VMware is delivering on the promise of the SDDC (Software Defined DataCenter) in spades. It’s introduction of polices and the focus on granular changes within your Virtual Infrastructure will make the next phase, automation, more of a reality. Virtual machine level policies with VSAN, and even .vmdk level policies with vFRC (vSphere Flash Read Cache) allow administrators to assign specifics around Fault Tolerance, Performance, Caching, etc. These policies can be assigned to groups of Virtual Machines or Individual Virtual Machines. By integrating this functionality at the kernel layer, VMware is leveraging investments already made in vSphere, meaning, there is no API requirement or overlay layer of software that needs to be added.
While both of these capabilities are still very much Version 1.0, you can imagine what will come next in the next release. VSAN may bring Deduplication and data locality, and vFRC may bring mirrored write cache, all at the kernel layer, all built within vSphere. I hate the term SPoG (Single Pane of Glass) but that’s exactly what vSphere is becoming especially in the Web Client UI. Tight integration of these products will make it easier for administrators to manage AND to automate as additional functionality is added, so will VMware’s focus on Policy based management.
Today, we have Polices in some areas, tomorrow full Policy integration with the entire portfolio.
I see the future workflo like this (Application is defined as a vApp w/Single or Multiple VM’s:
Application is requested, and approved, with cost information analysis
Assign Storage Performance Policy based on Application Tier, ie DB caching enabled automatically 10% of db size..etc
Assign Network Policy to include Protection other services such as load balancing, Firewalls, intrusion detection, etc.
Assign Fault Tolerant/DR Policy based on application Tier, local and/or remote replicas, define RPO, define SRM mappings, auto adds to Protection Groups and Recovery Plans
Assign Data Protection Policy based on Information Retention Plan, ie vDP backs up Application
Assign Operational Management Policy based on monitoring guidelines for this particular application, ie granular metric collection timeframes..etc realtime maybe?
Application is provisioned.
We are very close to the entire integration of the vSphere product set but i’m sure it’s not going to stop there. With such a huge ecosystem of supporting partners, VMware must make all this happen with third party products as well and we can do that in much of the same fashion as EMC does with ViPR and VMware does with NSX. At some point, it’s not going to matter what the managed endpoint is, other than that it’s defined in the mangement/provisioning layer and driven by policy.
Exciting times are ahead!