A few suggestions for VMware to make vCloud Director better

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in vCloud, VMware | 5 comments

I’ve been building a list over time of things that have frustrated me about vCloud Director (vCD) or items that I thought would make it better. I’ve been writing this post for awhile and a couple of recent projects brought up some new items and made me realize its time to publish this. I am in no way bashing VMware or vCD by creating this post. I think vCD is a great product and for customers that can take advantage of its features should be looking at deploying it. I am simply trying to suggest improvements and communicate feedback from customers. My goal is to see vCD grow into the best product possible and dominate the cloud market. I also realize that most cloud platforms are pretty immature and that vCD is just a revision 1.5 product so it will improve over time.

But I see VMware pouring a ton of resources and pushing development of VMware View pretty fast over the last 18 months and would also like to see that same type of aggressive development on vCloud Director.

1. Support for Multi-site vCD deployments – What I am hearing is customers want to manage their private cloud from one portal. So for example an Organization within vCD could have several Org vDCs that represent geographically dispersed data centers. No need to vMotion or move workloads around just be able to provision from one portal and manage vApps from a single portal. What might be a good step here is separate vCD deployments that can work in Linked mode much like vCenter can today.

2. Further integrate vCenter Orchestrator with vCD – This one is a big one for me and heavily requested by customers. What this means is when deploying a vApp there should be an easy way to kick off an orchestrator workflow as part of the provisioning process. This is needed to achieve a lot of the orchestration that customers are looking for. I know there are things you can do today with AMPQ, but I’m talking about real integration that much like other products offer today.

3. Edit OS disk size – this is not a huge one but the ability to edit the size of the OS disk would be good. If using Linked Clones I know your going to be limited but if customers are not using fast provision then this would be helpful.

4. Better looking customer portal – This is something that I hear often from clients. Sure the portals are functional but they are still very infrastructure looking and not all that friendly to end users. Clients are looking for something more Web page looking and easy to understand. I as a techie person can find my way around with ease but I’m used to working with this kind of stuff. The Amazon AWS portal is nothing sexy but its link based and pretty easy to understand for new users.

5. Ability to allow disks of a vApp on different datastores and storage Tiers – This is also a big one for me and customers. A good example for this would be an SQL server, the common config would place the OS, temp DB, logs and DB on different disks. These disks could be on different datastores and also be on different Tiers of storage. Currently VMware recommends not mixing tiers of storage within a provider vDC. This is because you cannot control which datastore a vApp will get deployed on and performance could vary based on where the vApp landed. So I have a couple of ideas that might help with this. First one is when deploying the vApp have an option to automatically place the disks for you much like today, but if you unchecked the auto option the user would have the ability to manually select the datastores for each disk in the vApp. The second option would be to use Profile Driven storage options new to vSphere 5 for each datastore within the provider vDC, and when importing the vApp you could assign a storage profile for each disk of the vApp and this would be followed when deploying new vApps from this template. Typically when people want to offer self service deployment they are trying to make the process easy with few decisions, but they still want to offer the ability to do advanced configs.

6. Integrate vShield App with vCloud – This is of medium importance but growing fast. What I mean here is from the organization portals the users should have the ability to config vShield app security groups and firewall rules for the groups. This way after deploying a vApp they could secure it and open the proper ports. This is something that is possible in Amazon today and customer are looking for this. I would say that companies deploying private clouds are not that interested in this but service providers and customers that have servers that are internet connected want this ability. Today there is similar function like this possible for the limited version of vShield Edge that’s bundled with vCD so I don’t think this is out of line.

 

I will be adding to this list as I think of more items or as things come up during discussions with customers. I would also like to encourage others to leave suggestions in the comments or reach out to me with them and I will add them to the list. Hopefully VMware is hard at work on some or all of these items and we will see them soon in future releases.

I tossed in a couple of funny pictures for motivation, now get coding.

 

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

5 Comments

  1. Thanks Brian for taking the time for writing this post. Your point are well taken. 
    As far as multisite I have been leading a research project to better explain what can be done and what cannot be done (with vCD 1.5). The documentation is done and we are looking for a way to post it outside (and we are also discussing the latest supportability details). 

    Can you contact me on twitter? my handle is mreferre. 

    Thanks. 

    • I would be interested in that too!  @jwalsh:twitter 2

  2. Brian, excellent points and suggestions..

    Massimo, I think a number of partners/organisations would be interested in the documentation you mentioned. I hope it gets posted externally for all to see.

    Cheers
    David

  3. i would add another important point : VCD and vshield products to be separated , aka: people to be able to acquire VCD and orchestrator (VCO or not) and manage other networking and security equipment (rather then vshield), then have vshield as optional, i see this coming as a request mostly from security and networking people.

  4. I’ll update this post when we can discuss more publicly that research project. Hopefully by the end of the week. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: