An alternative to a soon to be unsupported VMware Lab Manager


For those of you who are still using vCenter Lab Manager the time is growing near till it’s End of Life (EOL). A couple years ago VMware announced that it has discontinued further major releases of the product. Taken from the VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix Lab Manager 4 will end general May of this year.

Product Release

General Availability

End of General Support

End of Availability

vCenter Lab Manager 4.x

07/13/2009

05/01/2013

06/01/2012

And let’s not forget that Lab Manager 4.x only supports these ESX host versions:

  • ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 5
  • ESX/ESXi 4.0 Update 1, Update 2, and Update 3
  • ESX/ESXi 4.1 Update 1

Hopefully this news doesn’t come as a shock, especially if your currently using Lab Manager. VMware has positioned its vCloud Director product as a potential replacement for Lab Manager. vCloud Director offers many of the same features as Lab Manager but gets much deeper into Cloud Computing and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Current customers are not obligated to rip and replace their Lab Manager solution with something else but not having support for a product that could be running a large environment of important virtual machines may pose a big risk.

While vCloud Director can be used as a Lab Manager replacement it’s definitely a more complex solution to setup, configure and maintain which is probably why VMware has put together the vCloud Automation Center Accelerator Service (vCAC) and the vCloud Director Jumpstart. The vCAC is where VMware Professional Services will come in and get you up and running quicker with vCloud Director than you could do it on your own. The vCloud Director Jumpstart is geared more to training. I can’t speak to all situations but assume that there’s a cost for both. As stated in their vCAC service brief document and the vCloud Director Jumpstart data sheet, you can contact your local VMware representative for more information about pricing, scope and technical prerequisites. If you’ve already invested in Lab Manager and you’re not concerned with the complexity and potentially higher support costs, there may still be a free upgrade to vCloud Director available. But you’ll have to verify what opportunities are available to you, if any, with your VMware representative. Don’t get me wrong, vCloud Director is not a bad product or solution. I’m only saying that it may not be the right tool (solution) for everyone. On the other hand, while most may think that vCloud Director is the only alternative solution in town you may want to look into V-Commander from Embotics.

Embotics V-Commander 4.6 offers a large range of features and functionality out of the box without all the complications of a solution like vCloud Director. This latest version of V-Commander has made some important changes to its automated provisioning and service catalog, which makes it a good replacement for Lab Manager. V-Commander 4.6 now brings the ability to configure multiple VMs in a single service. Multiple VMs can also be requested, approved and deployed in a single service request because applications are not always as simple as a single VM. Many applications consist of multiple tiers and services like a with web application that may require an IIS server or two on the front end, a Tomcat server to run application logic with a MySQL database server on the backend for storing data. vApps and even unmanaged components like a monitor can also be configured as services.

V-Commander can provide and provision single and multi-tiered services from a service catalog that you’ve customized and configured. Users make their requests from V-Commander, picking and choosing the services they want from the Service Catalog as if they were shopping for goods online. The costs for services are also shown to the user as it’s been requested. Then once the request has been submitted and approved the services are automatically provisioned based on how you setup the workflows. And the user can automatically be giving access to the services (VMs) once the deployments are completed. And just about any administrator can do this without professional services or engineer that has installed, setup, configured and manages VMware vSphere.

“””Embotics is offering all VMware vCenter Lab Manager users an upgrade program that replaces your VMware Lab Manager licenses with Embotics V-Commander licenses, all for what you are paying now for maintenance and support for Lab Manager.This is a net zero cost to you, with the added benefit of ongoing support for your test and development environment as well as the rest of Embotics V-Commander’s private cloud automation capabilities.Already migrated to VMware vCloud Director or vCloud Automation Center (vCAC/DynamicOps)?No problem!The Embotics Upgrade offer applies to VMware customers that have already migrated over to vCloud Director or vCAC for the purposes of lab management.””””” – More Info can be found here.

 

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