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Management Integrations on the VMware Solution Exchange – 2014 retrospective

2014 was yet another bumper year for VMware Solution Exchange with 256% YOY increase in total number of content views and 240% YOY increase in total number of content trys (proxy for download). Customers and Partners continue to see the tremendous value in creating and consuming content, eventually helping in deriving greater value from the management products. Just to give you an idea on how the content is consumed, here is a snapshot of our activity this past year:

blog_picThe Top 4 content types (Content Packs, Application Blueprints, Orchestrator Plug-ins and Advanced Management Packs) are almost even across all four vRealize management products (Log insight, Automation, Orchestrator and Operations).

We are also beginning to see the increased activity around community content that we launched towards the end of 2014. As always we are open for suggestions at vRealize-Community-Content@vmware.com.

Looking forward into 2015, we see more exciting changes coming up for Solution Exchange that will give Partners, Customers and Developers much richer user experience in discovering, consuming and managing the content.

I look forward to meeting some of you during VMware Partner Exchange 2015 (PEX) at Moscone Center, San Francisco on February 3.  As a reminder you can look at all of the VMware, Partner and Community content on the Solutions Exchange.

VMware Enables Rapid Development at SAIC

by Rich Bourdeau

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) SAIC Logois a leading technology integrator that provides full lifecycle services and solutions in the technical, engineering, and enterprise IT markets.  They needed a rapid development platform for creating differentiated solutions offerings for their diverse customers.   They leveraged VMware’s Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) and vRealize Suite™ cloud management platform to manage their hybrid cloud environment.  This solution dramatically reduced IT service delivery times thereby, improving developer productivity and allowing SAIC to be more responsive to their customer’s needs.

This video interview of Colby Holloway, VP of Cloud Computing at SAIC (4 Min) will give you great insights into how VMware’s software defined services, public cloud offering, and cloud management software helped transform SAIC’s software delivery process.  A summary of their story is provided below.

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vRealize Automation – Accelerating Application and Infrastructure Delivery

by Rich Bourdeau

  • Is getting new Applications to market quickly and reliably still taking too long?
  • Does your IT staff feel overburdened?
  • Is IT meeting the demands of their customers?
  • Is IT perceived as a business enabler or roadblock?

vrealize-automation-video

Watch the above video to see how VMware vRealize Automation customers achieve:

  • 80-95% Service Delivery Improvement Gains
  • 20-30% CapEx Reductions
  • Replace Applications Faster with Greater IT Control

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vRealzie Code Stream – Leveraging Existing Release Automation Tools and Processes

by Rich Bourdeau

Regardless if you are looking to implement agile development, continuous Integration and continuous delivery process or just need looking at ways to delivery releases faster and more reliable you will need to explore how you can improve the efficiency of some of your siloed, manual automation processes.

Code Stream - Release Pipeline

vRealize™ Code Stream™ helps organizations that have a Continuous Delivery or DevOps initiatives become more productive.  It is an application release automation solution that allows developers and operations teams to release software more frequently and efficiently, all the while leveraging their investments in existing developer and operations tools.   Code Stream integrates with continuous integration, test and repository solutions to push new software automatically from development and test to staging and production environments, saving the time and errors typically associated with manual procedures and hand-offs.

How Code Stream Release Automation Works

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Announcing the Availability of vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in for Puppet

by Rich Bourdeau

IT departments Puppet Logouse a lot of different approaches to deploying and configuring OS and application software.  Some clone machines with the software pre-installed, Some use Operating system tools like Windows WIM Imaging or Linux Kickstart, and others use configuration management software tools.   If you use Puppet configuration management software, either the open source version or the enterprise version available from Puppet labs, you now have another option to help simplify and automate the delivery of infrastructure and application services.

Invoking Puppet from vRealize Automation

vRealize Automation  accelerates the delivery and ongoing management of infrastructure, application and custom IT services across multi-vendor private and public clouds infrastructure.  The NEW vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in for Puppet simplifies the process for invoking Puppet to deploy and configure software as part of provisioning managing or decommissioning a vRealize Automation service.

vRA Puppet Integration

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VMware-Based Private Cloud Helps Apollo Education Group Accelerate Access to Online Learning

by Rich Bourdeau

With VMware’s help, Apollo Education Group now offers their multiple institutions of higher education a reliable, scalable private cloud environment to support the delivery of massively-scaled online learning.

Private Clouds and UniversitiesEducation

Earlier this month I shared with you the story of how the University of New Mexico used vRealize Automation to Fast-Track IT Service Delivery.  You might be surprised at the number of educational institutions deploying private cloud services.

Typically its larger companies with thousands or even tens of thousands of machines to manage that have been early adopters to deploy automated cloud services.  That is because deploying and managing the sheer numbers of desktop or server machines is virtually impossible without automation to help accelerate the process.

