Enterprise IT is typically divided into functional groups such as server, storage, and networking teams. Although this structure allows staff to focus their expertise in specific areas, it creates IT silos. In order to deploy new applications, decisions must be made across these silos which have a tendency to inhibit communication. IT silos contribute to the following problems:
• Lengthy provisioning times
• Inability to quickly allocate additional capacity
• Delayed or absent lifecycle management activities
• Inefficient & inflexible resource reallocation
VMware Cloud Foundation introduces VMware SDDC Manager along with a new construct known as a Workload Domain to address these challenges. A Workload Domain is a subset of capacity (CPU, Memory, Storage) that is allocated and made available for hosting infrastructure and application workloads. Each Workload Domain includes a number of vSphere hosts based on performance, availability, capacity, and network requirements, and includes a dedicated vCenter Server instance, a vSAN datastore, and NSX. SDDC Manager allows a Datacenter Administrator to quickly create, expand, patch/upgrade, or delete Workload Domains eliminating costly delays associated with IT silos. Let’s examine at how VMware Cloud Foundation addresses the challenges created by IT Silos.
A common provisioning request that IT departments service today is for infrastructure. Infrastructure resources (CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network) are required for the deployment new applications. It is the responsibility of a Datacenter Administrator to coordinate the efforts between the IT silos managing those resources which typically results in delays. Customers report that these delays stifle innovation.
Workload Domains configured by SDDC Manager are an integral part of VMware Cloud Foundation. SDDC Manager allows datacenter administrators to rapidly deploy a Workload Domain consisting of compute, storage, and networking resources that meet customer performance and availability requirements in a matter of minutes.
Many internal IT departments aren’t agile enough to quickly service requests for additional capacity. I recently worked with a customer who developed an application that became incredibly popular. Due to its popularity additional compute resources were required to keep up with the demand during peak hours. Unfortunately, the customer reported that it took two weeks for the IT department to fulfill the request for additional capacity. As a result, end-users experienced response times so lengthy that the application was rendered unusable during peak hours.
VMware Cloud Foundation’s SDDC Manager allows customers to rapidly expand an existing Workload Domain allowing customers to access additional resources to meet performance and availability demands in a matter of minutes.
Many IT departments delay patch management activities or forgo upgrades altogether citing compatibility challenges and the inability to properly test upgrades. Postponing patch management activities can leave systems open to security vulnerabilities and prevents customers from taking advantage of new software features.
IT silos force many customers to rely on cascading upgrades – whereby each silo has to conduct upgrades on a specific schedule (e.g. this month we will upgrade networking, next month storage, and the following month compute). This uncoordinated approach typically results in compatibility issues which may create unplanned downtime.
VMware provides pre-validated software bundles (for both patches and upgrades) that have been tested and validated by VMware to ensure compatibility. VMware Cloud Foundation automates these Lifecycle Management activities. Datacenter administrators can simultaneously upgrade or patch VMware Cloud Foundation compute, storage, and networking resources thereby reducing maintenance windows.
Many customers report that once resources have been requested they are rarely returned. Idle resources that could have been reallocated to fulfill other requests instead may remain idle. In cases where IT departments are informed that previously requested resources are no longer required – most report that returning or repurposing these resources is risky and too time-consuming. As an alternative, many IT departments simply choose to purchase new resources to fulfill requests.
SDDC Manager provides a Datacenter Administrator with the ability to delete Workload Domains. Once a Workload Domain has been deleted, the returned resources can be used to create new Workload Domains or expand existing ones. This ability to repurpose previously allocated resources when they are no longer required helps customers reduce CapEx costs.
VMware Cloud Foundation helps IT automate IT, providing capabilities such as provisioning, expansion, deletion, and lifecycle management. For more information on VMware Cloud Foundation, please visit https://www.vmware.com/products/cloud-foundation.html