At VMworld US earlier in the year, VMware announced, the vCloud Air Network has 3800+ providers. This is a substantial amount of VMware focused service providers globally. The vCloud Air Network allows Service Providers to leverage VMware products based on a consumption model to develop a mature and feature rich cloud offering.
With VMware, recently announcing a new version of vCloud Director and vCenter Chargeback Manager, specifically for members of the vCloud Air Network. We can see continued investment into the service provider community and more product alignment to VMware’s own vCloud Air service.
While most companies are now interested in a Hybrid cloud model, we are seeing a need for service providers to adopt more technology to enable a Hybrid cloud offering. This adoption of technology is not always solving a problem or even becoming an enabler. This equates to time and money which reduces the offerings profit’s.
The vCloud Air Network may still be some what immature in regards to product adoption, with most just opting for the bare basic deployment of vCenter Server, no self service or automation & orchestration. This maturity will need to come as the market grows and customers demand more.
The five products below are items I consider critical to a VMware cloud to build a mature, feature rich Infrastructure as a Service offering for the Hybrid cloud.
- vCenter Server Standard / vSphere Enterprise or Enterprise Plus – This is the most crucial element of a VMware environment, and is required for all installations. The vSphere edition varies based on the product bundle deployed, and can offer different features to enhance the Service Providers offering.
- vCenter Orchestrator – This is the most under utilized product within Service Providers – although adoption is increasing. Orchestrator is the stepping stone into automation and orchestration to ease provisioning, and operational overheads that allow Service Providers to improve efficiency.
- vCloud Network and Security – Network and Security is a major focus for Service Providers, vCNS provides a sound base whilst also allowing for the productization of optional extras should the Service Provider wish to monetize the features or they can be valued added services. As the Service Provider matures we will see the adoption of NSX as a replacement to vCNS.
- vCloud Director – Self service is a key element to cloud. vCloud Director was focused at self service until recently. A strategy change has seen all new feature and product enhancements available via API only (vCloud Automation Center will replace the self service element of vCloud Director). This should not be seen as a show stopper, as vCloud Director is still crucial to a cloud offering. It abstracts the vCenter/vSphere layer providing pooled resources and security to the Service Provider and allows cross-vendor alignment to drive the Hybrid Cloud Model.
- vCenter Configuration Manager – This may be a bit left field and most may not have seen this product, this product should be in every environment. Configuration Manager, tracks change which is a definite must within an ever changing agile environment that is cloud. It provides auditing and alignment functionality for various standards which can be used as a differentiators from competitors.
The above list of product’s is by no means a detailed or definitive list, and many other products are required to enable the above to be utilized. When deciding what products you require for your offering, always try to think of it in two ways, how can this product help my customers? and how can this product help me?
Great cloud service offering’s require a strategy, lots of investment and interest into your customer base. An interest into your customer base allows you to align your product offerings with what is required.