by Rich Bourdeau

Cloud Self ServiceThe NIST Definition of Cloud Computing defines five essential characteristics of cloud computing solution.  Number one on that list is on-demand self-service.

“On-demand self-service  – A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.”

The service catalog is the user interface for requesting IT services.  Service catalogs provide a list of IT services available to resource consumers.  In that aspect vCloud Automation Center service catalog is similar to other vendors.  However, vCloud Automation Center’s service catalog is unique in the following ways:


Delivers Personalized Business Relevant IT Services

Personalized ServiceThe goal of cloud automation is to simplify, standardize and automate the process of delivering IT services. While standardization is fundamental to delivering repeatable high quality services, standardization does not have to mean one size fits all.  For example: development, test, and production may all need the same application, but how it is provisioned, how much resources each gets,  what service level they receive and what management operations owners are allowed to perform vary wildly between groups and even individual consumers within groups.

What differentiates vCloud Automation Center is the granularity of it’s governance policies.  This level of specificity allows vCloud Automation Center to leverage standardized delivery processes while at the same time customize the services available to different users or groups of users as well as control what actions they are allowed to perform against their resources.



Delivers a “Full Service” IT CatalogFull Service
Through a self-service portal consumers should be able to request and manage a variety of IT services.  Many competitive solutions are limited in the types of services they can provide, focused primarily infrastructure services, for their infrastructure, or very prescriptive service delivery processes that cannot easily be modified.

vCloud Automation Center provides a full service catalog of multi-vendor, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications and custom IT services.  These services are available through a single catalog with common governance and control. vCloud Automation Center’s Advance Service Designer and a library of vCenter Orchestrator workflows and plug-ins makes it much easier to deploy custom IT services or adapt out of the box service automation to meet the unique needs of your business.

Enables full lifecycle managementFull Lifecycle Mgmt
Many vendors tout that they have full lifecycle management when what they really have is provisioning and decommissioning and not much else in between.

vCloud Automation Center  delivers not only initial provisioning of infrastructure, application and custom IT services, it also provides a portal that allows resource owners to perform full lifecycle management of their services.  In addition to simple tasks like scaling resources up or down to meet changing business needs, vCloud Automation Center also automates the delivery of other day-2 operations like snapshot management, archival and automated reclamation of inactive resources.  In addition, custom lifecycle commands can be added using Advanced Service Designer and VCenter Orchestrator plug-ins and workflows.  This allows administrators to rapidly add any day-2 action to the list of tasks authorized users can perform. Finally vCloud Automation Center automates the release automation process keeping application development, test and production environments in synch.

Displays pricing info to help influence consumption behaviorCloud Showback
Chargeback or showback is another one of the one of attribute that defines cloud computing according to the NIST definition.  Many cloud automation vendors provide a chargeback report that IT can use to deliver a bill to the business at the end of the month.  However, in order to effectively influence consumption behavior users and resource approvers need to see the prices of the services at the time they request them.  That way cost can be factored into their purchase decision.

In addition to chargeback reporting,  vCloud Automation Center provides full cost transparency through the product.  Users see the costs of the services they are requesting.  As resources are adjusted up or down they also see the cost impact of their decisions.  Approvers also see the costs of any exception requests that require approval.   Leveraging VMware’s ITBM Standard Edition, vCAC administrators can compare the cost of their in-house services with comparable pubic cloud offerings from Amazon, Microsoft and VMware.  These cost displays within the service catalog and ability to compare private to public cloud costs go far beyond the simple chargeback reporting provided by most vendors.

Learn more about VMware’s Cloud Automation solution

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