Unifying Cloud Management through vCenter

Briefing Note: HotLink Introduces Hybrid Cloud Management

For the traditional data center, VMware remains the dominant virtualization platform but as enterprise roadmaps begin to map in the cloud they are struggling with how to manage the hybrid environments they are creating. The problem is that organizations already have a significant investment in vCenter so having to learn and support another (or many other) management framework creates a significant challenge.

Architecting for Diverse IT

The modern data center is evolving into a diverse landscape of services that application owners and users can self-select as their needs dictate. The operating model for this service based era is called hybrid IT. In the hybrid IT architecture, the enterprise remains the foundational component of IT, but it delivers its services through a variety of means including private cloud, public cloud, and traditional data center applications. IT organizations need to set up an IT Cloud Services Broker so that they can effectively manage the diverse delivery mechanisms.

If IT can’t provide this broker, then application owners and users will often go out on their own and directly engage with public cloud providers, also known as Shadow IT. At that point, IT becomes less relevant, exposing the organization to improper data protection and retention policies set by a well-intentioned but untrained consumers. Eventually, as the use of Shadow IT grows in the organization, it collapses under its weight. Ironically, IT becomes instantly relevant again, but can take years to sort through the mess that Shadow IT will have created.

HotLink Cloud Management Express

HotLink Cloud Management Express is the newest member of HotLink’s solution portfolio which includes Hybrid Express and DR Express. Cloud Management Express allows IT professionals to manage a variety of virtualization and cloud platforms directly from within VMware vCenter, no other consoles are required. Hybrid Express provides auto-discovery of both on and off premise VMs, fine-grained monitoring, VM provisioning from templates as well as security management.

Hybrid Cloud Management Express offers a subset of Hybrid Express including a vCenter focused management of platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM. Unlike Hybrid Express, it also supports managing VMs in Azure, OpenStack, and vCloud.

Cloud Management Express is designed for an organization that just wants to manage and watch these mixed environments, for full orchestration the customer will need to upgrade to Hybrid Express. With Hybrid Express, IT professionals will be able to trigger snapshots and clones as well as benefit from unified template provisioning. Hybrid Express also provides workload conversions and migration between supported cloud/virtual environments.

StorageSwiss Take

HotLink has a robust portfolio. DR Express serves a broader market by allowing mid-tier organizations to create a self-service DRaaS capability leveraging VMware and AWS. Cloud Management Express allows organizations that are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy to manage and monitor the diverse environment with an interface they are comfortable with, vCenter. Hybrid Express brings full interoperability allowing VMs to migrate between the various environments that IT provides as a service to its users. Practical use of the hybrid cloud is typically isolated to the largest of enterprises, and even they struggle with managing it.  In our opinion, the combination provides an excellent “crawl, walk, run” path to the hybrid cloud for a much broader set of organizations from larger enterprises to mid-tier data centers.

Eleven years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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