Although with some exceptions most universities do not have the same scale as these larger companies.  They may only have hundreds of machines vs thousands of machines, but they have another attribute (rate of change) that drives them to deploy private and public cloud services.

In addition to the applications that run the business part of education, each department within the university is constantly building and tearing down compute resources for labs, projects and other activities required by both students and professors.  The frequency of change and the need to get access to resources quickly has caused IT departments at universities to be on the leading edge of private cloud deployments.

Apollo Education Group Accelerates Access to New Online Learning ToolsApolloGroup

Apollo Education Group, Is the company behind Western International University, University of Phoenix and a number of other global educational institutions. They are another example of how automating the delivery of application and infrastructure services helped them deliver faster access to online learning services.

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Why Accelerating Application Release Delivery is key to “Business Agility”

by Rich Bourdeau

Business Agility” is probably one of the most over used marketing terms hyped by enterprise technology companies.  Business Agility copyWhen companies say they want to become more agile what does that mean?  In most cases getting faster at provisioning infrastructure and applications is not what they mean by becoming more agile.  Getting faster and more efficient at these specific tasks is just the means to the end.  That end is delivering value to their customers.  For companies that rely on technology, new and updated applications are the engine that drives business opportunity and competitive advantage.

For these companies “Business Agility” means getting faster and more efficient at the application delivery process.   In recent years, many companies have implemented agile development processes with continuous integration and smaller more frequent releases.  While developers are getting faster at turning out code, getting that code through all the different stages from development and into production remains a huge challenge for most companies.  Manual processes that worked OK with 9-12 month release cycles can’t stand up to the demands of quarterly, monthly or even more frequent releases.

Release Pipeline single

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Managing a Software Defined Data Center

X86 virtualization has been around for more than a decade. We have now many first-hand experiences on the ramifications of virtualization in the data center. It has broken the boundaries between many infrastructure silos. The boundaries between the server team and the rest of the teams (storage, network, security, Windows, Linux, BCDR, management) have become blurred. For example: virtualization has eliminated the network access switch and the distributed virtual switch has hundreds of ports, making it the largest switch in the data center by port count. The diagrams below show that the Infrastructure component team must band together and reduce the internal siloes. I also draw each team smaller, because each will have less people. 10K physical servers virtualized into 500 ESXi host certainly will require less people. Each person will be a lot more experienced as the infrastructure becomes integrated.

Virtualized Data Center

Virtualization has also impacted the relationship between the Infrastructure team and Application team. The shared services nature of virtualization means the application team becomes a customer. The relationship between Developers and Operations is also impacted. In fact, this has resulted in the DevOps concept, where the two teams work seamlessly as one. A similar, emerging concept is “Operations Engineering”, an idea worth exploring as it moves Engineering deeper into the world of Operations. In the diagram above, there is now a formal SLA, depicted by a thick red line.

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Integrating vRealize Automation with ServiceNow

by Rich Bourdeau

Cloud management platforms which automate the delivery of IT services are not standalone applications.  In order to automate the deliver an IT service, cloud management platforms need to interact with existing infrastructure, tools and processes.  One of the top five external systems customers ask VMware to integrate vRealize Automation (formerly vCloud Automation Center) with is their existing service desk system.

Integration requests fall into two categories:

  • Calling Service Desk systems from vRealize Automation to generate  a work order ticket or update a CMDB
  • Requesting vRealize Automation Services from  your Service Desk solution

Third party service desks software is available from a variety of vendors including BMC, CA, HP, and IBM.  One of the most frequently requested third party service deskServiceNow Logo software that we get asked to integrate with is from ServiceNow.   VMware and its partners have created a bunch of integration examples, vRealize Orchestrator workflows, and plug-ins that can be used to accelerate integration between vRealize Automation and ServiceNow.  This blog tries to summarize some of the options available, but If you are aware of others, please drop me an email and I will be happy to update this list.

Note: These examples are specific to ServiceNow, but the techniques and even some of the workflows can be modified to integrate with other service desk solutions.

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vRealize Automation Fast-Tracks IT Service Delivery at University of New Mexico

by Rich Bourdeau

Sound Familiar?   UNM_Logo
Prior to deploying VMware vRealize Automation it took the University of New Mexico about 20 minutes to create a virtual machine, but about 3 weeks before someone could actually use it.  That is because that was just one of about a hundred manual steps divided across six groups that needed to be performed to make that virtual machine functional.

The University of New Mexico was like many VMware customers they had virtualized a large percentage of their Infrastructure.  While virtualization had cut the delivery of a new server machine down from months and many weeks to a few weeks and maybe even a few days, they still could not keep up with the demands of the different departments within the university.  If this sounds familiar, read on to see how the University of New Mexico is now faster and more efficient at delivering IT infrastructure services.

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