Enterprise IT shops which had sought out vCloud Director are being steered toward VMware's vCloud Automation Center 6.0, and more products from VMware's catalog are making their way into the product.
The Enterprise edition of vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0 now includes VMware Inc.'s Application Director, and the beginnings of integration with Data Director as well as vCenter Orchestrator.
Application Director, previously known as vFabric Application Director, was introduced with version 5.1 of the vFabric Suite last year, and automates deployment and management of applications in vCloud environments. It was originally designed for use with vCloud Director, now a part of vCloud Automation Center; vCloud Automation Center is based on the acquisition of DynamicOps last summer.
One vCAC 6.0 beta tester said he was caught in the middle of the vCloud Director product transition into vCAC.
"We were inches away from pulling the trigger on vCloud Director and then basically VMware killed the product," said Bob Plankers, a virtualization and cloud architect at a major Midwestern university.
However, vCAC multi-cloud management features are an improvement over vCloud Director, and Application Director is a welcome addition for creating an internal Platform as a Service, Plankers said.
"That's their answer to things like RedHat's OpenShift, where you've got a piece of code to run but you don't want to maintain the whole infrastructure underneath it," Plankers said.
In the meantime, some features like chargeback have yet to achieve parity between vCloud Director and vCAC, according to Plankers.
"The Automation Center doesn't have very granular options for chargeback and chargeback reporting," Plankers said. "That's an area they're working on and are going to have to continue working on."
VMware vCAC 6.0 licensing, pricing
Application Director is now a feature of vCAC within the Enterprise licensing level of the overall vCloud Suite. The vCloud Suite 5.5, which also includes vSphere and the vCenter Operations Management Suite (vCOps), is licensed per processor starting at $4,995. VMware vCloud Automation Center can also be purchased standalone, priced per managed system in packs of 25. *An operating system instance for vCAC 6.0 Advanced costs $400, while an operating system instance of vCAC 6.0 Enterprise goes for $775.
Data Director, originally known as vFabric Data Director, is a tool for provisioning Database as a Service, and it will be folded in to vCAC in future releases, VMware said. Integration with vCenter Orchestrator for workflow automation is also included in vCAC 6.0, though Orchestrator will remain under the vCenter line of products and not meld as closely into vCAC.
VMware is hardly alone in the cloud management software market, particularly software that manages multiple clouds. Nor is VMware the first to acquire that software via a smaller player. Dell Inc. has its Dell Cloud Manager (based on its acquisition of Enstratius earlier this year), Cisco offers Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud product; and Red Hat has CloudForms (based on its acquisition of ManageIQ).
Currently, there isn't too much demand for managing multiple clouds through one interface among enterprises, said Michael Cote, analyst with 451 Research based in Boston. But it's important for these players to start jockeying for position now if they want to succeed in two or three years when there is demand, Cote said.
Incumbency could drive a good portion of the sales of management software for multiple clouds, an area VMware has an advantage as the top server virtualization software vendor.
But Cote said VMware's reputation of being expensive could also prove challenging in today's cloud world.
"A lot of people think of cloud as not paying VMware for licensing anymore," Cote said.
*pricing information adjusted after initial publication.