After VMware introduced vSphere about 10 years ago, it’s become one of the most popular server virtualization platforms for many data centers across the globe. Rivals include Hyper-V from Microsoft, Red Hat (KVM) and XenServer from Citrix. Nutanix Acropolis has also gained traction and some IT groups are braving it out with OpenStack—the only open source platform in these contenders.
According to most analysts, VMware reportedly had over 75% of the market share just a few years ago. As VMware’s flagship solution, vSphere comprises all the hypervisors as ESXi hosts that run virtualized servers as virtual machines (VMs). The management server and console used by IT admins to deploy all the infrastructure resources to run all these VMs is called vCenter. The vCenter console provides an admin view of server virtualization across a data center.
Server virtualization will continue to be an extremely vital part of most enterprise IT environments. As most IT shops continue to adopt newer technologies with cloud-native approaches, the deep footprint of workloads on-premises will stay put in many cases. There’s no need to change some workloads without a proper rationalization for re-architecting them to move to the cloud.
For example, many enterprises have found out that a “lift and shift” approach to move infrastructure resources from a data center to the cloud does not typically go as planned. Traditional workloads that use a lot of computing power to execute properly at peak times are not a problem in a data center where IT owns all the resources. In the cloud, the expenses can catch finance departments off guard when the bills start rolling in from on-demand surges that are pay-as-you-go. For more information, see Cost Reduction and Controlling VM Sprawl.
Managing Complexity with vSphere in a Hybrid, Multicloud World
Along with vSphere, all of the virtualization vendors are jockeying for a position in today’s digital era. It’s not uncommon for many larger organizations to have vSphere as their main virtualization solution alongside some of the other vendor technologies. The other technologies could have been introduced either by business units within an organization or from an acquisition from another company. Acquired companies might have a different server virtualization solution such as Hyper-V from Microsoft or one of the others mentioned at the beginning of this post.
In the new era of cloud, a cloud-first approach has given way to not cloud-only. There’s a need for hybrid, multicloud solutions that span both private data center environments such as vSphere and other private cloud virtualization solutions alongside emerging public cloud environments. Recently, the United States Department of Information and Security Administration (DISA) has released a mandate for all agencies to adopt a “Cloud Smart” approach to rationalize which applications need to migrate and which ones should stay in private, on-premises environments. This formalizes the trend and what’s already the mandate in commercial enterprises—competition sorts out winners and losers in the race to have the most effective digital assets to run a business. Technology is the business and making it run strategically is the goal.
Because of the complexity and choices now available, IT admins need to juggle vendor solutions and serve a community of consumers who need infrastructure environments ready to go quickly. They want more cloud-native, agile environments in some cases and more automated workflows for what used to be manual provisioning. VMware provides a suite of solutions on top of their core vSphere components to manage the complexity including it’s cloud management platform that is called VMware vRealize Automation (vRA). The goal is to balance control with agility.
Considering Cloud Management Options
As many organizations consider their vast options for managing this complexity, they might not necessarily want to go with a vendor like VMware that was originally meant to work exclusively with its own portfolio of resources. Introducing another vendor into a VMware-only environment to manage resources seems a bit odd unless that vendor provides ways that significantly help self-service and automation workflows better than vRA.
Here’s a number of key factors to consider before making a cloud management decision that’s suited for hybrid, multicloud agility:
- Self-Service IT—Providing a way to have ready-made IT resources for end users instead of making them wait for someone else to provision or have to have expertise to do it themselves.
- Security—Using a strategy of “least privilege” access for users to only have access to what is needed instead of exposing vulnerability to networks and configurations that could be subject to malicious attacks.
- DevOps—Having the extensibility to DevOps tools for agile, continuous integration, continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines of modern application code that can be deployed anywhere.
- Cost Control—Implementing guardrails for spending so that infrastructure is sized properly, only used when needed, and decommissioned when no longer necessary.
Along with the rivals for data center virtualization, VMware is now facing a more demanding market for cloud-based solutions. Recently, they’ve launched VMware on AWS as a way to keep on top of emerging trends.
At CloudBolt, we’ve always kept up with emerging trends and will continue to deliver that as we release new and exciting features regularly. Learn more about how we can help simplify and enhance your VMware environment in our upcoming webinar.