vCloud Director and V-Commander are both solutions that are designed to help companies move past plain ole virtualization. With the latest release of vSphere 5.1, those licensed with vSphere Enterprise Plus will have the option, for a limited time, to get a free upgrade to the new vCloud Suite Standard that includes vCloud Director 5.1. Having already used V-Commander I asked myself should I start looking at vCloud Director? Both products bring the promise of self service automated provisioning of VMware vSphere virtual machines templates but is one better than the other? Here is what I have found out by some spending time with both products.
First off, I may as well get this out of the way right now before going further in comparing these two products. They are not comparable! Again, they are not comparable products! I say this because there seemed to be some interest in knowing when I tweeted about this awhile back. Let’s break down what both products can offer.
vCloud Director – Delivers a complete software-defined virtual datacenter with the ability to pool, abstract and automate datacenter services like storage, networking and security plus provide multi tenancy .
vCloud Director is built to give you the ability to create the foundation of a true private, public and even hybrid cloud environments that can be used for single or multi-tenant use. This also includes the ability to separate systems and services on secure private networks, load balancing features and more. This does not include by default any additional performance monitoring, charge back, or central management for your current vSphere virtual machines. There are some additional solutions that can be bought to extend the functionality of vCloud Director so everything is not included.
V-Commander – A simple to install solution that provides self service provisioning and automation, multi VMware vCenter environment management from a single pane, capacity and performance analysis, plus charge backup and IT costing.
V-Commander on the other hand will give you the means to manage all of your current vSphere virtual machines, policy controls, charge back, some additional performance information and the ability to setup self service automated provisioning of single virtual machines (version 4.5.4). Every thing that you can get with V-Commander is included so there are no additional components to buy. The self service automated provisioning is not what I would call true cloud functionality like you can get from vCloud Director, OpenStack, or CloudStack but it does take you future than just server virtualization.
Both solutions really on there being a vSphere environment that includes vCenter servers and esx hosts.
vCloud Director needs:
- vCloud Director server (per vCenter)
- vShied Manager server (per vCenter)
- V-Commander server
The installation and setup of vCloud Director is pretty involved and truly borders on the line of painful. I would at the moment say this solution is not something you’re going to just download, install, and setup for production use without getting tons of lab hours in. There are a lot of moving parts with vCloud Director which adds complexity to the solution but once you get it, you’ll see that the complexity turns into a more scalable solution than V-Commander. You will also get an additional level of networking and security for multi-tenancy use cases that V-Commander does not offer.
On the other hand V-Commander is very easy to install, setup and get familiarized with. In 15 – 30 minutes you can have V-Commander up and managing 20 plus vCenter servers and all there virtual guests. To setup the self service side will take a little longer but in less than an additional hour, you can have services (vm templates) setup with workflows for automated provisioning. I happen to use this product for production in a globally dispersed environment and I will say that given the size of this environment I first used V-Commander to manage posed some challenges. Most have since been resolved but the simplicity in its design makes me feel that it’s not as scalable or flexible as vCloud Director. One main thing with having global V-Commander users is that there is only a single V-Commander server and if your users are in remote locations with high latency, their experience with this web based application may not fair well.
So, overall I think both products are great. I’m still not so sure that vCloud Director is what most enterprises or small business really needs, especially those that already have vSphere environments. But I do see how it fits cloud providers very well. Not to sound bias but I do think V-Commander would fit more environments better than vCloud Director but that’s just me and my two cents. Don’t just take my word for it. Try them both out for yourself.