VMware vCloud Director

Jim Hannan (@HoBHannan), Principal Architect

For many customers, virtualization has been a part of their infrastructure for years. They have benefited from virtualization far beyond consolidation ratios. The vSphere feature-rich tooling has offered them fast provisioning, better availability, better distribution of infrastructure resources, and many more benefits. In many of my consulting engagements I am asked by customers: “What additional tooling should we be looking at?” To which I simply reply:

You should look at VMware SRM and VMware vCloud Director.

At House of Brick, we believe that every customer can benefit from the above-mentioned tools. First, VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager) offers approachable disaster recovery. VMware SRM achieves this by simplifying the run book (procedures followed in a DR scenario) and a simplified DR strategy for all applications.

About 5 years ago, VMware introduced a product called VMware Lab Manager. Lab Manager offered customers the ability to clone and build DEV/Test environments. It was uniquely positioned in the market because it offered some key features that were truly only achievable by virtual backed infrastructure. The first feature, called linked clones, allowed for fast provisioning and a small storage footprint. The second feature was something called a network fence. The Lab Manager’s fenced network works similar to your home firewall. It creates a layer 2 separated network with a NAT firewall. This allowed users to clone production systems without changing the network stack.

A few years ago, VMware introduced vCloud Director. VMware has dubbed this product the replacement for Lab Manager. It was built on the great features that Lab Manager offered, but has greatly improved upon these features and added some interesting new ones.

What is vCloud Director?

VMware vCloud Director is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) tool. Built on top of VMware vSphere virtualization, VMware vCloud Director enables the consumption of virtual infrastructure resources. vCloud Director abstracts the consumer from the infrastructure components like datastores, DRS, HA, ESX hosts, and vMotion. The consumer is allowed to expend resources as a tenant inside of the vCloud Director framework.


Use Cases and Features of vCloud Director

Testing New Software – Many customers use vCloud Director to test new software. vCloud Director allows users to quick build vApps from organization approved VM catalogs. In some cases, the test may need to be done in isolation to protect the production server.
Building vApps for Testing and Developing Applications – Build vApps of business critical applications for testing and developing. Clone production vApps and keep the network stack intact by using vCloud Director vShield Edge appliances.
Free Operational Resources for Provisioning Test and DEV Systems – Most organizations’ infrastructure teams spend about 40% of their time provisioning and administrating test and DEV systems. With vCloud Director you can free infrastructure resources up to work on production systems by allowing users to self-provision.
Enhance VM Build Standardization – vApps can be built from pre-approved catalogs of VM templates.
Fast Provisioning – Deploy vApps in 60 seconds with vCloud Director fast provisioning.
Security – Secure applications with vShield Edge appliances.

Would you like to see a demo of the product?

You can reach us through the contact page on our website. We will be able to setup a demo of the product and discuss some of the use cases for how the product is being used by customers today.

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