Service providers have an important role in helping drive the adoption of cloud computing. Part of ensuring that service providers are able to do this requires giving them a tool set that eases the creation of cloud services that their customers can use. I liken it to the automation of end user cloud services that programmatic access and third party tools like enStratus can offer.

VMware sees this and is today rolling out a tool to help service providers cloud products. the VMware vCloud Integration Manager is a solution that sits in-between the service provider infrastructure and their customer deliver tools (CRM, a web front end etc) to map a customer facing product catalog to the actual provisioning of cloud services.

To clarify, VMware has two distinct classes of service provider using vCloud;

  • vCloud data canter providers – abide by a prescriptive architecture and provide a consistent set of core IaaS components. Answering the call for geographically spread enterprises who want to obtain ultimate consistency when using services form disparate vendors
  • vCloud powered – service providers who, while using vCloud, do not commit to a specific architectural model but still support the full vCloud API and the Open Virtualization format for portability

Some context around vCloud as a tool that service providers are using to create their own cloud products. VMware claims the following statistics around vCloud;

•3x partners (87) in vCloud Powered vs. Q4 2011 (31)
•7 major players in vCloud Datacenter
•From no clouds 3 years ago to 94 in 19 countries today
•200% VMware revenue growth in 2011 from service providers

Anyway – back to today’s announcement. Graphically the vCIM sits between customer facing/service tools and the vCloud director orchestration platform;

vCIM

Matthew Lodge, VMware’s director of cloud services, believe vCIM has a compelling proposition;

Service providers are looking to get high-margin cloud services to market as quickly as possible. Until now that involved wrangling manual processes, diverting scarce development resources onto writing glue code and portals, or choosing to implement complex and expensive third-party systems. With VMware vCloud Integration Manager, providers of vCloud services will have the tools they need to automatically provision services, enable reseller partners and speed customer on-boarding.

The key thing that VMware are banking on is the attractiveness to service providers that using a VMware stack brings – they’re banking on service providers being happy to commit to a homogeneous environment and that the environment of choice is likely to be one from VMware. Part of this strategy means that VVMware vSphere, VMware vShield Edge and VMware vCenter Chargeback Manager to automate the provisioning and delivery of infrastructure and associated services. That level of integration starts to get compelling.

Aware that part of the compulsion comes from integration with existing back office systems utilized by service providers, vCloud Integration Manager will provide a REST-based API to integrate various back office systems (CRM, billing, etc.), along with a Web-based administration portal.

The integration manager will be generally available this quarter and priced on a usage-based subscription model.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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