Innovations in the VMware Cloud Management Portfolio

VMworld Europe is this week and there’s a lot of news coming from VMware, so I want to take a step back and highlight some of the innovation included in the new Cloud Management offerings we announced in Barcelona. The Cloud Management team is releasing updated products across the portfolio – with new versions of vCenter Operations, vCloud Automation Center, IT Business Management, and Log Insight. A lot of time and energy was spent bringing these products to market and I’ll cover some of the new features and capabilities in this blog.

Innovation comes in many different forms and flavors. One might be a new analytics algorithm that improves the analysis of data. Another form may be a set of integrations that brings multiple disciplines into a single offering to reduce the manual efforts by the product users in configuring or operating our software. The third form may be a cool new way to utilize what we already have to show what one may be able to do with a particular piece of software. In this blog, I’ll highlight examples of all three types of innovations that will be included in our cloud management portfolio.

We announced vC Operations Management Suite 5.8 today – our offering that provides automated operations management using patented analytics and an integrated approach to performance, capacity and configuration management. One of the most important features of vC Operations Manager is the Dynamic Threshold (DT) algorithms that continuously analyze time series data to determine when a metric may have deviated from normal (gray region in picture below)This analysis is used throughout the product in terms of visualizing normal behavior, alerting, and identification of potential root cause. There are multitudes of various DT algorithms in vC Ops as various types of data behaviors are very difficult to capture with a single algorithm. This multi-algorithm structure was developed over several years of field experience and tuning to ensure accurate results. About two years ago our Algorithm R&D team took all the learnings they’ve gathered throughout the years working with various customers, metric types, and data reliability – and constructed a new all-encompassing algorithm that would be more efficient (in terms of CPU utilization) and more accurate (in terms of noise reduction).

The result is a brand new DT algorithm in vC Operations 5.8 that delivers on this concept. The new algorithm is anywhere from 30% to 40% more efficient on CPU utilization and significantly reduces the noise in the system due to erratic metric behavior. The noise reduction mechanism is achieved by realizing that not all segments of a time-series data deserve to be classified by placing DT bounds around them. Some data behavior simply cannot (and should not) be considered as it would only contribute to the noise without increasing the information content. The secret sauce of this new algorithm is striking a balance between the signal-to-noise ratio of the system. For all the die-hards of the old multi-algorithm mechanism, we have thought of you as well. The old algorithms are still in the system and can be easily turned on via a configuration.

In the new release of our Cloud Service Provisioning product, vCloud Automation Center 6.0, integration has been the main focus to bring multiple disciplines into a single offering. The levels of automation achieved in this release are quite impressive. The first item is the integration of vCAC Application Services (i.e. AppDirector) to enable a single self-service experience through a common service catalog for requesting infrastructure and now application services. The point of a cloud provisioning tool is not to simply provision VMs, but to provision applications running on VMs with a predefined set of services. In fact, deploying anything as a service has been a big focus of the vCloud Automation Center team for the past year. We call this (anything as a service) XaaS, which is the common service catalog for delivering any service that can be automated by a vCenter Orchestrator workflow. What this means is that any vCenter Orchestrator workflow can now be published as a catalog item in vCloud Automation Center which can be deployed on demand by the tenant.

The other large area of integration for vCloud Automation Center has been with VMware NSX, our platform that delivers the entire networking and security model in software, decoupled from traditional networking hardware. Integration with VMware NSX provides dynamic networks and network services (load balancer and firewalls) while provisioning multi-machine blueprints on vSphere. In addition to this, vCloud Automation Center now enables you to provision instances to Openstack, which truly enhances our multi-cloud strategy and data agnostic heritage of VMware’s Cloud Management team.

A lot of work has also been done with vCenter Operations in terms of bringing various data sets together and building a set of dashboards to truly see across a heterogeneous multi-application environment. I recently saw a demo where SAP, Oracle, Exchange, and SQL Server applications were streaming data into vCenter Operations; Dell, HP and Brocade and EMC metrics (delivered as Analytics Packs) along with your usual suspects of vCenter, SCOM and other data sets (see diagram below). The dashboards told a simple story of how such a melting pot of hardware, middleware and applications were living side by side and allowed one to clearly appreciate the power and flexibility of the solution.

ITBM, our IT Business Management product line, also has a new release with an even tighter integration with vCloud Automation Center (see picture below) to deliver cost information for the cloud tenants. In addition, there is a lot of excitement around Log Insight, our log analytics product, and its tight integration with vCenter Operations which delivers a very compelling offering for datacenter operations teams.

These activities only scratch the surface of all the hard work that has gone into the cloud management products VMware is releasing this year. If you’re at VMworld Europe this week, I encourage you to stop by the VMware booth for demos of all the products I discussed in the blog, meet the VMware Cloud Management team and check out our numerous sessions and Hands-on Labs for even more information about our management technologies.