VMware’s New Solutions Simplify & Automate Data Center Management

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.

At VMworld 2013 Europe, VMware announced new capabilities and enhancements across its portfolio of cloud management solutions that are designed to simplify and automate management of IT services for multiple clouds and platforms. New product releases introduced today include:

  • VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 will enable customers to design any custom IT service in minutes (such as Hadoop-as-a-Service) to complement current out-of-the-box service capabilities for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings. Further extending its multi-platform and multi-cloud capabilities, VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 will also introduce support for VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware NSX and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack-based cloud environments.
  • VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 will enable IT organizations to standardize on a single operations management platform designed to enable higher quality of service, operational efficiency, control and compliance across all applications and services in virtual, physical and cloud environments. The new release will also offer enhanced performance analytics for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server, introduce analytics for a broad range of storage vendors and devices and provide deeper visibility into applications running on Microsoft Hyper-V and Amazon Web Services.
  • VMware IT Business Management Suite includes new and enhanced editions. The new 1.0 Standard edition allows infrastructure and business stakeholders to quickly understand the cost and consumption of virtual infrastructures across private and public cloud environments. The 8.0 Advanced and Enterprise editions will introduce additional persona-based dashboards tailored to the unique needs of the CIO, CFO of IT, IT project managers and line-of-business owners. This latest release also features native integration with VMware IT Benchmarking, allowing enterprises to continuously compare the cost of their services against industry peers and companies with similar operational characteristics, including public cloud providers.
  • VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 delivers real-time insights and monitoring of data from applications, virtualized infrastructure and physical hardware to help improve operational efficiency and minimize cost and troubleshooting time. New capabilities will ease adoption of the solution in enterprise environments and enable rapid time-to-value. Optimized for VMware vSphere, VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 will also simplify the use of content packs developed by partners, allowing for increased visibility into the logs of infrastructure software and hardware commonly found in virtualized and cloud environments.

In addition, VMware will update the automation and management capabilities of VMware vCloud Suite 5.5, recently introduced August 26, 2013.

The Pitch

VMware’s new solutions are designed to ease and automate management and service provisioning across multiple clouds and platforms.

Final Analysis

What IT vendors talk about when they talk about technology isn’t always necessarily clear. In large part, that’s because vendors assume, reasonably enough, that different constituencies require or demand different messages and marketing strategies. While sensible on its face, this approach sometimes leads to marketplace dissonance and confusion when vendors combine, and, thus confuse, promotional and informational messaging.

Let’s consider cloud computing as an example. Many vendors are attempting to position cloud as technology’s latest “shiny new thing,” but cloud is really about commonly simplifying the management and provisioning of IT and related services. Much of the public messaging around cloud focuses on end users and how their lives will be simplified by easy access to cloud-based services. That makes sense from the standpoint of driving market demand for commercial cloud services but it tends to obscure the profound changes cloud requires of data center owners and the potential benefits they stand to enjoy.

That’s the reason we find VMware’s new cloud management announcement so refreshing. The company’s straight razor focus on data center owners and personnel is clear in defining both the company’s new and enhanced solutions and the benefits they aim to deliver.

These new solutions and services find VMware broadening and deepening its cloud-related portfolio in notable ways. These include the vCloud Automation Center 6.0’s support for VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware NSX and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack-based cloud environments. But it also extends to the analytics capabilities that vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 offers for critical business applications, including Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, and the deeper visibility VMware customers will have into applications running in public cloud environments like Microsoft Hyper-V and Amazon Web Services.

The new offerings also help VMware get up close and personal with core constituencies, including CFOs of IT, CIOs, IT project managers and line-of-business owners. The IT Business Management Suite solution includes tools that offer budget-conscious providers and users of cloud-based services deep insights into what virtual infrastructure usage is costing their organizations. Since this solution can extend across both internal and external cloud environments, it can also help stakeholders determine whether private, public or hybrid cloud environments are the best and most cost effective solutions for any given problem.

Finally, VMware’s new solutions spotlight one of cloud computing’s least sexy issues—the effect of core hardware and software performance on operations and efficiency. The fact is that cloud infrastructures are aggregations of hardware and software assets where upsetting a sometimes delicate balance can spell the difference between satisfied customers and operational nightmares. Along with monitoring data from applications, physical hardware and virtualized infrastructures, which is critical to maximizing operational efficiency and minimizing troubleshooting cost and time requirements, vCenter Log Insight 1.5 offers new capabilities of particular interest to enterprise customers, including enhanced visibility into heterogeneous hardware and software assets.

Overall, there is much to like about VMware’s new and enhanced vCloud, vCenter and Business Management solutions. In essence, by helping its customers address their most pressing current problems, VMware is also preparing them to both successfully meet and benefit from future challenges. As it has for years now, the company continues to focus clearly on the core needs of its data center customers and to deliver solutions designed to make their lives and those of their end users easier, simpler and more predictable. The new solutions should broadly improve the quality of service in VMware-enabled cloud computing environments, but we also believe they complement deeper efforts, including software-defined data center strategies and initiatives.

© 2013 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.