Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement

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1 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement white paper BROUGHT TO YOU BY SKYTAP

2 2 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement Contents Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement... 3 The Power and Utility of Lab Manager... 4 VMware s Recommendation vcloud Director... 5 Other Options for Lab Manager Replacement... 6 Skytap Cloud as a Lab Manager Replacement... 7 Spend Less and Do More... 9

3 3 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement On February 14, 2011, VMware announced their decision to discontinue additional major releases of vcenter Lab Manager. Organizations that are currently using vcenter Lab Manager are not obligated to do anything the Lab Manager perpetual license will remain valid even after support for the product comes to a close. However, continuing to use an unsupported product can be problematic, as investment in new product features will end and there will be no direct support if significant problems arise. Another option is for organizations to revise their existing, on-premise virtual lab infrastructure and acquire either vcloud Director or a competing product. However, this approach can be expensive and time-consuming. Implementing an alternate, in-house virtual lab solution means investing again in the required software licenses and physical hardware. There are also related costs that often come into play, such as user training and support. Given the rapid innovation in public and hybrid clouds, the best option for many Lab Manager users will be to migrate the on-premise, virtual lab infrastructure to a cloud environment. Outsourcing to the cloud has the lowest total cost of ownership, and it also allows the IT staff to avoid most of the complexities involved in creating and managing a new virtual lab environment. As with any solution for migrating away from vcenter Lab Manager, migrating to the cloud can present some risks and challenges, as we ll outline in the following sections. However, most of these issues are avoidable by choosing a reputable cloud service provider that offers solution components to support the various workloads you intend to migrate.

4 4 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement The Power and Utility of Lab Manager Lab Manager has been valuable to many companies, but in light of the recent announcement, there are some things to consider. For example, VMware vcenter Lab Manager only runs on top of VMware vsphere 4, and is incompatible with vsphere 5 and the newly released vsphere 5.1. Core functionality of Lab Manager includes:» Rapid provisioning of new virtual machines based on template images.» An image library of virtual machines.» Self-service capabilities for users and groups who have access to the lab environment.» The ability to automate set-up and tear-down of lab environments containing multiple virtual machines. These Lab Manager features are ideal for groups of developers, QA testing, training companies, and other virtual lab scenarios. As an aside: When looking for alternatives, it s also important to note that Lab Manager isn t the same thing as VMware View. While View does offer templates and rapid provisioning, it lacks self-service and doesn t allow developers, for example, to control their own lab environment. Instead, View is used to provide a single virtual desktop to an end user. IMAGE STORAGE LIBRARY RESOURCE POOL INFRASTRUCTURE VIRTUAL CENTER VIRTUAL MACHINES MICROSOFT ACTIVE DIRECTORY LAB MANAGER LAB ADMIN LOCAL TEAM REMOTE TEAM Fig. 1: Typical VMware Lab Manager Infrastructure

5 5 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement VMware s Recommendation vcloud Director When VMware announced vcloud Director (vcd), many Lab Manager users expressed confusion, because while vcloud Director had similarities to Lab Manager, it was also missing a number of features that Lab Manager included. USER PORTALS CATALOGS SECURITY USERS VM VM v vshield VIRTUAL DATACENTER (GOLD) VIRTUAL DATACENTER (SILVER) PROGRAMMATIC CONTROL & INTEGRATIONS PUBLIC CLOUDS vcenter SERVER vsphere vcenter SERVER vsphere Fig. 2: Typical VMware vcloud Director Infrastructure Benefits in replacing Lab Manager with vcd:» Continuance with a VMware solution through purchase of a VMware enterprise license agreement (ELA).» Built on the reliability of VMware vsphere.» Ownership (assuming you run vcd on premise) with a level of control and security.

