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By: Matt Sarrel

I was browsing the web this morning and I came across a white paper, VMware vCloud Director: Build Secure Private Clouds to Deliver Infrastructure as a Service. Although this document is geared towards private clouds, it is equally valid in public cloud deployments.

VMware vCloud Director gives customers the ability to build secure private clouds that dramatically increase datacenter efficiency and business agility. Coupled with VMware vSphere, the best platform for cloud infrastructures, VMware vCloud Director delivers cloud computing for existing datacenters by pooling virtual infrastructure resources and delivering them to users as catalog-based services.

VMware vCloud Director is also touted as having the following key benefits:

  • Increase business agility by empowering users to deploy preconfigured or custom-built services with the click of a button.
  • Maintain security and control over multi-tenant environments with policy-based user controls and VMware vShield security technologies.
  • Reduce costs by efficiently delivering resources to internal organizations as virtual datacenters to increase consolidation and simplify management.
  • Leverage existing investments and open standards to ensure interoperability and application portability between clouds.

Let's see what those mean when it comes to actual virtual environment operations.

Preconfigured and custom-built services form the basis of the self-provisioning cloud. In this way, an administrator can configure several core VM's and then allow users to bring them up or down as needed without having to configure them. By removing the step where an admin has to configure a VM, an internal or external cloud can help your business shift gears with respect to IT much faster than the previous paradigm of one app to one server.

Security in VMware vCloud Director does provide control for multi-tenant user environments through policy based user controls (who can do what with what and when) and VMware vShield (think of this as something like a virtual firewall that keeps different environments separate within a big multi-tenant cloud).

I'll skip the bullet point that vCloud Director reduces costs by increasing efficiency. I'm not sure there's anyone left who would argue that virtual environments decrease efficiency, although there's always at least one person willing to argue about anything via Twitter (I'm @msarrel for those who want to start something).

The last bullet point is where it gets really interesting, especially in the context of Virtacore's vCloud offering. Application portability between clouds. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Look at the evolution – first we had apps running on servers, then apps running on VM's on servers, then apps running on multiple servers within a cloud, and now we've got apps running on multiple clouds.

The idea of cloudbursting, where excess load is pushed beyond the internal cloud and out to the external/public when it is needed, is particularly interesting. For example, a sales group might have an internal cloud running CRM and order management applications. At the end of the quarter, when orders are coming in like mad, IT can transparently utilize an external cloud to handle the additional capacity. VMware vCloud Director makes this possible by establishing firewall rules between your public cloud instances and the rest of the world so that only your employees can access your VM's, plus it makes moving and on-the-fly provisioning easier and faster.

This is where I think Virtacore’s vCloud offering is going to get really interesting, because the management interface can be used to cloudburst almost as easily as dragging and dropping.

Matthew D. Sarrel (or Matt Sarrel) is executive director of Sarrel Group, a technology product testing, editorial services, and technical marketing consulting company.  He also holds editorial positions at pcmag.com, eweek, GigaOM, and Allbusiness.com, and blogs at TopTechDog.