VMware vRealize Suite 7 Enhances Data Center, Cloud Management

18 Feb-2016:   VMware at one time provided bare bones virtual machine management through its vCenter Server and left the rest up to customers, along with a few skilled third parties. Then in 2011 it launched vCenter Operations Manager, which stepped up its ability to configure, assess the performance of, and plan capacity for virtual machines.

 

A year ago what had become the vCenter Operations Management Suite became the vRealize Suite as more log analysis, more intelligence, and more policy driven features were added to its basic functions.  On Feb. 10, an upgraded vRealize Suite 7 made its debut with six updated components, all aimed at making virtual machines more manageable and more visible to the increasingly harried virtual machine administrator.  What’s more, it’s intended to manage not only the in-house virtual machine workloads, but also those going out the door to the public cloud.

 

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It’s something of a stretch, since vRealize’s main responsibility remains first and foremost the virtualized part of the enterprise data center. However, VMware now refers to the suite as its “cloud management platform.” In many cases, the bulk of the cloud will be inside the enterprise data center’s walls. Nevertheless, the virtualized data center will be functioning more like the public cloud and vRealize may even be supervising workloads sent out to vCloud Air, Amazon, or someday other clouds.

 

Mark Leake, director of product marketing, said in an interview that vRealize can already manage a workload sent to VMware’s public cloud, vCloud Air, or to Amazon Web Services. At some unspecified point in the future, Leake expects Microsoft Azure to be on the list, which would make vRealize a cross-cloud management console. But he made it clear that that’s getting ahead of the narrative that VMware wants to maintain today, which is: VMware will help you create and manage a private cloud, then augment it by managing hybrid cloud workloads.

 

It’s necessary to remember that one side of the platform may be getting scaled back. The vCloud Air cloud service was one of the targets of layoffs at VMware at the end of January when it reduced headcount by 800 employees. The Wednesday VMware announcement included the following specific developments. The vRealize Operations component was upgraded Wednesday to release 6.2.

 

In the third quarter of 2015, it gained the ability to supply intelligent workload placement on a vCenter cluster. That is, vRealize Operations could look at a virtual machine cluster and figure out which servers were overloaded and which had spare capacity, then redress the imbalance. Now that capability has been integrated with the larger vSphere environment and applied across multiple vCenter clusters, through tight integration with the vSphere’s Distributed Resource Scheduler.

 

Imbalances between clusters can be addressed as well those within the cluster, Leake said. The tool will “give you guidance on how to rebalance your environment, then with the click of a button you rebalance it… It’s trying to avoid resource contention among virtual machines. “The vRealize Log Insight component, which applies analytics to server log data, has been upgraded to release 3.3. It’s been given a Simple Query API so that an existing process may call for information from Log Insight and get it. Log Insight can also support Webhooks, which allow the automated push of updates from Log Insights to a server or third-party application that needs them.

 

“Log Insight understands the dynamic nature of your environment,” Leake said. The Automation component of vRealize has been updated to version 7. It includes “unified service blueprint capabilities.” Automation includes a service catalogue of prebuilt components. It provides a design surface on which an application with its components may be assembled, then moved to another stage of deployment. These templates or blueprints can be edited as text with changes carried through into the underlying code. Security policies can be allotted to the blueprint, which can also include an application’s virtual networking assignment via VMware’s NSX, Leake said.

 

The Automation tool includes Code Stream, which allows a developer to capture a release pipeline and use it as a repeated process for moving code into test, staging, and production, he noted.  The suite also includes version 7 of vRealize Business for Cloud, a visualization and reporting tool to convert IT infrastructure operations into summaries and performance indicators that business managers can understand. It can also be used to assign charges to processes and give business managers a reading on what chargebacks will be for particular workload deployments and operations.

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