6 6 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement Considerations in replacing Lab Manager with vcd:» As there are no Lab Manager to vcd upgrade tools, it s likely you will have to build a new virtual infrastructure using the vcloud Suite 5.1 and then migrate individual virtual machines.» As vcd is designed to create a private cloud, there s much more to it than just a replacement for your virtual lab infrastructure. This added complexity can create training issues and management complexities.» With the amount of infrastructure, software licensing, and administrative complexity required, the total cost of ownership (TCO) must be analyzed. vcd provides a VMware solution, but may not be the simplest path. It is definitely worth the time to explore some additional options. Other Options for Lab Manager Replacement Instead of replacing Lab Manager by building your own private vcd environment, you might also consider vcloud service providers who offer infrastructure cloud solutions. The premier providers in this area are the vcloud Datacenter Providers. vcloud IaaS offerings run vcd in the public cloud, and thus, they are a valid replacement for Lab Manager. Many public infrastructure cloud offerings could be a potential replacement for Lab Manager; however, you want to ensure that the solution you choose has a strong feature set. For example, if you are using this solution for virtual training, do they offer options where you can quickly and easily provision new labs? Can an instructor monitor all student screens? Can you make a student s screen mirror the instructor s for training? There is a lot to consider, so be sure you are asking all of the right questions to ensure you are choosing the right cloud offering for the job.

7 7 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement Skytap Cloud as a Lab Manager Replacement In a recent blog series, VMware Expert David Davis discussed his use of Skytap Cloud to build virtual lab environments: If you are an existing VMware Lab Manager user, with VMware discontinuing the product, there is no better time to find a replacement. And when you are researching replacements for VMware Lab Manager, I recommend evaluating Skytap Cloud. There are good reasons why infrastructure public clouds are becoming more popular. The flexibility, agility, and scalability give companies (and IT Pros) what they need. Certain providers are ideal options for Lab Manager replacement because they offer the features needed by trainers and developers. Skytap runs VMware vsphere but also offers a unique cloud software automation and management layer with virtual lab features. Administrators, developers, trainers, and those being trained all have access to the Skytap Cloud self-service interface and virtual desktops through a web interface. Benefits in replacing Lab Manager with Skytap Cloud:» Save money on VMware licenses as there is no need to upgrade vsphere, vcenter, or install vcd to the latest version.» Eliminate costs associated with maintaining your own physical servers and/or a complex vcd installation.» Unique virtual lab and training features such as centralized classroom VM templates, class scheduling, SmartClient, quotas, usage limits, and role-based security.» Ability to slowly ramp up and transition usage without having to build a second infrastructure as you would need to do with vcd. Considerations in replacing Lab Manager with Skytap Cloud:» Dependence on an outside service provider.» Risk of trying a new product.» Cost is based on usage, so the TCO needs to be analyzed.

8 8 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement While existing Lab Manager users may have already considered what it takes to replace Lab Manager with vcd, most administrators don t know what it would take to replace Lab Manager with an enterprise cloud service provider, like Skytap. Creating a hybrid cloud may sound complex and it was in the past but on the cloud provider side, this is now a self-service function. Cloud providers have the functionality built in, so users can click, enter basic networking and authentication information, and connect to a company s corporate VPN to permanently connect the public cloud network to an internal network. Within Skytap Cloud, the AutoNetworks feature automates the creation of single and complex multi-tier, networked configurations. Its self-service interface allows users to quickly and easily configure public cloud virtual lab and hybrid cloud networks in just a few clicks. Creating a Hybrid Cloud with Skytap To create a hybrid cloud with Skytap, users take the following steps:» Create a new VPN connection.» Name the remote IP subnets.» Review the configuration.» Test and connect the remote networks to bring up the hybrid cloud. Fig. 3: Enabling a hybrid cloud connection

9 9 Your Guide to VMware Lab Manager Replacement Whether your company has one or many locations, the Skytap AutoNetworks feature allows you to quickly and easily allow the Skytap infrastructure cloud and your company s users and datacenters to work together, as one. Spend Less and Do More Although it is possible to continue using vcenter Lab Manager indefinitely, doing so will eventually mean operating your virtual lab on an unsupported platform. Given the potential consequences of operating with an unsupported configuration and the cost of switching to another on-premise virtual lab solution, most organizations will ultimately be better off outsourcing their virtual labs to a cloud service provider. Migrating to the cloud presents various challenges, but most of them can be overcome by careful planning when choosing a cloud provider. There are many benefits to a cloud environment, which means that an organization can easily end up spending less and doing more than they were when operating under VMware Lab Manager.

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