Improvements to VMware management tools, including newfound commitment to multi-hypervisor deployment support, took the spotlight at VMworld Europe 2012 in Barcelona. Additions to VMware's vCloud products and IT Business Management Suite demonstrate the company's willingness to cede a multi-hypervisor reality at many of its users' IT shops.
What's new with VMware's cloud management tools?
VCloud Automation Center introduces self-service and automated processes support for deploying applications across multiple platforms, including vCloud Director (both public and private); Amazon Web Services (AWS); physical server deployments of BMC BladeLogic, HP and Cisco UCS; and private deployments of Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.
The user's self-service interface is styled after App Store interfaces, with administratively defined filters based on user type. A workflow engine with pre-built workflows and stubs, along with vCenter Orchestrator workflows integration, enables back-end automation.
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VCloud Automation Center, which emerged from VMware's DynamicOps acquisition, is available as a standalone product and as part of the vCloud Suite Enterprise Edition.
VMware's new version of vFabric Application Director, a cloud-enabled application provisioning and maintenance tool, enhances capabilities at the application layer. It can be used to define blueprints in a graphical drag-and-drop interface that will deploy multi-tier applications: traditional VM-based, custom or vFabric framework formats. VMware introduced support for application deployment into AWS as well as vSphere and vCloud Director in this release.
VFabric Application Director is available as a standalone product, as part of the vFabric Suite Advanced edition or as part of the vCloud Suite Enterprise Edition.
By supporting non-VMware platforms and introducing products that supersede the traditional infrastructure management layer, VMware is acknowledging that we live in a multi-hypervisor world. With additional upgrades to vCloud Connector and vCenter Operations Management Suite, VMware is trying to position itself as a core management tool provider.
Notable update to VMware IT Business Management Suite
One of the more notable product updates was to VMware's IT Business Management Suite. Originally based on technologies gained from 2011's Digital Fuel acquisition, the suite is designed to give IT managers visibility into the cost effectiveness of their IT operations through a dashboard interface. VMware IT Business Management Suite deciphers budgetary information and utilization metrics -- help desk tickets per division, IT system usage, business unit information and general ledger data -- to break down IT expenses based on the business application, business unit, desktop, help desk and user. It can also help track costs throughout the year and their budgetary impact based on current and previous trends.
In addition to providing financial performance insights, VMware's management tool also can show how an IT department's costs compare with other companies' IT departments based on discipline (help desk, midrange systems, mainframe, application development or other functions), industry and geography. This analysis can identify improvements in IT that could create a definable business advantage.
The IT Business Management Suite can analyze services portfolio management within the IT department. Using these metrics, a company can determine which systems are not meeting the availability levels IT guarantees, or track and manage the contracts maintained with any third-party vendors.
VMware IT Business Management Suite is available as a cloud-based Software as a Service application or as an on-premises deployment.