Can any tool help to tie the knot between vCenter and AWS?

June 6th, 2014 by

AWS has seductively batted its eyelids at VMware users, via a freely downloadable connector for vCenter. In other words, AWS has created the ‘Easy Button’ for Enterprise CIOs to enter the world of Hybrid Cloud right from inside the belly of the incumbent enterprise Hypervisor. “Don’t be fooled” raves the VMware blog in response to the news. Their wailing is understandable; what AWS is calling a “hybrid management capability” is really cleverly placed bait. While VMware was expecting a migration of workloads over to their vCHS platform, the free vCenter connecter could lead to a rapid exodus from VMware to AWS.

However, funny business aside, VMware CTO Chris Wolf did make some sobering points in his response blog. Outside of Staples’ commercials, the easy button ain’t that easy. Potential difficulties with the new plug-in are licensing issues, lock-in issues and orchestration issues. What if you want to run AWS instances in a region of the world where there is no AWS datacenter?  Do you want to be bound by proprietary APIs and all 3rd party ops tools that would have to be replaced?

And finally, the VMware blog clearly spelled out the largest issue of all: “to date, proprietary service provider tools have created management silos that drive up total cost of ownership while increasing provider lock-in.” Now there’s the real kicker, the one that should make you pause before clicking the pretty blue download button. Is there a better way?

We’ve got your back.

VMware is exactly right – those proprietary tools are way too brittle for this new environment; it demands a set of agile and agnostic tools.

Mr. Service Provider and Mrs. Enterprise administrator – ScienceLogic’s CloudMapper – frees you and future-proofs your environment regardless of how many and which cloud providers/offerings you use.

CloudMapper:
1.  Follows your instances as they move across clouds, whether in AWS, your VMware environment, or any other third-party Cloud offering.
2.  Automatically maps and tracks the cross-technology and cross-cloud dependencies those apps rely on.

What about the various legacy tools and workflows that would be broken by this migration to the cloudosphere? We don’t believe in ripping or replacing when things are working just fine, so we’ll happily embrace your third party tools with our two-way RestFul API. We’re already doing this across a number of hybrid environments, using a variety of technologies including VMware and AWS.

Our ‘Easy Button’ for monitoring wasn’t waiting on another use-case, but we’ll happily accept one!

In the end, CloudMapper won’t just ease the pain you feel in shifting workloads between cloud environments, but we’ll take that heavy load off of AWS and VMware as well. Ultimately, they will both benefit from the democratization that will be forged by the Hybrid IT world – monitored by us.

Yep, we’ll give you and your team what you need to deploy workloads into the best execution environment. We’ll even give you the data and knowledge you need to get the right performance and availability at the right cost.

More details on the AWS Connector

So, now that we’ve solved your multi-cloud/multi-vendor problem, what is this AWS Connector anyway?

With this Connector, AWS, has kindly offered VMware users the ability to buy, manage, and migrate VM’s using AWS tools, while staying inside of the vCenter management console.  The idea, sticking with AWS’ mantra of Hybrid IT, is to allow vCenter admins control of on-premise VMware workloads in addition to AWS services, all from a single UI. This also means that VMware service providers can offer self-service access to AWS. With the VM import function, it becomes a snap to move apps over to AWS. This connector for vCenter is already available and offers a number of enterprise features including templating, governance and automatic resource tagging.

The new plugin to vCenter 5.1 (and later) lets you import VM’s into the AWS cloud and manage them from within vCenter. To do this, users can either use AWS command line interface or the AWS management console rendering. The AWS management portal is designed for basic tasks such as creating virtual private clouds, network subnets and launching EC2 instances. Yet this may not be enough. AWS, to their credit, has built 35+ individual services, offering a truly robust platform for delivering complex application architectures. This requires more sophisticated management than you’ll find in the AWS portal. With complex deployments, comprised of multiple AWS services, you need to be able to monitor and understand how those services relate to provide total Service Assurance.

AWS does also offer the ability to have sessions authenticated to AWS using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) version 2.0, although it probably should be a standard practice rather than a free add-on. Naturally, this free software is a direct rival to VMware’s own.

Notwithstanding these points, we assume that AWS has thought and tested this through – since they dearly believe in the reality of Hybrid IT.

Let the games begin!

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