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VMware: Hey, Other Cloud Services Exist

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the you-are-not-alone dept.

Cloud 39

Nerval's Lobster writes "VMware has updated its cloud-management portfolio to support alternative tools, including Amazon's platform. That's a big step for the company, which for some time seemed to shy away from the idea of backing heterogeneous cloud environments. VMware's vFabric Application Director 5.0 is designed to, in the company's words, 'provision applications on any cloud.' That includes Amazon's EC2. The platform includes pre-approved operating system and middleware components for modeling and deploying those aforementioned applications, with the ability to use the platform's blueprints for deploying applications across 'multiple virtual and hybrid cloud infrastructures.' The other platform, vCloud Automation Center 5.1, enables 'policy-based provisioning across VMware-based private and public clouds, physical infrastructure, multiple hypervisors and Amazon Web Services.'" It's quite possible that this move is in response to Microsoft building similar functionality into Hyper-V 2012.

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39 comments

HELLO !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601445)

VM There ??

Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stuff? (0, Flamebait)

realmolo (574068) | about 2 years ago | (#41601447)

I have yet to see a "cloud platform" that was much more than a collection of buzzwords.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601497)

Well, basically those "clouds" are just a cluster of servers running software which provides an interface where you can upload and run multiple VMs.

So for example if you want to run a website, you create a VM with the web server and data, upload it to the cloud service, and then have it run one or more instances to service HTTP requests depending on the traffic at the moment.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (5, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41601941)

That's the Infrastructure-as-a-service offers. Then there's platform-as-a-service (e.g. App Engine, Heroku) and Software-as-a-service (e.g. Google Docs).

Essentially, cloud means: we abstract and automate everything from this level down, so you don't have to worry about it and can focus on everything above.

And yes, "cloud" is a buzzword for something that already existed. That doesn't mean the concept is bad or useless.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (0)

oztiks (921504) | about 2 years ago | (#41604925)

See what many don't get is IT pros around the would don't like their trade being categorised so easily. What "cloud" is doing is quantifying these layers.

Quantifying the layer simplifies it. If something technical becomes simple then business-heads can understand it (end-to-end) and then what happens is bushiness people do what business people do, that is begin to remove the layer, streamline the layer, outsource the layer, etc. Cloud stops what used to be quite complex thing from being a long laborious costly component to business and quantifies it in a neat little bundle ANNNND when you do that and you can remove / downgrade / retrench the people you need to run it.

IT pros hate it cloud because it gets IT pros fired, makes them less relevant, and less important.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41602169)

This is very naive. You only talk of virtual hosting as a cloud. That's a 2006 state-of-the-art.

In fact, the GROWTH in cloud architecture comes as a transition of the traditional, Enterprise data-center. This is the next stage after the large-scale consolidation of Enterprise x86 computing onto a virtual platform for efficiency and cost.

A cloud offers elastic capacity for compute and storage requirements.

Ordering and provisioning are business/enduser driven, from a service catalogue.

All policy enforcement and management functions are topology-gnostic - and largely independent of typical identifiers in non-cloud archetectures (including IP, Port/vlan/subnet mapping).

In fact, the ability for a workload to exhibit elasticity, practically requires topology agnosticism.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41608877)

christ on a donkey, but you sound like a fucking salesman.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41610375)

Architect. ;-)

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (4, Funny)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | about 2 years ago | (#41601547)

It's just a fad. Buying hardware, putting a Linux distro in the CD drive, installing, configuring, driving hardware down to hosting center, installing hardware in a cage, testing, driving home, and then repeated all this when something goes wrong or needs upgrading is much more efficient. Nothing will even compete with a Linux server in a corner / basement / under a desk.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

ski9826 (2541112) | about 2 years ago | (#41602057)

I use the software service cloud for my personal and for work we have our DNS servers, web servers, load balancers, SQL servers, FTP servers all in the cloud. Works great, and has been an enormous money-saving option as our servers were at end of life.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | about 2 years ago | (#41602775)

whooooooosh

(that wasn't a cloud that just whooshed by....)

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41604279)

Please the first fad were network computers. Same argument was made. The next was intranets. Same argument was made. After that AJAX web 2.0. Same argument was made. Now clouds! ... in reality they are kind of similar. You have a server and you have a client. The truth is I do not have to call it a cloud. An app hosted on a server is just that. Now facebook itself calls itself a cloud and so does amazon. In reality yahoo mail was doing that last century when it was hip to call it a portal.

