How the VMware software defined data center works: An IaaS example

What changes when IT transitions from a VMware vSphere-based virtual infrastructure to a VMware vCloud-based software-defined data center?

Earlier, we clarified the difference between VMware virtualization and software-defined data centers

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(SDDCs) from a software toolset and infrastructure point of view. Let's look at the operational changes that occur when a business adopts VMware's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) concept.

Here's an IaaS example: A company's development group has been testing a new revision of their e-commerce app stack in their virtual data center (VDC). The e-commerce vApp is made up of two database servers and four Web servers. End users and customer beta testers vet the app, deeming it ready for full-scale deployment.

With the old virtualization infrastructure, the virtualization admin would create and provision the new VMs for the app, likely from a template. In the VMware software-defined data center, the development team clones the vApp and moves it into the production e-commerce VDC. This is done without involving the virtualization admin.

The development VDC is separate from production and any other systems, thanks to the multi-tenancy nature of the software-defined data center. If a VDC needs it, a stateful firewall can be built on demand. All resource utilization is tracked and can be charged or reported back to the organization using the VDC.

VMware vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS) manages capacity at the vSphere virtual data center level, resource pool level, cluster level and even at the vCloud Director level. Additionally, vCOPS obtains performance statistics from the operating systems and applications running inside virtual machines (VMs).

VMware vCenter Automation Center (vCAC) can take this type of provisioning to a higher level by involving physical servers in the scenario.

Taking SDDC to the public cloud

Let's put this scenario in an organization that uses hybrid cloud. The private SDDC can connect to a public cloud via VMware vCloud Connector. This hybrid cloud model allows admins to visualize both private data center and public cloud spaces, and move offline VMs between the environments. VMware vCOPS and vCAC support hybrid cloud capacity and performance management such that application performance can be managed across clouds.

VMware's vCloud Suite and SDDC bring a virtual infrastructure from vCenter-managed vSphere hosts and VMs to IaaS-model virtual data centers. The efficient and dynamic nature of IaaS virtual data centers gives business operations more agility in a timely manner, preventing an IT bottleneck when executing company goals.

This was first published in April 2013

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