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Tag Archives: blueprint

Journey to PaaS: How Application Director Is Changing How Customers & Partners Deliver Software

Less than a year ago we announced the availability of the first vFabric Application Director release, where we took a bold new approach to provision workloads on Cloud Infrastructure.  It was an inventive solution to a problem most people hadn’t realized was an issue yet. By separating apps and infrastructure in the provisioning process, we could drastically simplify operations and actually make organizations more nimble, more agile.

This week, we announced the next major release of Application Director.  Over the course of the past year, we have seen tremendous responses from our design partners, early adopters and overall in the market to the approach we are delivering. Komal Mangtani, our engineering director who is building Application Director, first outlined this approach in her post ‘Creating Your Self-Curating Application Platform’ back in August.  Essentially, we are using a completely declarative, model-driven method for service provisioning, which means it is agnostic of the underlying configuration script or the infrastructure it is running on.

Automation for any process is expected to speed things up, and reduce errors. By abstracting this into the model-driven approach, we get a few more benefits:

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Deploying a Cassandra Cluster with Application Director

While vFabric Application Director supports a variety of products out of the box (mostly vFabric) and a growing number of products on the Cloud Application Management MarketplaceBETA (like Puppet Integration), it is easy to extend Application Director to support additional applications. Let’s take a look at how to use Application Director with Apache’s open source database, Cassandra. If you are new to Application Director, you might check out this 5-minute explanation. Otherwise, this post will show you how to automate the provisioning and set-up of a Cassandra cluster with Application Director in two main steps: 1) creating the catalog service and 2) defining a blueprint. Then, we will look at an example.
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VMware @Zendcon Oct 22-25 in Santa Clara, CA

VMware will be at Zendcon next week!  Of course, there will be content covering PHP best practices, architecture, design, and development. As well, a key theme this year will be around cloud-based technologies.  Komal Mangtani, VMware Engineering Director, will be presenting a session about Application Director and Zend Server on Tuesday, October 23rd, from 5:15p to 6:15p.

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How it Works: VMware’s Own Internal Self-Service Cloud

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One of the hottest new products in the vFabric portfolio is vFabric Application Director.

Many at VMware are excited about it simply because of what it means to our everyday work life. Earlier this year, we published a story on “How VMware IT Reduced Provisioning Time by 80% Using vFabric Application Director and More.”

Now that number is up to 90%. Here’s an overview of what the business workload lifecycle management implementation looks like under the hood.

As shared in the earlier post, our goal was to automate the end-to-end application life-cycle management in a private cloud and eventually across the clouds. Automation by definition speeds things up and makes them less error prone, but in this case, it also meant that VMware’s IT organization could decouple itself from the everyday operations of the app and product teams it serviced. This split between IT and DevOps is a goal for many organizations today who are looking to be more agile, save money and maintain strong IT governance.

To achieve it, VMware IT automated several key processes across organizations including:

  • Cloud & Catalog Management
  • Workload Blueprint Design
  • Workload Automation
  • Self-service Portal
  • Change Management

Naturally, we looked first to eating our own dogfood and built these processes on top of several VMware products including VM Studio, vCloud Director, vFabric Application Director, vCenter Orchestrator and Service Manager.

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Creating your Self-Curating Application Platform

In my previous post, I shared the engineering thoughts behind Application Director and how it is a strategic solution for IT to get ready for PaaS. We talked about the basic strategy around 3 main tenets: any app, on any cloud, and supporting the complete app lifecycle in cloud environment. At VMworld this year, I will be talking about evolution in our how VMware plans to take this aApplication management strategy to the next level and allowing DevOps to self-curate their own apps on any cloud they want.

Last week, we shared our vision for how the Cloud Operating Model is transforming IT and apps teams—how it is evident that the team managing infrastructure will be invisible to the team managing applications. In fact, this is not a new model for users in the cloud today. As an example, the respective teams powering Bluelock public vCloud or Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure are not within the reach of the system administrators running apps on them. However, while there is an organizational division between the responsibilities of infrastructure management and apps, the DevOps movement is bringing closer the vertical silos around app development and app operations. Continue reading

The engineering story behind vFabric Application Director: Enabling any app anywhere

Recently, VMware announced vFabric Application Director product to help deploy applications on public and private clouds. I have had the privilege of leading the engineering team that delivered this product, and am proud that we were able to build a tool that is truly open to the cloud, including all the application types and deployment locations that companies will want to service. Application Director meets not only current workload requirements that run within VMs, but is also open to enable future application stacks like Django, Ruby on Rails, NodeJS as well as noSQL and SQL databases. Likewise, it is open to deploy a variety of apps on variety of platforms—both public and private, including popular locations such as amazon and openstack. Most developers will recognize that building a product that is so flexible is not a trivial matter. However, we felt that not locking users into a single app stack or cloud environments was critical in order to not hinder application development. Giving developers the freedom of choice for application stacks while helping them keep their applications abstracted enough to land into the right production ready environments has been our guiding principal.

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Application Director in 5 Minutes

The Problem

As architects, developers of software, and managers of IT infrastructure, we spend quite a bit of time (and often frustration) installing operating systems, setting up applications and components, and configuring them. These activities can be time consuming, tedious, manual, and error prone.

Application Director's Purpose and Key Concepts

Enter VMware vFabric Application Director. The key purpose for Application Director is to automate the provisioning of infrastructure and applications so it happens faster, with fewer errors, and with less headache. If you’ve ever used a standard catalog of parts, you’ll get the idea immediately because Application Director stores information in a visual representation called a blueprint. What’s in a blueprint? Basically, a blueprint includes everything you would use to build, configure, and deploy a server or group of servers to build out your application. Blueprints define all the components like the operating system, virtual machine templates, web server, application server, database server, monitoring software, packaged software, EAR, SQL, or WAR, etc.  All these components are available to drag and drop onto your blueprint’s canvas from a standard catalog. Once the core building blocks are in place on your blueprint, you can further tailor your application build plan by including dependencies, policies, and configurations.

About the Demo

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