Yes it is hype with some truth, but is not a revolutionary new thing.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601753)

The details are still a bit cloudy for me.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41601755)

"cloud is not about clouds"
"cloud means x"
"no cloud means x+y"
"yeah that's something we had before"
"it's marketing on old ideas"
"no, it's doing what we used to do, better, with newer tech"
"oh whatever my old tech was just as good"
"no it wasn't."
"yes it was"
"well now it's all cheaper and better"

This horse is thoroughly dead.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (5, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#41601875)

Amazon's offerings are pretty good. And yeah, their persistent use of acronyms is a bit annoying and confusing. It's not so much buzzwords though, as an attempt at branding.

Firstly, if you're just mucking around, it can be cheap. Really cheap. If you're just working on a proof-of-concept, you can possible get a dedicated server for free, as Amazon's prices scale on use, and a test machine isn't going to get a lot of traffic.

Secondly, it can be really fast. Because Amazon's physical hardware is already geographically distributed, you can do the same pretty quickly. If I have a properly setup application, and I decide I want a server physically located in Asia to reduce the latency to customers there, I can have it done in 10 minutes.

Thirdly, its easy. It's got a steep learning curve, but once you're on top of it, backups, disaster recovery, scalability and a whole host of other problems are essentially solved for you.

Sure, there's nothing it can't do that a properly configured and tuned geographically-distributed redundant cluster of linux boxes couldn't, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper, faster and easier than running such a cluster.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (2)

XXeR (447912) | about 2 years ago | (#41602211)

Great post, but I do disagree with this:

but it's a hell of a lot cheaper, faster and easier than running such a cluster

This is at best only true on a small/medium scale, but ultimately it really depends on your use case and how on top of your AWS bill you are. My contention is that once you get to the point that you're running thousands of large EC2 instances, you'd actually find it cheaper to deploy and manage servers in your own DC (or a colo).

I'm sure the folks at Netflix will disagree with me, but considering the hundreds of folks they have dedicated to tooling and optimizing their AWS deployment, I'd say they're a special case (plus they likely get big discounts given the amount of cheerleading they do for AWS).

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#41602357)

True, I should have qualified that statement with "in most cases". In reality, the vast majority of users will never need more than a handful of EC2 instances, and the sort of gains you can get at the small end from using Amazon's pre-built network is amazing. At the upper end, you'll have enough cash available that investing in that sort of talent and infrastructure in-house might be feasible.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41602983)

It's worked very well for us when we need to run a very paralleled simulation. We run about ten million Monte-Carlo runs per simulation, and being able to tap an arbitrary number of cores for a short time is a whole lot better for us than trying to build it to run for roughly 0.1% of the time and idle the rest of the time.But, we've clearly got an edge case -- looking for edge cases.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41610387)

Sure, there's nothing it can't do that a properly configured and tuned geographically-distributed redundant cluster of linux boxes couldn't...

It is a properly configured and tuned geographically-distributed redundant cluster of Linux boxes.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611947)

$72 a month for mysql 5GB database. That's what I paid last month.

Re:Does anyone with a clue actually *use* this stu (2)

bluzytrix (2749071) | about 2 years ago | (#41604195)

I manage a cloud with nearly 5000 VMs. In a class today we spun up about 350 on the fly so that engineers could have reference configs available to do their jobs. I'm thinking we'll hit around 6000 VMs by the new year.

Remember - just replace cloud with clown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601513)

That makes it clear.

Don't break our buisness model please!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601529)

As vmware adopts ever more aggressive and unpalatable pricing schemes I'm not surprised that people are looking to cloud services.

Vmware makes some nice software, but they've been heading towards the "Well, how much do you got?" or "Give me your checkbook and I'll let you know how much it costs" or simply "Oracle-Style" pricing.

Glad they have some competition. The company that commercialized virtual machines is now facing the commodization of virualzation software itself.

Re:Don't break our buisness model please!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41601763)

Vmware makes some nice software, but they've been heading towards the "Well, how much do you got?" or "Give me your checkbook and I'll let you know how much it costs" or simply "Oracle-Style" pricing.

I love vmware workstation and esx yet having tried the enterprise vcloud stack while ago iseems to be quite poorly written and performing system.

