vCloud Director Review
Although deployment is simple, I suggest taking security and licensing compliance into consideration when doing so.


Valuable Features

The real multi tenancy and distributed administration for vDCs is the goal of this product, which combines consuming resources as a service with a great governance model for different customers.

Suppose you need to build one or more virtual datacenter, and meet the demands of customers, supplier and departments. In a traditional architecture (vCenter and esxi hosts) you need hard integration work to answer this problem.

vCloud director solves this problem weaving computational resources, storage and networking with consumption requests from companies, departments and individual operators in a dynamic and safe way.

Improvements to My Organization

We combine this architecture with existing vDCs with limited business impact (because vMotion could aid to limit or eliminate downtime). Now selling VM, request demo or trying an environment is very simple: just a few clicks to go!

Improvement in IT departments regarding the delivery of virtual datacenters for Business, Government and Captive area (holding headquarters and associated companies). Hospitals and Governments could use this because data is under their control, with very low risks for stability and security: governance still remains with the cloud consumer.

In my scenario I'm using 2 vDCs (marked as gold and platinum) in 2 different places and allow an organization (our customer) to use parts of these vDCs to stretch VM distribution across a datacenter, make DR on-demand (and without up-front costs) and respond quickly to business demands.

Use of Solution

I've been using this solution for 3 years.

Deployment Issues

Deployment is very simple, but I suggest a little design and hardening phase to meet security and licensing compliance.

Stability Issues

Product is mature enough to support huge loads: the underlining technology is the best in class to meet many customer needs. The product is very stable.

Scalability Issues

Product is born to be scalable, because it should be used in different modes (cloud provider and private cloud environment).

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

People say that VMware customer service is very helpful and quick to solve issues. In my life I've use this service only for administrative issues (contracts, portals, licensing); this is because documentation, their knowledge base and community always are enough for problem solving.

Technical Support:

Official documentation is very good, and could give you skill to deploy, run and improve your vCD system (VMware always work hard for this phase).

Initial Setup

Setup was quite straightforward, because VMware always provides great documentation for deployment, configuration and troubleshooting.

Implementation Team

I deployed and set up this system in-house (my team staff: virtualization area), because this is a company core-business, and it is the minimum to do to learn and solve problems quickly.

ROI

Our ROI was reached considering 2 factors:

- A service provider model built on VMWare contracts and many resource delivery models, cost are as-a-service and bound to the VM vRAM: licensing cost is 1:1 to the assigned resource. Considering 50% of infrastructure cost per VM in 3 years, 10% of VMware cost and 10% of infrastructure cost, break even could be in 1.5 years.

- In both private and public scenarios many administrative tasks are solved by on-demand models that could be elastic and efficient. Considered a manpower reduction of about 40% and a potential reduction of 99% for provisioning tasks. IT Virtual administrator staff finally do the real job: troubleshoot, provision and do only heavy activities with less effort.

One more important thing: vCloud works with his chargeback product to show and take many costs under control.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

As mentioned above, the service provider model costs are calculated considering:

- physical environment cost (up front cost or by loan)

- licensing cost 1:1 to vRAM

- setup requires no more than 1 week.

Other Advice

Before installing vCloud director, I suggest:

1. Check HCL and compatibility matrix between vCloud director, vSphere and vCloud network and security (ex: vShield manager)

2. Use vDC resources only for vCloud director purpose, don't mix traditional vSphere and vCloud director usage.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: VMWare Partner Service Provider

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