With the recent purchases of a couple key companies within the cloud orchestration space I felt it was time to write about it. The companies I am referring to are Cloupia, who was purchased by Cisco in December and Dynamic Ops, who was purchased by VMware in July. In my opinion these companies had such a huge head start on where both of their parents were at the orchestration/cloud layer that there really wasn't a way for the parents to catch up without the purchases. Thankfully they picked some bright stars to buy.
We know that both Cloupia and Dynamic Ops had great products, but the question now is; what are Cisco and VMware going to do with them now that they have them? The genius of both products is that they started out as workflow engines and then the companies built the workflows we see today on top of those engines. They made it extremely easy for the rest of us to install their product into our environments and begin allocating VMs within hours and not days/weeks. Translating business workflows and processes into these products is a no brainer.
Cloupia's primary product was named Cloupia Unified Infrastructure Controller or CUIC. CUIC has the ability to orchestrate not only at the virtualization layer across multiple hyper visors, it can also orchestrate across the physical layer. This includes servers from HP, Cisco, and Dell; storage from NetApp, HP, EMC, and Hitachi; and network gear from Cisco, Dell, and HP. They have charge back, self service, analytics, and both North bound and South bound APIs all built into one simple appliance. For Cisco the primary challenge will be in how they integrate with CIAC. While CIAC has been a great product for Cisco, it is extremely difficult to get setup and doing what you need to do. The secondary challenge will be to maintain the relationships with the 3rd party vendors to keep the hardware orchestration rolling. It is, in the famous words of the "big" IT tool vendors, extensible. My hope is that the Cloupia team is inserted at a high enough level within the organization that it doesn't get killed or maimed to the point of uselessness.
VMware released Dynamic Ops as vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) on December 13th. vCAC is another great workflow engine that has the ability to orchestrate at the virtualization layer across multiple hyper visors as well as the physical server layer. vCAC is missing the the physical storage and network pieces today when compared to CUIC. It has a basic charge back mechanism, awesome self service, some performance monitoring, and uses South bound APIs. While at GA time it's lacking some of the features others have, I think, in the long term, VMware has a great chance to integrate all of their current management products into vCAC for seamless management across the full IT spectrum. For VMware the challenge will be to make vCloud Director what it is really good at again, development workflows, and not have vCD be the end all be all cloud management platform. VMware needs to give vCAC the ability to plug into and use vShield, et al via APIs and not hold vCAC back from what it could be. Just think about it, most of the management products VMware has been most successful with have been parts of the IT workflow. e.g. SRM, vCOps, etc. vCAC is simply another workflow engine just waiting for these things to be plugged into it. Rename vCD back to Lab Manager and just turn everything over to vCAC and call it a day. Simple right?
Now I'm sure that somebody's feelings are going to get hurt by this post. It was not my intention to hurt feelings here, I just simply want to see some great products/solutions continue and thrive. Sometimes it makes the most sense for vendors to fall on their sword and self-canabilize things that haven't worked out and go with what does. If these vendors roll these products out the right way they both are going to be successful. Now we just have to wait and see what happens.
P.S. Have a happy new year and a great 2013!