VMware adds portal to vCloud Director

VMware has introduced vCloud Request Manager, which works on top of vCloud Director to automate approvals, manage software licenses and set up policy 'blueprints'

VMware has added another layer of automation and administration to its vCloud Director cloud-creation product with the introduction of vCloud Request Manager.

Announced on Tuesday, vCloud Request Manager sits on top of vCloud Director, which allows companies to extend their datacentre into public clouds, then manage these like private clouds — a feature that VMware calls "virtual datacentres". The new software, which provides a self-service portal, makes it possible to automate the approvals process for provisioning new workloads in the cloud.

The product also introduces a system for tracking the use of licenses in specific software instances as they are initialised and killed, making sure that the cloud complies with third-party agreements. Another new tool aims to simplify administration of cloud partitions by providing 'blueprints' for dealing with standardised services.

The vCloud Request Manager is fundamentally an "orchestration engine" for merged public and private cloud environments, Dave Wright, VMware's vice president of technical services for Europe told ZDNet UK. The new levels of automation, licensing and administration are tailored around the needs of large enterprises, he said.

"At the moment, you very much take the approach of 'this is the best way to provision a virtual machine'. But when you go to an enterprise structure, they won't necessarily go into that — they'll want to do a degree of customisation, and they'll have a request-manager system, and you need to interface into that. We don't want to have a separate system, we want people to use a traditional request system and interface through this," he explained at VMworld 2010 Europe in Copenhagen.

The new software plugs into VMware's vision of customers moving to 'IT as a service', unveiled alongside vCloud Director in August. The company envisages enterprises putting together a chunk of their corporate IT using external services, rather than building in-house.

VMware has plans to expand vCloud Director with further software layers as its use grows, Wright said. "As we come up with a definitive approach to how the cloud is managed, that's where you will potentially see more additions," he explained.

VMware vCloud Request Manager will be released before the end of 2010. It will be licensed on a per-virtual machine basis, with prices starting at $100 (£63) per VM, according to the company.


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