  All based on java "tomcat" with installation iso's including the working operating system so you are forced to run each part of the stack on a different "virtual machine". vcloud/vcenter/vcb each instance of java consuming multiple gigabytes of main memory just to present a slow underwhelming unreliable web interface which is sitting idle for the most part.

Database schemas seem to have been written by two year olds who apparently can't be bothered with any foreign keys or indexes.

Ran into insane problems such as start order dependancies which required me to manually reassociate esx resources because x came up before y to resolve, resource exhaustion and issues with database tds sessions not reconnecting automatically.

I like VMware a heck of a lot more than I like Oracle yet pricing and shoddy software seem to be two common traits. Enterprise should mean kick ass just working highly reliable software...too often it actually means 'beta' quality we only have a few customers using this thanks for testing it for us.

If I were vmware I would stick with the low level shit and provide better management interfaces to make high level resource management easier.

Re:Don't break our buisness model please!! (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41603193)

VMware would solve a lot of their own problems and probably streamline support if they would support vCenter as a canned Linux appliance installable as a VM or on bare metal.

I can't imagine the development overhead they must have to deal with to come up with all those Windows binaries, especially when they don't bother to leverage IIS or other inbuilt Windows services.

And then there is the support factor in dealing with brain damaged broken platforms people try to run vCenter on.

Re:Don't break our buisness model please!! (2)

phoebus1553 (522577) | about 2 years ago | (#41603623)

You should really come look at what 'current' VMware software looks like and the directions they're going. Things may be further along in 5.1 but my info is good as of the latest patch to 5.0.

vCenter is offered as an appliance VM (vCSA) that is good for many small-medium shops, limited by the database connectivity and integration with other non-essential VMware tools and partner software. While it doesn't yet have the integration with all the addons, they're coming supposedly. It also brings along a web interface good for 90% of your day-to-day, which while built on (what I think is) a crappy framework, it does work. I'd venture a guess that SRM is almost ready for the vCSA environment as it's basically written in Perl. I think EMC has their integration bits working in the web client, and NetApp said they were close.

They don't exactly roll their own web service either, it's tomcat everywhere you look for the web services, all but the esxi hosts require AD integration for authentication and vC uses an ADAM database for linking servers together. I have heard a couple of grumbles about people not liking the windows servers for their VC a year ago, but honestly who has a totally non-windows environment these days?

I'd love to see the whole stack as a group of drop-in appliance VMs, but then again, this is job security right :-P Seriously though, they need a lot of work around the edges for that to happen. It's a major chore if you want to tweak stuff up like change all the certs to trusted certs with your internal enterprise CA or purchased PKI. It'd be cooler if it was easier, but it's not there yet.

Re:Don't break our buisness model please!! (1)

bluzytrix (2749071) | about 2 years ago | (#41604243)

"all but the esxi hosts require AD integration for authentication and vC"
You can use local accounts for authentication and AD is not required. With the introduction of single sign on in 5.1 your identity sources for authentication could be the local OS and LDAP server or any of the other sources SSO supports.

I would love to see the entire stack as drop in appliances as well. VMware has been moving toward this more and more. However, I think this is a two edged sword. The Windows admins of the world are comfortable with MSSQL and W2K8. When you dump them with a SUSE Linux or Redhat distro with embedded databases like vPostgres or Oracle, they tend to throw caution to the wind and not study up on how to maintain such systems.

Re:Don't break our buisness model please!! (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#41605315)

VMware would solve a lot of their own problems and probably streamline support if they would support vCenter as a canned Linux appliance installable as a VM or on bare metal.

It's pretty much guaranteed this will come with vSphere 6.0, which will almost certainly be released at VMworld 2013.

Do other "clouds" provide full virtualization? (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41602045)

Or is it merely "web application" virtualization?

I was surprised to read the Wikipedia blurb on EC2 to find they supported booting Windows 2008 images, I had assumed it was an "app engine" for some kind of web serving, and not the kind of virtualization you normally associate with VMware.

Does this mean that a company could theoretically run AD/Exchange from EC2? Skip over the usual hosting option and run it straight from there? I'm sure the pricing wouldn't be as good as a "pure" hosted Exchange solution per se, but you'd have the horsepower of Amazon.

Are people actually using it this way or is it generally only for hosting web servers?

Re:Do other "clouds" provide full virtualization? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41602131)

There is certainly "full-er" visualization, from simple Linux containers to full blown VMs.

Both Amazon and Microsoft itself (on Azure) offer Windows VMs, and I don't see why couldn't you run Exchange there.

