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vCloud Director has become VMware's second most important product after vSphere, and it is central to the vendor's vision of virtual data centers running entirely on software.
Yet few people outside the VMware ecosystem understand what vCloud Director is and what it does. That’s a problem for VMware and a potential roadblock to its cloud computing ambitions.
With Tuesday's launch of vCloud Suite 5.1, VMware is looking to get customers better acquainted with vCloud Director by bundling it with vSphere and its other management, security and storage products.
Steve Kaplan, vice president of virtualization and cloud at Presidio Networked Solutions, Greenbelt, Md., describes vCloud Director as a cloud management platform that abstracts virtualized resources and makes them available to users through a self-service catalogue. vCloud Director's built-in automation can handle time consuming IT tasks -- such as configuring a network -- in minutes.
All three versions of vCloud Suite 5.1 -- Standard, Advanced and Enterprise -- come with vCloud Director, and Kaplan expects that strategy to drive increased usage.
"VMware is going to force vCloud Director everywhere, and that is going to force the channel to learn it," he told CRN. "Customers are going to get it in the [vCloud Suite 5.1] bundle, and they're going to want to know how to use it and what to do with it."
VMware is selling vCloud Suite 5.1 as a single product SKU, and it is also giving vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus customers a free upgrade to vCloud Suite 5.1 under a promotion that runs through the end of the year.
Scott Miller, director of cloud and virtualization at World Wide Technology, a Maryland Heights, Mo.-based solution provider, is pleased to see VMware ditching its previous piecemeal approach to selling cloud infrastructure products.
"The problem with selling all those things a la carte is some customers decided they don't need things like chargeback, for example. Putting them in a suite will make it easier for the VMware channel to sell," Miller said in an interview.
Brad Maltz, chief technical officer at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based VMware partner, sees vCloud Suite 5.1 as a services opportunity that will drive vCloud Director into the IT mainstream.
"People have been holding off on implementing vCloud Director for many reasons," he told CRN in an interview at VMworld earlier this month. "The vCloud Suite will remove the barriers from a cost perspective, but not some of the other barriers to vCloud Director adoption."