When VMware acquired dynamic ops it was supposed to boost its arsenal of tools that would facilitate automation within VMware. However, over time they have boosted their own capabilities significantly by renaming and releasing vCloud Automation Center for the cloud infrastructure. First of all there are a lot of discussions around the future of vCloud Automation center and if it is supposed to remain as an independent product or integrate with other software like vCloud director etc and become one powerful suite itself.
I feel VMware would try and consolidate its variety of products in the next 1 or 2 releases (and if it is true.. you read it here first). It would make sense to do so and reduce complexity and costs around using multiple VMware products. Remember the focus of virtualization using VMward was to offload dependence from a variety of products and centralize management.
Anyways, moving back to focus on vCloud Automation Center 5,1 – it offers self provisioning and provides the capability to rapidly deploy and provision cloud services across private and public clouds. It can also be the platform for IaaS and SaaS models. The use of Unified Cloud Management, governance related granularity, resource management, and extensibility is going to propel the software forward. Additionally, vCloud Automation Center is supposed to manage the complete lifecycle fo VMware vSphere VM’s from 3.5 through 5.1. That is interesting and very useful since some environments need to have a level of backwards compatibility. When we would be at a future release like 8.0 or something atleast there would be a great degree of backward compatibility as well.
Right now vCloud Automation Center integrates with vCloud director to deliver the promised land (read cloud) – multiplatform hybrid cloud. While vCloud director serves its own features the Automation Center acts as a layer over it from a service standpoint providing IaaS, PaaS, and DaaS services. This diagram pretty much sums it up –
Taking the capabilities of vCloud director a step ahead it provisions vApps into preconfigured vDC’s leveraging the vDC and Software defined networking and storage services of vCloud Director.
It also integrates with vCenter Orchestrator for tasks like – retrieving information from an external database, generating a work order ticket, running a script on the machine, and others. All this is done through a visual workflow designer invoking a VCO (vCenter Orchestrator) Workflow.
The functionality extends further to offer multi-machine service management or a multi-tier application. The vCloud Automation Center offers everything through a self service portal that can be used to request a service from a list of available cloud services. While new machines can be deployed changes to existing machines can be done to manage vCPU, memory, storage or anything else based on definition of a machine blueprint. The blueprint also consists of information about storage allocation and how one or more disks will be configured. The storage reservation policy describest the service level that the user will receive.
In terms of licensing, three models have been put forth –
- per VM server
- per VM desktop
- development kit license
However, support for desktop products like XenApp is unknown or not very clear at this time. It might happen that the integration with VMware Horizon Manager might integrate with the VMware vCloud Automation center for this piece. But I haven’t researched this aspect in more detail so won’t comment much on it.