VMware vRealize Automation 7

Motor for the Cloud

Cost Overview Included

In addition to managing technical deployment of VMs and services, administrators must keep an eye on the financial aspects. IT departments are always encouraged to ensure cost transparency and thus to be able to justify their spending. To help admins calculate the total cost of the cloud and allocate these costs to the services to be deployed, VMware bundles the "vRealize Business" costing product with the Standard Edition of vRealize Automation.

In the Standard Edition, vRealize Business can be rolled out as an appliance and connected to vRealize Automation. After completing the configuration, administrators can handle pricing in the catalog in relatively simple ways. Cloud management portal users thereby benefit from cost transparency for the provisioned resource and can determine the total cost for themselves at any time.

Interaction with Other VMware Products

Establishing an enterprise cloud infrastructure is a major undertaking. Although vRealize Automation already implements a large feature set, interplay with other products is essential to meet all customer requirements. VMware, especially the current version, makes a genuine effort to facilitate integration with other in-house products and thus keep the integration overhead manageable.

The integration of VMware NSX is exemplary; it ensures a quick and easy approach to dynamically deploying network components. This includes the production of entire networks as well as the automated deployment of load balancers, as well as defining firewall rules to control network communications. Unfortunately, the current version still lacks a mechanism similar to Amazon's autoscaling, which lets you add more nodes and use a load balancer to scale out applications. For this, VMware points to its roadmap.

VMware has a solution for the issue of monitoring and capacity planning. vRealize Operations can monitor both the vRealize Automation infrastructure and the workloads generated by consumers. The built-in reporting engine in vRealize Operations also supports quick creation of reports on the cloud's performance and load state.

Besides monitoring, VMware offers LogInsight, a dedicated log monitoring tool. Again, integrating this with vRealize Automation is child's play. This means that both the vRealize Automation infrastructure and the deployed VMs can quickly be covered by the centralized log monitoring.

Total integration with other VMware products rounds off the good impression, and it is easy to see that VMware is keen to coordinate the individual products well. This is a massive benefit, especially over comparable products, where integration can be a major headache caused by missing interfaces or different versions.


Earlier versions of vRealize Automation meant that VMware was already a market leader in cloud management, and this has been massively improved with the current version 7 (see Table 2). The advantages of the solution lie mainly in the large feature set, which keeps possible extensions and modifications manageable for most businesses. If you rely on your own developments, vRealize Automation supports you with impressive extension options and tools, such as vRealize Orchestrator.

Table 2

ADMIN Magazine's Verdict

Feature Evaluation
Provisioning 7
Self-service catalog 9
Configuration options 8
Extensibility 10
Internal cost accounting 8
Product suitability Ideal for companies that already have experience with automation and are looking to provision an enterprise cloud platform.
Limitations Restricted for companies that have not thus far relied on VMware virtualization. Although vRealize Automation has broad support for third-party systems, integration with VMware products is the key focus. Not for infrastructures in which only a few new services need to be provisioned.

The product's architecture is complex because of the history of Windows, but VMware has managed to keep the operating overhead in limits with good tool support. Also the integration with other VMware products is convincing – whether this be NSX, vRealize Operations, or even LogInsight. Meanwhile, a genuine ecosystem has also formed on the market centered on VMware's cloud solution. One thing holds true for any implementation of a cloud management platform, however; do not forget the concept design overhead required to implement the product in a larger environment.

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