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Solving the Learning Curve: How VMware Accelerates IT Service Delivery Yet Again

Have you ever been asked to get a new application environment up and ready for a new initiative and been told, “this really should have been done yesterday”? Usually when this happens, the application they are looking for requires some technology you know nothing about, like an Oracle WebLogic Server. Of course, just to stress matters more, you do not have any WebLogic subject matter experts in-house to help you out. So, you are stuck with cryptic installation docs and maybe a useful YouTube video or two. Wouldn’t it be great if you could leverage a website that was similar to Apple’s App Store? A marketplace where you can download and deploy that environment at the click of a button, and avoid the whole learning curve of setting it up? As a bonus, you can trust that the WebLogic server you are deploying was set up by subject matter expert whose optimized the setup already to run in the cloud? If that existed, your job in IT would be a lot easier, right?

As of this month, your job can be that easy. On December 3rd, VMware announced the VMware Cloud Application Marketplace as part of the VMware Solution Exchange. The Cloud Application Marketplace provides easy access to best practice application components, services, and even complete blueprints for cloud-ready solutions that can be deployed to any cloud using vFabric Application Director.

With over 30 software vendors, system integrators, and cloud providers like Oracle, Microsoft, Riverbed, and Accenture already on board, your IT department has access to over 100 real world applications you can rapidly deploy, monitor and scale in public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures.

You can take a look at the ever-growing list of partners and solutions here: https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/category_groups/application-management

Being new to VMware, I wanted to try this out first hand. I actually am familiar with Oracle WebLogic application servers, but not confident enough in my skills to get a multi-tier cluster up and running in a short amount of time. Typical deployments like this usually take days, even for those with expertise.

So, I went on the Cloud Applications Marketplace and searched for Oracle WebLogic among the hundreds of solutions already available. With a simple search, I found the Clustered Oracle WebLogic Application Server 12c (Blueprint).

When I got there, I was able to review a ton of interesting and helpful information about the blueprint. I had access to technical specifications, additional resources and support links. Getting this blueprint imported into my vFabric Application Director was as simple as clicking the “Try” button.

From here, all I needed to do was enter the IP address of my vFabric Application Director instance, along with the credentials. I selected “Advanced Options”, which allowed me to address any conflict issues with existing blueprints created by other users. The import page also provided a few key reminders to ensure that I had the appropriate installation packages and licenses for the software and guided me through which properties in the Blueprint I needed to edit to ensure a successful deployment.

Once I hit “Import File”, the blueprint was automatically imported into my vFabric Application Director in less than a minute and was now available to the application teams for easy and fast deployment.

From there, I wanted to see how long it would take me to stage a clustered WebLogic environment. So I selected my newly imported application blueprint, made the appropriate changes to the installation properties in the blueprint, and began my deployment. Within a short amount of time, Application Director turned up the necessary virtual machines in my private cloud environment, installed the appropriate services and applications and executed the necessary configuration activities specific to my private cloud environment. In the span of 20 minutes, I had been able to accomplish what would have taken days for even the most seasoned experts in WebLogic.

To see my experience, watch this video:

To see for yourself or to learn more about how you can leverage vFabric Application Director and the VMware cloud Application Marketplace, visit these links:

vFabric Application Director: https://www.vmware.com/products/application-platform/vfabric-application-director/overview.html

VMware Cloud Application Marketplace: https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/category_groups/application-management

About the Author:  Pete Cruz has over 20 years of extensive experience in network, server, and application management, including performance, fault, configuration, and service level management. Pete has held senior level product management and marketing positions at Cabletron, Opticom, Smarts, Empirix, Voyence, EMC, and SevOne. He has published numerous articles and is a frequent speaker at industry events.

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