I recently posted a summary of the new features and capabilities available in vSphere 5.5 and I want to follow that with a summary of the new features and capabilities available in vCloud Director 5.5.
However, before we talk about what’s new in vCloud Director 5.5 I recommend you first read Mike Adams recent post discussing the new vCD product strategy that was announced at VMworld 2013. This post has some important information that everyone working with vCloud Director should be aware of.
With that, I’m excited to announce these new vCloud Director features as there are some very cool new capabilities being introduced with the 5.5 release. I want to stress that this list is just a summary. For additional information be sure to check out the new VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal iPad app where you will find several recorded demos that show most of these features in action. In addition there are also some nice click-through demos available online. Both the Mobile Knowledge Portal app and click-through demos were created by VMware’s Technical Marketing Group and provide a wealth of information not just on vCloud Director but the entire vCloud Suite. We’re actively working to add more content so even if you’ve played with it in the past, be sure to revisit and check out the recent additions.
New Features of vCloud Director 5.5
Note: The ability to enable Guest OS customizations from within the vApp template was removed late in the release. Unfortunately, this happened after the demos and white paper were completed. Please ignore this feature, I am working to remove references to this feature where I can.
Limit Access to Shared Catalogs – with vCloud Director 5.5 you can now limit the organizations that are allowed to access shared catalogs. This provides added security by enabling organizational admins to restrict access to their shared content.
Catalog Publish and Subscribe – vCloud Director 5.5 introduces the ability to publish catalogs, allowing them to be shared with external vCloud Director instances. Published catalogs can also be password protected for additional security. Once published, catalogs can be subscribed to by remote vCloud Director instances. When a catalog is subscribed to the vApp templates and media files are copied from the publisher to the subscriber where they are made available, in a read-only capacity, to organizations at the remote location.
Catalog Versioning – starting with vCloud Director 5.5 all vApp templates and media files stored in the catalog are assigned a version number that is readily visible when viewing the catalog. This version number is automatically incremented each time the item is updated. This helps users track updates to items in the catalog without having to rely on creative file naming.
Support for uploading any type of file – along with the automatic versioning, users can now upload any type of file to the catalog. This includes things like spreadsheets, XML files, PowerCLI scripts, vCenter Orchestrator workflows and vFabric Application Director blueprints. This facilitates the sharing of files between organizations as well as across vCloud director instances.
Customize Hardware Settings –with vCloud Director 5.5 you can now customize the CPU, memory and hard disk settings during vApp deployment. This helps reduce the number of vApp templates that need to be maintained in the catalog by allowing a a single vApp template to be used to deploy common vApps with unique hardware settings.
NIC Hot Add and Remove - with vCloud Director 5.5 you can now add and remove Network Interface Cards to and from running vApps. This feature compliments the disk hot add/remove feature available in vCloud director 5.1 by eliminating downtime associated with adding and removing hard disk and NICs to and from your running VMs.
vApp Clone with Memory State – with vCloud Director 5.5 you can now clone running and suspended vApps to include capturing the memory state of the active VMs. These cloned templates can be saved in the catalog and used to quickly reproduce workflows and duplicate error conditions.
Deploy vApps Directly to/From the VDC – vCloud Director 5.5 allows you to import OVA/OVF templates directly into the Virtual Datacenter (VDC) without having to first instantiate an interim vApp template in the catalog. This helps improve disk space utilization in the catalog by eliminating the need to create temporary vApp templates when importing and exporting vApps.
OVA File Support – vCloud Director 5.5 now recognizes OVA files as a valid format when importing and exporting vApp templates. You no longer need to use the ‘ovftool’ to first convert the OVA to OVF, or have to first import the OVA into vCenter before you can import into vCloud Director.
CentOS Support – CentOS is now a supported operating system for hosting the vCloud Director Cell. This provides a free operating system alternative for hosting the vCD Cell.
Chrome Web Browser Support – Google Chrome is now a supported web browser for accessing and managing your vCloud Director instances on windows, linux as well as Mac OS X.
Mac OS X Support - Users can now manage their vCloud Director instances from computers and laptops running Mac OS X, this includes the ability to access virtual machine consoles.
As you can see, a pretty nice list of new features and capabilites coming in this latest release of vCloud Director. Again, be sure to check out the VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal and new click-through demos. You can also read about these features in the“What’s New in vCloud Director 5.5” white paper located on the vCloud Director home page.