VMware adds SaaS-based tools to its hybrid cloud arsenal, despite enterprise hesitation about whether the tools can operate at scale.
VMware's rebranded vRealize Suite has cloud capabilities that can bypass on-premises configuration, prevent additional infrastructure costs and provide more frequent updates, according to the company.
AutoTrader.com uses some non-VMware software as a service (SaaS) tools, including Box and Office365, according to K. Chris Nakagaki, senior systems administrator for the online auto dealer. The VMware vRealize Suite would have to comply with industry standards, but it could be another outsourcing option.
"Having a SaaS-based solution is a load off to let us focus on the higher-priority stuff close to the core business rather than just infrastructure IT," Nakagaki said.
AutoTrader.com uses vRealize Suite to monitor and manage capacity at its two Georgia data centers. The company wants to add cloud services through vCloud Air, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or OpenStack, since vRealize Suite operates as a marketplace to find the best fit that integrates with existing VMware products, Nakagaki said.
Customers can choose between on-premises or SaaS-based versions of the management platform through vRealize Air Compliance, which is currently in beta. It's VMware's second SaaS offering, following vRealize Air Automation, also in beta. VMware has said it will roll out more services during the next year.
There are third-party SaaS vendors, such as AppDynamics and Riverbed Technology, with similar products, but VMware officials say the integrated hybrid management model is a differentiator from vendors challenged by firewall issues with private cloud or focused solely on public cloud. Some VMware customers, however, are wary of data security with the cloud.
IT management concerns include not having access to the data during updates and the potential to have proprietary data transmitted across the Internet, particularly with a hosted cloud model, said Scott Gottesman, an IT professional based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. specializing in virtualization.
Farming out services can provide savings, but in complex environments it can also be a hindrance to migrate to the cloud, Gottesman said. His company doesn't use VMware cloud products, and he's concerned with the amount of bandwidth that could potentially be dedicated to the tool and if data transfer delays to the cloud could prevent real-time analysis.
"I'd rather see something on-premises than off-premises, particularly in the situation where I have to deal with an outage and I need to have visibility into what just happened," Gottesman said.
Go with what you know
There's no shortage of third-party cloud management tools, as companies such as New Relic and Compuware vie for the SaaS market. But VMware's brand-name recognition may be a draw for customers, according to Ronni Colville, an analyst at Gartner, Inc., in Stamford, Conn. In fact, many potential buyers of VMware management tools already use the company's hypervisor.
"Even if they're not best, they're more than good enough and there's a belief of, 'Who better to manage my stack than the guy who builds my stack?'" Colville said.
The vRealize Suite includes several competitive features, and there are cases where SaaS monitoring tools make sense, Colville said. It could be attractive to smaller clients who don't have the manpower, or in certain use cases for larger enterprises storing data off-site.
"For them it's a checkbox," Colville said. "They had to get there and it is differentiable, but over time more and more vendors will offer it."
Return of the platform wars
The vRealize Suite is a return to the legacy vendor platform wars, as the big vendors no longer want to compete on point products, according to Matt Healey, an analyst with Technology Business Research, based in Hampton, NH. Large vendors are forced to provide comprehensive platforms that span more than one domain.
Other upgrades in the management suite include Code Stream, a DevOps tool for continuous integration, and operations tools compatible with OpenStack, AWS and cloud products.
Offering a management platform at the various levels of the stack -- applications, database, systems and networking -- will be critical as enterprises shift to a hybrid environment, Healey said.
"People that can get in there and extend their platform in the enterprise will really cement their future for a long time to come and that's why they are fighting so aggressively right now," Healey said.
Trevor Jones is the news writer for SearchCloudComputing. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.