Today @ VMworld, the New CEO Pat Announced the availability of VMware vCloud Suite which is a single bundle that contains all the components that are required to build the cloud inside the data center based on complete stack to build the new generation data centers that VMware refers to it as “Software Defined data center.”
This vCloud Suite is Licensed per CPU Only. No vRAM, No Per VM Licensing or any other Schemes.
so first and for most let us start to talk about the main components of the cloud and what does this cloud require to be built, operated and managed.
so to build the cloud (Your Cloud) you need the following main components as per the following Figure.
1- Infrastructure: which is the physical hardware, there is no way you can do this without the physical hardware but the beauty of the cloud is that it provide an extra level of abstraction to isolate the physical infrastructure and remove the dependency between the physical hardware and the operating system that contains the application. this component is #2
2- Platform: this layer consist of 2 Main Components
- Virtualization platform: this the layer where the isolation between the physical construct and the Operating system/Application Layer that will enable all the features of scalability and mobility in the enterprises data center. at this platform section all the physical components are being converted from physical construct to virtual construct this is talking about virtual compute(Processors & Memory), Virtual Network, Virtual Storage.
- Hardware + Software Defined Configuration platform: This part of the platform layer is the layer that provides availability, Security, Storage Services. it is not limited there; this platform is starting to remove lots of the service from the physical hardware and move them to software defined services like Multi tenancy, Virtual Firewalls, Virtual Extensible LAN, Virtual Load Balancers, Virtual VPN Services and lot others that we are seeing being announced in the market. adding to that, we are still seeing some extension into extra services related to storage services like backups, Disaster Recovery and virtual storage functionalists. this whole platform will create the virtual data center as a whole with the ability to provide all the services required to make the application available as soon as it is being requested and approved for creation.
3- Management: This part of the cloud is more about
- How much i am able to serve the services that are being running in my virtual data center based on their required SLA. how easy it is for me to detect issue before they actually happen in the environment and detect them immediately.
- How efficient is my assignment of resources to different VMs in the environment, are my VMs being allocated resources with the right sizing, is it over sized, is it undersized. How long will it take my environment to run out of resources and all other questions that CIO and system administrators would dig deep to find answers for.
- How my resources are being charged for: how much do i charge this department for using this much amount of resources or rather how much do they take out of my budget to run their services(moving IT from being a cost center to a profit center to the organization).
- Applications Dependency: How My applications are related and communicating to each other, this will help enterprises a lot in understanding the relationship between different
- Application Deployment in the cloud: how easy and automated my application are gonna be deployed in the cloud.
4- Extensibility: As we can See in the cloud Market.
- Nothing will succeed without the ability to allow integration with different solutions. the APIs will allow different vendors and different solutions to integrate together to generate more and more solutions that can help customers in the cloud Era.
- Mobility: for the cloud, The final stage for enterprises is the hybrid cloud. so to reach there, customer will have to have the ability be mobile, meaning that they can easily move their workloads between different clouds weather they are private or public clouds.
- Orchestration: automation is the key part to cloud computing, it allows the customers to automatically provision resources or services. but to allow the enterprises to do this, an orchestration layer has to exist for customers to be able to design their own automation workflow within the solution like provisioning of different services that goes beyond the cloud solution. example of this can be physical ports provisioning on a physical switch, passing a script to the OS or application .. etc
Since a very Long time, VMware Had the vision and the technology to make this happen with different set of products, tool and services to make the customers transform to the cloud Era weather it was public, Private or even Hybrid Cloud. However, the things VMware Saw in the market is far different from other vendors where all the products were built from the scratch for that cloud Era to enable more and more automation, Security and availability in its cloud solution.
The point I am trying to make since is that VMware has been working so hard in the past years to set the standards for the clouds and make it available in their products immediately. we are seeing a tremendous movement and changes in the industry and all of that was started by VMware with its virtualization product vSphere. i still remember old times in my ex-company where i had to argue with my current boss about virtualizing FileNet applications & Software’s and Now with vSphere 5.1 i see the reason why i was wrong. You would still see the term Cloud with other Vendors but what you see is that it all starts with VMware virtualization layer. no Vendor has a leading Hypervisor other than VMware that you can safety make sure that it is scalable, available and the most comprehensive and secure.
