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Chris Hall

Principal Technical Consultant

PolarCloudsUK Chris LinkedIn Github
Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure 6 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2024 Nutanix Certified Professional - Cloud Integration Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure 6 Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage 6 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2023 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2022
You may have noticed VMware have been busy growing their portfolio of products.

Previously it was simple to understand VMware's software components; you effectively had just the two products to understand:

ESX (replaced by ESXi in later versions) - VMware's Hypervisor - software that hosts and runs your virtual machines

VirtualCenter (renamed vCenter in later versions) - a management application that allows you to manage all of your ESX/ESXi host servers as a single entity, be that as a collection of stand alone host servers or a fault tolerant cluster of ESX/ESXi hosts.

Collectively ESXi and vCenter became known as vSphere.

Fast forward to 2013, and here you have it, VMware software components offerings today.  Also shown is how these components operate together:
VMware Component Integration and Interoperability Today (Click image for larger copy)
So what are all these products and what do they do?  Follows is simple one liner list detailing at a very high level what each VMware component brings to the table.  Click the application names to find out more.

.....oh and I promise to to use the fluffy word (cloud) as little as possible....

vSphere - As discussed, your ESXi and vCenter instances.

vCNS Manager - Used to manage your software defined networking and security solutions (including virtual firewall, VPN, load balancing and VXLAN implementations).

vCloud Director - Used to create multiple virtual datacenters using multiple separate vSphere instances.

vCenter Orchestrator - Used to automate workflows (including virtual infrastructure provisioning) either within or outside of your virtual environment.

vCenter Operations Manager - Used to proactively manage, monitor and drive efficiency into your vSphere and / or vCloud infrastructure.

vCenter Configuration Manager - Used to ensure configuration and compliance management of both your virtual and physical infrastructure.

vCenter Infrastructure Navigator - Used to discover application services, visualize relationships and map dependencies of applications on your virtual infrastructure

vCenter Chargeback Manager - Used to track and provide costings of virtual solutions hosted on shared physical infrastructure.

AMQP (Rabbit MQ) - Used to provide message queueing and handling allowing your virtual infrastructure to interface with a wide range of other software products.

vFabric Application Director - Used to deploy applications in a repeatable, supportable and standards compliant manner within your virtual infrastructure.

vCloud Automation Center - Used to rapidly deploy services (potentially consisting of several individual applications). Also provides client self service portal to allow clients to deploy services on their own.

vCloud Connector - Used to connect your vCloud Director managed virtual datacenters together for  datacenter extension, content sync, unified management and / or datacenter migration.

Site Recovery Manager - Used for automated disaster recovery of your virtual infrastructure.

ISV Backup Application - Independent Software Vendor backup application, typically leveraging vSphere Data Protection (VDP)

So there you have it, and now you know what each application is and what it can be used for in your virtual datacenter, private and/or public clouds.  Just think about it for a moment:

Your VMware admin just became your most valuable asset. 

Why?  Here's why. With the above, your VMware administrator can:

  1. Deploy configure and create fully resilient hardware using Cisco UCS 
  2. Create your new virtual infrastructure using vSphere
  3. Connect your virtual infrastructure using Cisco Nexus 1000v switching
  4. Create your new virtual datacenter using vCloud Director
  5. Firewall and gateway your virtual infrastructure and datacenter using VCNS Manager
  6. Create separate client use and management access VPNs using VCNS Manager
  7. Rapidly deploy industry supportable applications and virtual machines into your virtual infrastructure and datacenter using vFabric Application Director and verify the deployment using vCenter Configuration Manager
  8. Rapidly deploy industry supportable services (consisting of multiple applications based on multiple virtual machines) into your virtual infrastructure and datacenter using vCloud Automation Center and verify the deployment using vCenter Configuration Manager
  9. Orchestrate repeatable maintenance / deployment / day to day operations using vCenter Orchestrator
  10. Monitor, proactively manage and drive efficiency in your virtual infrastructure and datacenter using vCenter Operations Manager
  11. Map dependencies between and mitigate 'pinch points' in your virtual infrastructure and datacenter using vCenter Infrastructure Navigator
  12. Configure vCloud Automation Center to allow your trusted clients to create their own infrastructure
  13. Connect, deploy and migrate to other virtual infrastructure and datacenters using vCloud Connector
  14. Provide automated billing information to your clients using vCenter Chargeback Manager
  15. Ensure rapid Disaster Recovery planning and execution using Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Data Protection

Plus if there is enough time, it's just possible your VMware administrator could sweep the datacenter floor too... if there is enough time.... ....virtually of course....

- Chris