VMware enthusiasts buzzing about upgrades in vCAC 6.0

After its mid-December release, VMware's vCAC 6.0 has generated buzz on social media, including tips, tutorials, reviews and more.

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VMware released vCloud Automation Center 6.0 in December, unveiling a number of upgrades and changes after incorporating elements from other VMware products to augment its flagship cloud management offering. 

In one of the more notable moves, VMware added Application Director to vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0. Introduced last year, Application Director automates deployment and management of applications in vCloud environments. VMware had planned to make Application Director part of vCloud Director (vCD) but altered those plans when it announced at VMworld 2013 that vCD would be dismantled and its features incorporated in other VMware products.

With its mid-December release, vCAC 6.0 has VMware enthusiasts buzzing on Twitter about its tweaks, which include various installation tips, licensing information and more.

The VMware upgrade of vCAC 5.2 to 6.0 has generated enthusiasm for many changes, but one of the biggest is the revamped user interface (UI), which features a self-service catalog that can contain multiple service catalogs. The UI can also be customized, and the icon size has increased. The upgrade supports Storage DRS-enabled storage clusters as a data store. A revamped approval policy component handles catalog requests, allowing administrators to give approvers override rights on certain request fields.

With every upgrade, there is plenty to learn and vCAC 6.0 is no different. While you can find plenty of documentation from VMware, this post also links to handy tutorials from the users in the trenches. TheSaffaGeek blog lists numerous resources to get virtualization administrators started with the upgrade, from proper installation and configuration tips, pre-requisites to the implementation, as well as closer looks at Identity Appliance, vCAC appliance and more.

Application Deployment and Updates -- formerly called Application Director -- has been enhanced in vCAC 6.0 to allow a user to request applications from the Service Catalog and monitor the overall deployment status. Added capabilities let users undo failed updates and support for Puppet modules.

Custom properties allow administrators to add attributes -- or override standard ones -- to the virtual machine that the vCAC 6.0 site provisions. Any blueprint in vCAC can include custom properties and can optionally include a build profile, which typically contains a longer list of properties. This reference guide from VMware details the properties, gives examples on how to configure and execute them, and more.

This tweet points to a tutorial on the installation of the vCAC 6.0 Virtual Appliance (VA). The vCAC VA has a large number of new capabilities, ranging from multi-tenancy, to flexible advanced approvals, to a built-in VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) server and more. The VA is one of the three required components for vCAC 6.0, handling the Web interface for administration, self-service and application programming interfaces.

VMware released this video, which gives an overview on extensibility in vCAC 6.0. VMware explores deployment challenges with companies that must merge a service automation tool with an existing infrastructure while following the best practices of the business. VMware claims the extensibility of vCAC 6.0 can help an enterprise over the hurdles, where a cloud management platform is too inflexible or too hard to use.

In vCAC 6.0, the vCO has been upgraded with the ability to publish catalog items in a vCAC service catalog. Now vCAC 6.0 allows administrators to take a workflow and publish it to the service catalog. This walkthrough -- not a start-to-finish example -- shows how much easier it has become.

This was first published in January 2014

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