Cloud deployment models have certainly made a comeback in 2016. What started as a mad rush a few years ago to move everything to the “cloud” (if you remember, most people had air quotes around the word cloud in their minds back then) turned into a mass exodus back into the data center a year or so later. Companies have now realized that not all workloads were prebuilt to live in the cloud (private or public), and a more cautious approach was needed to ensure that the workloads were optimized for a cloud infrastructure. This means that there is a need and demand for applications to help manage and administer the overall cloud strategy and deployment, focusing on flexibility and agility across multiple environments. Two of the bigger players in this space are Cisco CloudCenter and VMware Cloud Foundation.

Cisco CloudCenter

Cisco CloudCenter is an application-centric hybrid cloud management platform that securely provisions infrastructure resources and deploys applications to where they are needed – be it datacenter, private cloud or public cloud. CloudCenter focuses on three main areas: model, deploy and manage.

CloudCenter allows IT administrators to create application profiles for workloads that are cloud independent, which brings the focus back to the actual workload and data, not the platform it will reside on. This is not only helpful for the IT administrator but great for DevOps, allowing a way to empower developers to build what they need, but in a structured, more controlled manner that isn’t based on a specific cloud platform.

Once application profiles are created, they can be deployed across the enterprise. CloudCenter supports a number of deployment environments:

  • Data Center Support
    • Cisco UCS Director
    • Cisco ACI
    • VMware vCenter
  • Public Cloud Support
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    • Google Cloud Platform
    • Microsoft Azure
    • VMware vCloud Air
    • SoftLayer
    • Bracket Computing Cells
  • Private Cloud Support
    • OpenStack
    • Windows Azure Pack
    • VMware vSphere/vCloud Director

The Cisco CloudCenter Manager portal is a single pane of glass management of the entire cloud deployment enterprise. It allows administrators to quickly model, migrate and manage application stacks, along with governance control and operational visibility.

VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation is VMware’s unified software-defined data center (SDDC) platform for the hybrid cloud. Like CloudCenter, it can work with on-premises, public cloud and private cloud.

VMware Cloud Foundation is based on three main components: VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX. By including NSX, this allows VMware Cloud Foundation to integrate not only compute and storage resources but also the networking resources into a single layer of software for easy interoperability and deployment of applications.

VMware Cloud Foundation uses a new tool, SDDC Manager, to help automate, deploy and manage application resources. SDDC Manager automates the build process, controlling the installation of software and the creation and deployment of infrastructure resources (clusters, VMs, etc.). SDDC Manager also automates network configuration for physical networking, VLANs, storage networking, etc. SDDC Manager can also control patching and upgrades of the complete infrastructure stack, from vCenter Server down to the cloud-application resources.

VMware Cloud Foundation works well with both application workloads and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), making it a logical choice when also using VMware Horizon. Finally, the Cloud Foundation infrastructure itself can be deployed locally on-premises, or via a number of public cloud partners.

It’s Your Choice for Your Workload

In review, both hybrid cloud management platforms allow for IT administrators to easily move between different architecture deployments, whether it be on-premises data centers, private cloud or public cloud providers. Both allow for a single management interface to help deploy and administer the application resources easily.

The main differentiator between the two of them is the network stack – CloudCenter relies on Cisco ACI and VMware Cloud Foundation is based on VMware NSX. So the choice between one platform over the other probably will hinge on which SDN architecture is being used. As ACI and NSX become more interoperable with each other, even these lines will become blurred. (If the Robin Thicke song isn’t stuck in your head now, congratulations!)

CDW can assist with both of these solutions. Visit our Data Center page or talk to your account manager today for more information.

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