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VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) is back!

Introducing VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit for Service Providers (vCAT-SP)

The current VMware vCloud® Architecture Toolkit (3.1.2) is a set of reference documents that help our service provider partners and enterprises architect, operate and consume cloud services based on the VMware vCloud Suite® of products.

As the VMware product portfolio has diversified over the past few years with the introduction of new cloud automation, cloud operations and cloud business products plus the launch of our VMware’s own hybrid cloud service; VMware vCloud Air™, VMware service provider partners now have many more options for designing and building their VMware powered cloud services.

VMware has decided to create a new version of vCAT specifically focused on helping guide our partners in defining, designing, implementing and operating VMware based cloud solutions across the breadth of our product suites. This new version of vCAT is called VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit – Service Providers (or vCAT-SP).

What are we attempting to achieve?

What VMware intends to do through the new vCAT-SP is provide prescriptive guidance to our partners on what is required to define, design, build and operate a VMware based cloud service… aligned to the common service models that are typically deployed by our partners. This will include core architectures and value-add products and add-ons.

VMware vCAT-SP will be developed using the architecture methodology shown in the following graphic. This methodology takes real-world service models, use cases, functional, non-functional requirements and implementation examples that have been validated in the real world.

Architecture Methodology


Which implementation models will be covered?

The new vCAT-SP initially focuses on two implementation models: Hybrid Cloud Powered and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Powered. These in turn align to common cloud service models, such as Hosting, Managed Private Cloud, and Public/Hybrid Cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Powered

To become hybrid cloud powered, the service provider’s cloud infrastructure must meet the following criteria:

  • The cloud service must be built with VMware vSphere® and VMware vCloud Director for Service Providers.
  • The vCloud APIs must be exposed to the cloud tenants.
  • Cloud tenants must be able to upload and download virtual workloads packaged with Open Virtualization Format (OVF) version 1.0.
  • The cloud provider must have an active rental contract of 3600 points of more with an aggregator.

This implementation model is typically used to build large scale multi-tenant public or hybrid cloud solutions offering a range is IaaS, PaaS or SaaS services to the end-customers.

Infrastructure as a Service Powered

To design an Infrastructure as a Service powered cloud infrastructure, the solution must meet the following criteria:

  • The cloud service must be built with vSphere.
  • The cloud provider must have an active rental subscription with an aggregator.

This implementation model is typically used to build managed hosting and managed private cloud solutions with varying levels of dedication through compute, storage and networking layers, again offering a range of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services to the end customers.

The vCloud Architecture Toolkit provides all the required information to design and implement a hybrid powered or IaaS powered cloud service, and to implement value-added functionality for policy based operations management, software-defined network and security, hybridity, unified presentation, cloud business management, cloud automation and orchestration, software-defined storage, developer services integration etc.

For more information please visit: vcloudairnetwork.com

Modular and iterative development framework

Modularity is one of the key principles when starting to develop the new vCAT-SP architecture framework. Our modular approach makes it easier to iterate upon, by having smaller building blocks that can be checked out of the architecture, have the impact assessed against other components, updated, then re-inserted in to the architecture with minimal impact to the larger solution landscape.

What will vCAT-SP contain?

VMware vCAT-SP provides the following core documents:

Introductory Documents

Within this section there will be a document map, which details all the available documents and document types that are contained within vCAT-SP. There will also be an introduction document that provides the partners with guidance on how to get the most out of vCAT-SP as a consumer.

Service Definitions

The service definition document(s) provide the information needed to create an effective service definition document. They contain use cases, SLAs, OLAs, business drivers, and the like, that are required to build a hybrid cloud powered or IaaS powered cloud service. The initial vCAT-SP efforts will focus on the hybrid cloud powered service definition, with IaaS Powered following shortly after.

Architecture Documents

The vCAT-SP architecture documents detail the logical design specifics, architecture options available to the designing architect, design considerations for availability, manageability, performance, scalability, recoverability, security, and cost.

Implementation Examples

The implementation example documents detail an end-to-end specific implementation of a solution aligned to an implementation model and service definition. These documents highlight which design decisions were taken and how the solution meets the use cases and requirements identified in a service definition.

Additionally, there will be implementation examples for pluggable value-added services that are developed through the VMware vCloud Air Network. For example, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), these components can be plugged in to the core architecture.

Emerging Tools, Solutions and Add-Ons

This area is not just for documentation, but also allows for the team to capture and store Useful software tools and utilities, such as, scripts, plugins, workflows, etc. and which can be used to enhance a particular implementation model. For example, how my cloud platform can present cloud-native applications, such as Project Photon. The development of these documents / add-ons will be iterative and not aligned to the core documentation releases.

The following figure shows the map of documentation currently planned. This is subject to change.

Document Map

When can I get a copy of vCAT-SP?

We are planning to launch the first pdf-based release of vCAT-SP on www.vmware.com/go/vcat around the VMworld EMEA time-frame, we will be publishing in to web format shortly afterwards… so watch this space!

VMware vCAT-SP will be developed iteratively, with a published road-map. This will be in-line with our major software releases where possible, to ensure there is effective service and solution focused architectural guidance available to VMware service provider partners as close to GA dates as possible.

Who is the vCAT-SP development team?

The Global Cloud Practice – vCloud Air Network team, led by Dan Gallivan, is a team of specialist service provider-focused cloud architects that work throughout the vCloud Air Network within the VMware Cloud Services Business Unit.

The team is a global team with many years experience helping our service provider partners build world-class cloud products based on VMware software. The team also contains five certified VCDX architects and three members of the VMware CTO Ambassadors program.

Over the next couple of months we will be releasing frequent technical preview blogs across the technology domains as we approach VMworld EMEA.


Be sure to subscribe to the vCAT blog, vCloud blog, follow @VMwareSP on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook for future updates.


3 thoughts on “VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) is back!

  1. +vRay

    Thank you sir for the info, it is planned to have printed book and videos about??? If yes, when??, cert will resurrect as well for vCD SP??


  2. Adrian Roberts Post author

    Hi vRay, we dont have any immediate plans to release as a printed book, this is something we may look at with a future release.
    We will be aiming to release some videos by the team discussing vCAT-SP in the coming weeks.
    And yes the vCAT-SP will include guidance around vCD-SP.

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