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The notion of a software-defined data center is compelling for administrators who need a faster and simpler way to provision and manage virtual resources. Tools such as VMware's vCloud Suite offer an interrelated set of products for virtualization, management and automation in a private cloud environment. The release of vCloud Suite 5.8 in late 2014 updates the main components of the suite and adds several important new features.
VMware's vision of the SDDC is a compelling one for IT shops who see policy-driven automation as a way to reduces error and increase IT agility. To fulfill this vision requires tools and infrastructure and, for many organizations, the path to a SDDC means using the cloud.
VMware's vCloud Suite 5.8 is available in three different editions: standard, advanced and enterprise. Each vCloud edition includes a mix of up to six principal VMware products.
All vCloud Suite 5.8 editions include three common product versions. VSphere Enterprise Plus and its underlying ESXi hypervisor (version 5.5.0 Update 2) provide virtualization for data center servers. VCloud Director handles secure provisioning at the virtual data center level, pooling virtualized compute, storage, networking resources that can be allocated and adjusted for enterprise workloads. VCloud Networking and Security manages network organization and security for virtualized computers.
Three additional products are also available, depending on the edition of vCloud Suite 5.8. VRealize Automation supplies self-service and policy-driven resource provisioning for virtualized environments. VRealize Operations provides performance, capacity and configuration management for virtualized resources. VRealize Automation and vRealize Operations are available in standard, advanced and enterprise versions, and the version included will match the edition of vCloud Suite. For example, vCloud Suite 5.8 standard will include vRealize Automation standard and vRealize Operations standard. Finally, the vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) provides policy-driven disaster recovery (DR) and failover for virtualized workloads in the environment. SRM is only included with vCloud Suite 5.8 enterprise edition.
VCloud Suite 5.8 supports several additional VMware products which IT planners may consider for their data center. One add-on is NSX for vSphere, implementing VMware's version of software-defined networking through Layer 2 to Layer 7 network virtualization. With NSX, security policies follow workloads as they migrate across the data center, so VMs are always managed the same way regardless of physical location. The vCloud Suite advanced and enterprise editions can utilize vRealize Automation Public Cloud Extension as a second add-on. This extension couples the vCloud Suite private cloud environment to public clouds like vCloud Air, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
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