compare the costs and features of existing cloud resources with other public cloud alternatives. That should give IT the evidence it needs to demonstrate its contribution to the bottom line, according to VMware.
Introducing such capabilities should help VMware continue to expand beyond virtualization, Mehra said.
“Virtualization, in and of itself, has proven to bring significant benefits to cloud deployments, but when done along with a well-orchestrated cloud management strategy, and where IT has the requisite visibility across the infrastructure to enable automation, IT can indeed see measurable and consistent benefits,” said Mehra. “Those benefits will ensure VMware stays in the mix as a key facilitator and provider of IT solutions for the data center.”