Moving from the virtualization layer up front to the platform you would see the actual and the only real transformation to the “software defined data center” with different set of products that existed with VMware in the past but are now enhanced and made for this transformation. you see services like load balancing or VPN or firewalls are all part of the transformation in the data center that cloud computing is putting on the market. you see other services as well that expands at storage layer like disaster recovery and availability.
What about Management, Here comes the tricky part. define Management? is it about threasholds, is it about alerts, or is about an intelligent engine that understands how applications are performing in my cloud and act accordingly. Not only that but also, how can i optimize my infrastructure to host and add more services making sure that i am not effecting other services performance or capabilities in my cloud. keep adding and you will see that this involves chargeback or show back mechanisms, Dependencies Mapping and the configuration management at the platform layer.
I would assume by Now, My cloud is up and running with the above components. I have the infrastructure, i have the virtualization platform, I have the software defined services, I have the other rest of services required for management in term of performance, capacity or configurations as well as the chargeback mechanism. what is left for me to build my cloud. What more can i add to my cloud in. the answer to this is clearly in the figure above.
Still something can be added here. i need to deploy my workloads to run in this cloud and here comes and the application deployment process. is it gonna be manual, or it is going to be fully automated. So i would say if i have this tiered application and i want to deploy it in my cloud, How long would it take me. i need a way to segregate my application components and deploy them separately based on different infrastructure requirements, different SLA Requirements and the list would go on.
Now you have your cloud built with the above. but this is not the end game. You still need what we will discuss below.
1- You have built you private cloud by Now, but the final step of the journey is going to the hybrid cloud Model. So to reach there we need to talk about Service Mobility within the clouds. not only my cloud but also other clouds like for example another private cloud i have in my other datacenter, or even a public cloud for a preferred service provider. How can i make this happen. you need the ability to make your workload mobile but at the same time accessible the same way it use to be in your cloud when it is on a different cloud service(this is where the software defined services are playing a the need here specially with VXLAN).
2- Automation tools: one of the advantages of the cloud is more and more automation in the enterprise datacenter. you can basically automate any kind of services if you have the platform that allows to do so. so other than the standard automation workflows and procedures that Cloud will give you out of the box. a tool is required to increase and build more and more automation workflows within the datacenter. this is what is meant by the orchestration layer.
3- Integration: it is not about the cloud products integration but rather, how can my other services in my enterprise integrate with my cloud once it is up and running. this ability can be provided via published APIs that will allow customers to do the integration they require in the same way they use to develop any kind of applications in their enterprises.
So By Now, we have finished the generic definition of what cloud is and how it should be. But How does VMware Make this happens with its set of products. well, the reality is, it is all in the figure below.
The Above Figure completely shows how VMware has organized and made the sutie available to customers. Noting one point that this suite already existed in term of products but customers use to buy them standalone components with different licensing scheme. so we had vSphere Per CPU & vRAM and then we had vCloud Director and the other solutions per VM. So this is all been made easy to customers with a single bundle and a single licensing scheme that is per CPU. No More Per VM and No More vRAM.
Okay moving Forward, since the beginning of this post the only thing i was mentioning is cloud and Enterprises. so one thing I need to highlight is that what i mean by enterprises.
In my opinion enterprises is business of any size. so you have small, Medium and the large enterprises here in market place. to be able to make all kind of business transform to the cloud era. you need to be able to provide them what they need at the time and then add more functionalists to their cloud as they grow.
that being said, for all kind of businesses the suite is offered in 3 different edition named standard, advanced and enterprise editions.
Below is the figure that shows the features and the products in each edition. keeping in mind that all of them comes with vSphere enterprise plus.
Based on your need and your enterprises maturity requirement to the cloud, you could just choose that fits your needs the most. remember, with this suite you are getting the highest edition of vSphere with all the leadership and the features it provides.
Happy vCloud. Now the cloud is @ your door step.