The value proposition for a “green fields” cloud is reasonably clear — building new environment within vCloud’s framework helps enterprises add all the wonderful things above while streamlining:

  • Security – Integration and auto-provisioning of vShield Edge and multi-tenant security boundaries
  • Governance – Integration with Active Directory at the organizational level for tight security and control
  • Resource Allocations – defining resource allowances through the use of virtual data centers (ex: vDCs)
  • Agility / On-Demand Resources – utilizing vCloud’s allocation models to provide critical resources only as they are needed
  • Cost Transparency – Integration with cloud-aware Chargeback
  • Automation – using vClouds template libraries to rapidly deploy workloads within and across tenant clouds
  • Efficiency – further driving resource utilization using innovative technologies, automation, and governance
  • IT-as-a-Service – offering a highly automated, low-maintenance cloud infrastructure to consumers and allow IT to focus on delivering innovations that drive revenue growth
From a marketing perspective, we all know what cloud is expected to deliver — agility, security, control, etc — as well as the key characteristics of cloud computing — pooling of resources, elasticity, self-service, broad access, and automation.   But what does all this cloud talk mean to existing workloads?  I get that a lot, and most recently from a customer that forced me think about a good response (and not a packaged/salesy one).  The question was, “Why should I move my existing/virtualized workloads into the cloud?”.
The reality is most of the characteristics listed above can be immediately recognized once a workload is migrated to “live” within the cloud.  The exception is the self-service capability since these workloads already exist and will be migrated vs. provisioned (however, an existing workload can be added to the catalog for future self-service needs).  So, I came up with a few points that go beyond the marketing talk and highlight some of the value that can be immediately realized once a plain-old (virtulized or physical ->P2V) workload is migrated to vCloud…
  • Migrating existing enterprise workloads into vCloud’s framework means adding security, control, governance, and efficiency right from the start.  These workloads are migrated into virtual datacenter (vDCs), which are defined under an “Organization”, immediately adding an additional level of security and accessibility by application owners who need it.  Users are assigned specific roles bases on their responsibilities, relieving VI admins from a lot of the daily tasks associated with managing user workloads.  This also adds a level of organization by containerizing workloads (i.e. vApps) into one or more virtual datacenter and organizations.
  • Migrating to vCloud means consumers of these resources don’t need to understand the concepts of cloud — they are simply given a URL to access for provisioning, administering, and maintaining their applications.  Additionally, the apps can now be accessed while “on the wire” or totally isolated using vCloud’s integrated console access.  Traditionally, if a server is unplugged or otherwise isolated, users lose the ability to remotely administer it.
  • Migrating to vCloud increases resource efficiencies by allowing the business to determine which resource allocation model is suitable for the cloud workloads.  Both “Allocation Pool” and “Pay-as-you-go” resource allocation models allow over-commitment of resources across the infrastructure while still guarenteeing service levels at a per-workload level.  The addition of external tools like vCOps helps drive these efficiencies by maximizing resource utilization. Also, building a multi-tiered cloud can further drive costs down by providing varying levels of performance and availability to the appropriate workloads.
  • Migrating to vCloud adds much-needed governance from the moment the workload is powered up within the vCloud framework.  vCD gives cloud admins the ability to set quotas and lease/expiration policies to ensure only valid workloads are utilizing resources.  These policies can also be tied into a Chargeback model that allows the consumers to make decisions based on cost and resource availability within their cloud.
  • Migrating to vCloud and included vCloud Connector components allows you to take static workloads and transfer them to other clouds in the enterprise — or external/public clouds — with ease.  The ability to transfer workloads from datacenter to datacenter is a capability that will help any enterprise make the most out of its datacenters…shifting workloads to where resources are available, avoiding outages during planned maintenance periods, or providing a one-step migration of workloads.