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SAN FRANCISCO -- VMware is reshuffling its cloud computing cards with a plan to split intellectual property currently in vCloud Director into new integrations with vCenter and vCloud Automation Center, the company said this week.

Exact details on which features of vCloud Director (vCD) will go into which part of VMware Inc.'s vCloud Suite are not available yet, but it's a safe bet capabilities like multi-tenancy management would be pushed into vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), while constructs like the Virtual Data Center would fall into vCenter, said Mike Adams, a VMware spokesperson.

Customers with existing vCD deployments will have options for licensing as well as technical upgrades. How the licensing convergence will work depends on how they acquired vCD in the first place -- as a standalone product or as part of the vCloud Suite, Adams said.

Standalone customers will be moved into the vCloud Suite, which now includes vCAC, and purchasers of the vCloud Suite must shift to using vCAC instead of vCD.

A migration tool will also be forthcoming to assist with the conversion from vCD to vCAC, Adams said.

"Sometimes in the past we haven't done a great job on migration stories, and this one is one we really need to get right, so we're doing a lot of due diligence to make sure we get it absolutely correct," Adams said.

While some customers are sure to be inconvenienced by these moves, others see VMware approaching the cloud space with a renewed focus.

That said, current customers of vCloud Automation Center who discussed the changes during VMworld in San Francisco this week fear a painful conversion process, citing a difficult conversion between versions 5.1 and 5.2 of the vCloud Suite already.

"There better be a pretty seamless path to implement whatever version is coming out without causing us to have to rework everything," said Kirk Bellmore, VMware systems engineer for a higher education institution in San Diego. "vCloud Director does not have a history of being one of those tools that's easy to either implement or upgrade."

But vCAC, which is based on intellectual property (IP) acquired with DynamicOps last summer, is clearly the superior product, analysts at VMworld said.

VMware vCAC to integrate vCOps, IT Business Management Suite

*It's not just vCloud Director that will be integrated with vCAC, according to demonstrations on the keynote stage and in sessions at VMworld.

In one keynote presentation, VMware officials demonstrated integration between vCAC and vCenter Operations Manager (vCOps), which included automated re-provisioning of workloads by vCAC according to vCOps performance recommendations in the environment.

In a breakout session here, VMware executives also previewed integration between vCAC and its IT Business Management Suite (ITBMS), which is based on the June 2011 acquisition of Digital Fuel, a company specializing in IT financial and business management.

A beta tester of that integration, Matthew Ritchart, operations manager for Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates, which owns a network of 70 hospitals in 15 states, spoke in a VMworld session about the problems the new Business Management for Cloud has solved for his organization.

Ritchart said that until now, his IT department has had to approximate virtual machine (VM) and cloud costs using Excel spreadsheets, with the IT department having to eat cost overruns. This manual process also costs him five to six hours a week, he said. A recent consulting engagement to hammer out cloud costs took about six months.

By contrast, he said it took him 15 minutes to set up Business Management for Cloud, which gives him pricing breakdowns that drill down into individual pieces of each VM, individual apps, and individual business units using the resources.

"No longer is it just a general big budget that I throw at my CIO," Ritchart said. "I can go ahead and say, 'So you want to roll out this project, it's going to cost this much and will take up this much of the data center.'"

A standalone product, ITBM Enterprise, will remain in the VMware portfolio, aimed at CIOs and CTOs, while Business Management for Cloud will be targeted at IT administrators, according to Chandra Prathuri, group product manager for VMware.

*vCOps will also be maintained as a separate product line outside of its integration into vCAC. A version of vCloud Director will be maintained for service providers, Adams said.

*Statements revised following initial publication.

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

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