What is vCloud Director?
By Lisa Gecko
As the heir apparent to VMware Lab Manager, vCloud Director (vCD) is the next generation in cloud computing management platforms. For businesses moving to cloud-based solutions via private or hybrid clouds, vCD provides the interface for cloud service providers (CSPs) to offer clients access to their virtual resources at the user end, with significantly less IT expertise required. Put simply, vCD is a very user-friendly virtual management tool within the family of VMware products designed to automate previously rigorous tasks, while providing businesses access to their virtualization infrastructure. While CSPs certainly have IT experts on hand, vCD does make the job of managing VMware services on the provider end much simpler as well.
From a client perspective, one of the benefits of vCD is it should free up substantial IT resources for other endeavors. For example, network configuration, once a time-consuming undertaking can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with vCD. There are a number of automated or near-automated features that vCD brings to the table, all of which free up more time for the IT department to focus on other projects, saving money in the process.
One of the most important advantages with cloud-based solutions is the flexibility a virtual environment offers. Knowing this, CSPs are always looking to provide their clientele with as many advantages as possible. With vCD it is important to understand that this flexibility involves allowing users the accessibility to transform their virtual machines (VMs) in ways that were previously available only to administrators from the provider end of the cloud. For organizations that have capable IT staff the general network administration with vCD should comparatively be a walk in the park to any previous IT workload.
It is also important to understand what a herculean effort it is to provide this kind of self-service environment outside of the CSP without risk of conflict within the entire cloud community. The ability to define custom layers and configure services at this level has heretofore remained entirely in the realm of IT experts, and in this case, VMware administrators. With vCD this flexibility is now available for organizations that wish to have a more hands-on approach to their virtual infrastructure without having to rely entirely on the CSP to carry the water.
For companies that wish to rely more on the CSP for the management of their virtual resources, vCD is a state-of-the-art tool for CSPs to offer an array of cloud-based services that are automatically deployed. Looking at this point fiscally, CSPs will spend significantly less time with configuration and management allowing them to pass on the savings to their clients. Either way, vCD is an incredibly versatile tool that provides any level of collaboration between the CSP and corporation. Businesses that need to move resources and retool network configurations on a regular basis will find vCD to be exceptionally well-designed for that purpose, while companies that would prefer to outsource those responsibilities will be happy to know that vCD can save man-hours on the provider end.