That said, if your needs are fixed, there are probably cheaper solutions out there.

Re:Do other "clouds" provide full virtualization? (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41603151)

I guess it all depends on what you needed to do.

It's not pretty, but I've seen Exchange 2010 with a small userbase run in what would probably be a "large instance". With a three year commitment plus upfront costs, it looks like that would run you about $4000.

Even if you called it $8000, that's still not a bad price relative to what $8000 would buy you in terms of physical PC hardware, internet connectivity and stability and reliability (of infrastructure, not Exchange) over a three year period.

A colleague was pricing new blades for an HP BladeCenter and they were nearly $20k.

How about you update VMware Converter? (1)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#41602947)

How about you update VMware Converter so it works with the current version of VMware ESXi Hypervisor?

I wasted hours building a system just to find that VMware Converter cannot target VMware ESXi 5.1. Version 5.1 has been out for a month and still VMware Converter Stand-Alone is not compatible with it.

Re:How about you update VMware Converter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41604739)

How about you update VMware Converter so it works with the current version of VMware ESXi Hypervisor?

I wasted hours building a system just to find that VMware Converter cannot target VMware ESXi 5.1. Version 5.1 has been out for a month and still VMware Converter Stand-Alone is not compatible with it.

The VMware View 5.1 update has been a nightmare as VMware decided to replace the individual View Connection Server's tomcat java certificate keystores to a more centralized Windows 2008 R2 Certificate Server/Group Policy SSL certificate distribution and PKI validation.

VMware made the change because, like it or not, that's what the lion's share of their Enterprise-sized accounts use to manage SSL certificate distribution and PKI validation.

VMware's White Papers and documentation about migrating a VMware View 5.0 environment to 5.1 seriously sucks balls.

Re:How about you update VMware Converter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41607075)

Why wouldn't you just build it as a VM in the first place, as opposed to building a physical and then converting to virtual?

Re:How about you update VMware Converter? (1)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#41610359)

Why wouldn't you just build it as a VM in the first place, as opposed to building a physical and then converting to virtual?

It *is* a VM in the first place. I use the converter to move the VM from one host to another host. Sure, I can copy the files and edit the vmx files, but I should be able to use VMware Converter, which we still cannot due to the incompatibilty.

App Director (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41603383)

App Director is a pretty interesting product. It's rather different from other offerings from VMWare, but it's not a game changer and it's definitely not the future of the company. It's yet another product in the zillions that the company has. VMWare needs to focus. They seem to have lost a sense of direction since the hypervisors have become more of a commodity.

App Director is a nice Flash-based GUI for Chef, which is really the engine underneath doing the heavy lifting. And no, it does not support any other cloud other than Amazon and vCloud Director. It seems to me that VMWare is adding support for Amazon in a couple of their products so they can say "you see?, we do believe in multiple clouds". Should I call it Cloudwashing? There are other more interesting start-ups out there doing similar things like RightScale, Cliqr or GigaSpaces' Cloudify, all of which focus on the applications vs. the VMs. The problem is that I have a hard time believing that VMWare will ultimately abandon the "VM" as the way they see the world.

Re:App Director (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41607895)

I think AppDirector and some of the recent acquisitions show an intent to have an end-to-end stack. The Hypervisor will always be important since it is foundational. By building out additional layers you could use VMware as a one-stop get everything you need for your datacenter solution (along with hardware obviously). I don't think anyone is there yet, but ultimately you would end up with a highly flexible data center as well as "hybrid cloud" solution so you could do things like build your internal shop on VMware and configure automatic over flow into Amazon EC2 if you reach capacity on your internally managed datacenter.

For all cloud folks involved I think it would benefit everyone to have some level of cross compatibility (similar idea as MP3, HTML, etc). If VMware can develop some competent management tools as well as being able to interface with all the major solutions (Amazon, OpenStack, etc) that should benefit any user who wants more flexibility and allow easier transitions across platforms.

If they can figure out how to integrate and harmonize all of the various products and acquisitions it could be an awesome solution. Right now I don't think it is even close yet. It's more of an over glorified beta. Still that seems to be how the whole industry moves these days.

Re:App Director (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41607901)

I disagree. They are effectively diversifying so no one product will destroy the future of VMware if it becomes unpopular. This is a good thing.

Re:App Director (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41672223)

No one cares what a trolling zero like you thinks or says, stupid.

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