On the first snow of the season here in D.C., I decided to stay inside with a hot cup of coffee and a credit card and see what I could do with VMware vCloud Express. Having been a user and integrator of Amazon Web Services(AWS) for the last couple of years, I have been skeptical non-believer when it comes to vCloud Express. It's no secret that I'm a fan of most VMware products, I just believe the company has been late to market with its cloud solution when it clearly was in an advantageous place over the last few years.
To set the stage, vCloud Express was launched at VMworld 2009 as a portal framework for cloud service providers (CSPs) to provide Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to customers using VMware as the underlying infrastructure (and automation to some degree). It was also showcased as a portal that will allow for cloud-based virtual machines to be easily configured from a virtual hardware perspective (e.g. adding a vNIC or two).
Why is vCloud Express potentially a great breakthrough for VMware and its vCloud Express partners? CCloud Express would allow the millions of VMware customers to extend their existing virtual infrastructures into a hosted and secured (assumedly) VMware-based facility. Meteorologists forecasting a hurricane to wipe out your physical data center? Simply VMotion your VMs to your vCloud Express cloud provider. Need a contingency plan for times when you can't take preemptive measures? Gone are the days of expensive collocation contracts; instead, pair your existing (Site Recovery Manager) site with one hosted by a vCloud Express provider.
Five providers are listed on the official vCloud Express webpage:
- MelbourneIT, and
It's important to note that under each company, the offering is listed as, "currently in beta" with no posted time for general availability. Even Microsoft has a public date for Azure; a bit disappointing.
My intent is to test ease of setting up an account, total time to have an instance running, basic input/output (I/O) metrics and overall user experience. I'm using AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) as the ruler in my head, which is a very quick and simple way to take a credit card and turn it into some virtual resources.
|Jason Langone is vice president of Virtualization Services at Infinite Group, Inc. He has spoken at VMworld, Green Computing Summit and Virtualization Congress. Langone won the VMware Vanguard Award in 2007 and has architected some of the largest virtualization and cloud computing implementations to date. His solutions have been primarily implemented at Fortune Global 500 and public sector organizations and have received various accolades. Langone's focus remains on designing virtualization and cloud computing solutions in large-scale environments.|