Building the Best in Class Private Cloud: (3 of 4) The Cloud Management Platform

This is part 3 of the article series about how to build the best in class private cloud. The structure is:

  1. Components which build the private cloud
  2. Automate your infrastructure of compute, storage and network for the private cloud
  3. Cloud Management Platforms and how they relate to the infrastructure
  4. The right people and processes bring your private cloud to life

Here I explore aspects around cloud automation which help you derive more value from your infrastructure.

The Cloud Management Platform is about IT Service Automation

Your Cloud Management Platform is the face of your private cloud. People access the cloud through its user interface. You might view it as the business card of your IT infrastructure. Under the hood this is all about virtual machines, applications and IT services. A good cloud management platform takes care of VM life-cycles, application and IT service roll out and operations. It also provides self-service capabilities for end users. You get cost management and control for all types of applications which keep the business running. This may include the DevOps-related technologies and continuous delivery. Last but not least cloud management has to consider that IT departments often provide resources on-premise and off-premise. VMware built its vRealize Suite for the cloud and provides the best in class solution for these tasks.

A Private Cloud requires a Cloud Management Platform

A Private Cloud requires a Cloud Management Platform

Of course you need to do more work like integrating the system into existing monitoring or ticketing systems. But you need to do this, anyway, regardless of infrastructure type and automation system. The image shows how cloud management sits on top of compute, storage, and network infrastructure. The infrastructure is the foundation for your cloud. However, the properties of your infrastructure determines the effectiveness of your cloud management platform.

Next I will explain why an automated SDDC infrastructure is the best foundation for your private cloud.

Automated SDDC infrastructure is important

Cloud Management Platforms are all about automation. And automation is easier when you have a homogeneous infrastructure, and when you avoid architecture and configuration drift. Leveraging VMware Cloud Foundation is a great way to achieve this. It natively integrates VMware’s known flagship infrastructure solutions vSphere, vSAN, and NSX. SDDC Manager is a part of VMware Cloud Foundation and automates infrastructure operations. This automation replaces manual tasks when you configure, patch, or upgrade your infrastructure. This is exactly how you lower risks and avoid configuration drift.

It can be very easy to integrate VMware Cloud Foundation with your cloud management platform. You use the well known APIs and apply existing cloud automation in addition to the benefits of VMware Cloud Foundation. This story illustrates how things work together: An IT team used VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Orchestrator and a 3rd party cloud management platform. When I asked them how long it took to integrate VMware Cloud Foundation into their cloud management platform they told me: 15 minutes. How was that possible? Well, they took the IP addresses of the vCenter Server in VMware Cloud Foundation and entered them in their existing automation system. They did not need to adjust functionality, because the APIs they used have not changed.

Better Together

You can use VMware Cloud Foundation with other cloud management platforms. VMware vRealize Suite works on other infrastructures. However, if you combine the two you can build your best in class private cloud.

The final ingredient for the best in class private cloud is the right set of people and processes. I’ll explore this in the final article of this series.

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