New cloud integration, tools let IT pros mix and match platforms

IT managers have more cloud options thanks to increasingly flexible management tools, though much of the technology has yet to be proven.

SAN FRANCISCO – New integrations and cloud computing tools will allow IT pros to manage previously distinct cloud platforms, such as VMware vCloud, OpenStack and Amazon EC2.

Administrators got a look at the first integration that previously insular VMware Inc. will offer between its vCloud Director and another cloud platform during the company’s annual VMworld user conference here this week.

Its recently acquired Nicira Network Virtualization Platform (NVP), for example, was demonstrated as a gateway and controller to connect workloads to OpenStack clouds via VXLAN and OpenStack’s Quantum API. VXLAN remains in the experimental stage; Quantum won’t be fully supported until the Folsom release of OpenStack in 2013.

VMware’s vCloud Director became part of a vCloud Suite, which includes vSphere, vCloud Security and Networking, as well as vFabric Application Director. It will be priced per processer starting at $4,995 per processor.

VCloud Suite 5.1 will be available Sept. 11 and offered through the end of the year as a free upgrade to Enterprise Plus vSphere customers.

The vCloud suite and new OpenStack compatibility intrigued one show attendee who said his company may be able to use both tools to offer disaster recovery services to external clients.

OpenStack would offer the multitenancy and security a company serving financial customers would need, while vCloud Director could serve as a way to manage the migration of workloads from one site to another, said Jerry Nelson, senior manager of Intel systems for Open Solutions Inc., based in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Still, Nelson said he’d need more time to evaluate the concept, but he can imagine the possibilities.

“Especially at disaster recovery time, how data gets re-presented [after migration] is crucial,” he said. “It’s easy to do once, and hard to do many-to-one or one-to-many.”

VMware will also offer support for managing Amazon resources through the technology it acquired from DynamicOps, though it won’t provide the same level of cloud federation that is available between vCloud and OpenStack, according to outgoing VMware CEO Paul Maritz.

VMware partners support vCloud competitor

As VMware attempts to boost adoption of its cloud computing tools, at least three VMware partners will emphasize their choice to integrate their server virtualization and cloud management wares with Amazon’s EC2 over vCloud here this week. 

Mahwah, N.J.-based ManageIQ will apply version 5 of its EVM policy-based private cloud management software to Amazon EC2 and CloudWatch. In the fourth quarter, it will expand that to cover OpenStack-based public clouds including Rackspace. EVM version 5 will also newly support Microsoft Hyper-V and Red Hat KVM hypervisors.

One ManageIQ customer said his company has engaged with several public cloud service providers, including vCloud partner BlueLock, but that Amazon is most often the home of “Shadow IT” deployments.

Prior to this release of ManageIQ, “there was no consolidated view of how many dollars we were actually spending on Amazon, never mind what was actually up there in the public cloud,” said Simon Pole, development infrastructure lead for Pitney Bowes Software Inc. “Just to have visibility into those [Amazon] accounts is quite good.”

ManageIQ executives said this is the second time in three years the company has worked on integration with Amazon, but previously there hadn’t been much interest among customers; now, there appears to be surging interest in hybrid clouds.

HotLink Corp. will also use VMworld to demonstrate Amazon cloud management integrated directly into VMware’s vCenter. IT pros said the tool will come in handy as their virtual environments grow more heterogeneous and they seek less costly alternatives to vCloud.

“At the moment, HotLink is opening more doors for us than VMware has,” said Ken Tolland, vice president of infrastructure operations for Flextronics International Ltd., based in San Jose, Calif.     

HotLink execs said this centralized management approach through the familiar vCenter interface is what differentiates the company’s offering from Amazon’s own VM import / export process for VMware and other hypervisors.

Finally, Embotics’ V-Commander private cloud management software showcased its new linkage with Amazon, as well as new hypervisor support for Microsoft Hyper-V.

There’s nothing that precludes V-Commander integration with VMware vCloud partners, said Embotics CEO Jay Litkey, but “Amazon has the most cachet, and it’s the logical first choice.”

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchCloudComputing.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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