On June 25th the annual ITQ Technical update session took place.
The main topic of the session was the Software defined Datacenter (SDDC). Three subtopics were covered: Software defined performance, Hyperconverged storage and Automation using vCAC and vCO. I had the honor to present both the first and the last topic. The presentation about “Software defined performance” was a repeat of the session Dennis and I did at both the VMUG Netherlands and the VMUG Italy conferences. You can read about it here and you can even watch the video here
My second presentation covered vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Orchestrator. We think these will be important components of your software defined datacenter. After all, what use is any “software defined” product if you still have to configure the software manually? Wouldn’t it make the life of the IT department easier and more interesting if you had a robot that would do all the routine jobs for you? You would have time left to fix problems, select new solutions and talk to your customers while the robot goes around and deploys VMs, registers them in AD, creates CMDB records, write firewall rules and so on.
The good news is: If you’re a vSphere user then you already have this robot. You just have to tell it what to do and put it to work. The robot is called vCenter Orchestrator and it is included in all vShere licenses. It is even installed together with vCenter. Contrary to what a lot of vSphere users think vCO is not just able to handle vSphere tasks for you. No, it can do a whole lot more than that. For example, there are plug-ins available to communicate with Active Directory, SQL, AMQP, Service Now, Cisco UCS, REST APIs and a lot more. And if there is no plug-in available you can also start SSH or powershell scipts from vCO. This makes vCO a very versatile robot for you datacenter.
To prove this point I gave a demonstration with vCO where vCO first simply put a few VM in a DRS group. Then we showed the REST capabilities of vCO by starting a workflow that actually told a robotic arm to pickup some peanuts. Yes, peanuts. Maybe not that impressive but I think it is a good start and it drives home the point that vCO is very versatile. Maybe next time we’ll build a robot that can actually put your servers in a rack.
However, when IT uses this robot you still need IT personnel to tell it what to do. What you ultimately want is a situation where the business can tell the robot what end result they expect. Then the robot goes out and does the job. Of course the robot needs some rule to play. vCloud automation center is the product providing these rules. It provides a catalog to the business and uses the services of vCO build whatever the business requests. Which could be anything from a Linux VM to a cup of peanuts.