October 15, 2013, 3:07 PM — VMware has rolled out expanded support for non-VMware workloads in its management tools, including the added ability to manage OpenStack clouds, and providing better visibility into Amazon and Microsoft clouds.
The moves reflect VMware's desire to be a central management platform for multiple types of workloads in an IT shop. They also highlight the delicate nature of the cloud computing industry in which there are resources from various vendors, forcing companies like VMware to balance between encouraging customers to use their services, but also supporting competing platforms.
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Just a few years ago VMware was fighting criticism that it locked customers into its platform, but since then the company has embraced a multi-cloud management strategy. That was exemplified by the purchase last year of DynamicOps, which is a company that specializes in management of workloads from multiple types of hypervisors.
Today, the company continued that strategy by announcing major updates to its management software. The 6.0 release of vCloud Automation Center, which automates the delivery of IT services, now includes Red Hat OpenStack clouds. It had previously supported not only VMware, but Amazon and Microsoft cloud workloads. Automation Center can now automate the delivery of virtual networking from VMware's NSX group, too. VMware also launched a tool that allows users to compare the price of on-premises resources with those in a public cloud.
A new version of vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 includes expanded capabilities for users to glean insight into how their VMware, AWS and Microsoft Hyper-V-powered workloads are performing. The software provides analytics and information about configuration errors for those platforms. "VMware is not just a vSphere company anymore," says Martin Klaus, a spokesperson for VMware's cloud management division. "We have very broad management capabilities for delivering IT as a Service."
Mary Turner, an IDC analyst who tracks the IT management industry, says the view VMware has evolved to support reflects the reality of the market today. "Increasingly there is a recognition that the future of cloud and enterprise data centers is going to be hybrid," she says. "The fact that VMware is investing to support a range of cloud platforms makes a lot of sense in terms of what the market wants."
The market for cloud and IT management platforms is hot and growing, Turner says. Other vendors include BMC, IBM, HP, Red Hat through its ManageIQ acquisition, Citrix and even Microsoft and OpenStack. These management platforms become the "face of the cloud" for end users, Turner says, because they control provisioning and deprovisioning of resources, as well as setting policies regarding which employees are allowed access to which resources. They can also provide analytics and metering of services. A lot of companies want to occupy that valuable real estate within enterprise IT shops. "It's a very dynamic market," she says. "What VMware is doing is making sure that it's in the mix."