Monday, December 3, 2012

Federate Now; Extending to Cloud

Moving towards the IT as a Service (ITaaS) model is a complex process for most organizations.  It requires changes in technology, processes and skill sets.  As the current climate makes expenditures difficult, many IT departments are reluctant to start any major transformation.  The hunker down and ride it out mentality is delaying many strategic initiatives that would move IT departments closer to a Service Provider Model.

The overwhelming number of decisions on how to become more service orientated often delay any meaningful plans to get started.  Delaying however is just as hazardous as users become disenfranchised with internal IT and start to leverage unsanctioned Cloud services.  There is a better way which allows you to integrate the benefits of Cloud without having to work through all the complexities. 

As part of VMware’s vCloud Platform, VMware provides Cloud Connector.  Implementing Cloud Connector allows IT departments to federate their on premise Private Cloud with a VMware Certified Cloud Provider.  Most VMware Certified Cloud Providers have several different Cloud models; from traditional virtual infrastructure based on VMware vSphere to more self-service platforms based on vCloud Director.  The self-service models tend to take a more metered approach to billing, charging based on utilization vs. a flat per VM price.

Federating or connecting your traditional vSphere environment to a VMware Cloud Providers vCloud Director environment allows you to turn up certain Cloud like features for select workloads quickly and efficiently.  vCloud Director and Cloud Connector are designed to plug into enterprise private cloud environments. 

Unlike other Cloud services that are focused on the end user and do not provide an administrator console, vCloud Connector plugs into vCenter.  This allows you to continue to manage your Cloud virtual resources in the same manner and with the same toolsets as your current on premise environment.  You can still offer user self-service through the vCloud Director portal but administration can look and feel the same.  You access the vCloud Connector plug-in from your vSphere client; the vCloud Director resources appear as an extension of your environment as shown in figure 1.01.


figure 1.01

While this does not negate the need to deliver on ITaaS, it does enable a quick method of plugging in and turning up Cloud features while or in lieu of transforming your existing environment.  It also allows you to be very selective on what workloads you apply these Cloud features to.  This allows you to assess the business value without a large upfront commitment. 

I believe Cloud is forcing IT departments to rationalize which services they are extremely good at and which they should be looking for assistance on.  At the two ends of the spectrum are in-house and outsourced.  Recognize that federating provides a good middle ground in which you centrally manage the combination of services that you provide.  In this way you become the primary service provider to your organization while delivering a wider range of services but avoiding the development cost and time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,

    I couldn't agree more with your statement on Cloud's influence on IT departments. In some ways this is beneficial for companies to continue to concentrate on which services they are experts in, however this also effects the job market within the IT industry. I wouldn't be surprised to see job reductions when particular departments are no longer needed for certain services or when companies turn to outsourcing as you've mentioned above.

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