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Cloud Automation Requirements from the Field

By Jung Hwang, Enterprise Solutions Architect, VMware

Jung HwangIT organizations adopt private cloud solutions for two main reasons: to gain agility and to improve efficiency of the services they offer. VMware’s vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) solution offers workload lifecycle capabilities that help IT organizations automate and centrally manage IT tasks that were traditionally done manually. Although vCAC has robust out-of-the-box (OOTB) capabilities that address many of these manual processes, enabling business and IT logic on top of the OOTB capabilities has helped many of our customers to reach their goals and realize the true value of automation. Below we’ll explore three requirements we have seen enabled on top of the vCAC OOTB capabilities.

Generate Custom Host Names
Although this seems to be a straightforward process, maintaining consistent host names can be challenging, especially in the private cloud environment where the virtual machine provisioning is automated without any IT staff’s involvement.

Within vCAC, administrators have some ability to add a prefix and a suffix to host names, but many customers need more custom fields, such as the environment (Prod/Dev/QA), type (Application/Web/DB), location (NA/EMEA), and incremental numbers (00X). (For example, a host name could be PROD-SQL-NA-001.) Every customer has a unique naming standard – because of this, VM host name assignment should be automated in vCAC to further minimize the manual intervention.

Active Directory Organization Unit (OU) Placement
Related to the host names issue, vCAC can integrate with Active Directory and will place VMs in a default computer object container within Active Directory. Our customers often have complex Active Directory Organizational Unit (OU) structures. Based on the host name assigned by vCAC, customers want to place the VM in the specific Active Directory OU. This will minimize unnecessary steps required to associate automatically provisioned VMs by vCAC. Moving VMs from the default computer object container to other containers can be as easy as a drag and drop operation, but when 10s or even 100s of VMs are provisioned via a self-service portal, placing a VM to the right OU based on the host name becomes an important task.

Configuration Management Database (CMDB) Integration and Configuration Item (CI) Management
Another common requirement is integrating vCAC with CMDB. Traditionally, updating and maintaining CIs were manual tasks, but they would be extremely difficult to do manually in a private cloud environment when VMs are provisioned and decommissioned based on the policy. The consumer of the vCAC solution will also be able to make changes with VM specifications so the integration with CMDB is another important area. Since the VMs will be requested via vCAC, vCAC can capture the VM specifications to create and update CIs in CMDB. The integration and automation can be enabled during the provisioning (when VMs are initially deployed), management (when VM specifications are changed by the owner), and decommissioning (when VMs are deleted).

The key to success and further identifying automation opportunities is understanding the customer’s end-to-end processes and translating them to new, private cloud processes. As we listen to our customers we can bring them more of what they need.


Jung I. Hwang is an Enterprise Solutions Architect and a member of VMware’s Services organization. Jung is responsible for creating solution roadmaps and execution plans with VMware’s products and services portfolio to solve customers’ business and technology challenges and initiatives.

Top Tips and Take-Aways from VMworld 2013

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since 23,000 forward-thinking IT professionals converged in San Francisco for VMworld 2013. With VMworld Barcelona just around the corner, we asked a few of our consultants to reflect back on highlights from San Francisco and offer advice for how to get the most out of the event.

What nugget of information from VMworld did you take back to your work?

“Pay special attention to NSX and vSAN because VMware is changing the way IT delivers networking and storage services.” –Jung Hwang

“Automating SDDC is now more than an idea—it’s a reality. It has a huge impact on the Business Critical Applications space.” –David Gallant

“Almost anything can now be virtualized: monster VMs are now commonplace; systems that previously required an entire Unix platform to run can now be accommodated in a single Virtual Machine on VMware vSphere 5.x.” –Michael Webster Continue reading

Build It Right The First Time – 3 Steps for Agile Private IaaS

By Jung Hwang, Enterprise Solutions Architect, VMware

Imagine you are aJung Hwang general contractor building a house for a family. Without meeting them, you decide it should have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. When the family moves in, you have to begin renovating immediately—they have four teenage daughters and a baby on the way.

We all know that adding another bedroom, another bathroom, and doubling the garage is more costly and time consuming than it would have been to build the house to fit the family in the first place. So why do IT organizations so often make the same mistake when building out the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment?

I recently saw this with a large financial institution that deployed their infrastructure to support an initial set of low complexity infrastructure use cases. Everything went fine until they started adding other IaaS use cases, including Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Big Data as a Service (BDaaS). To accommodate larger, faster, low latency, and high IO workloads, they were forced to scale up their existing blade servers but discovered their NFS storage environment wasn’t sufficient to support the new workloads. They ended up redesigning their underlying hardware platform, including compute, storage, network, and security.

It seems obvious that a lot of “renovation” could be saved by understanding which services will “live in the house” first. So why do IT organizations often fail to employ that foresight? Continue reading