After leaving VMware and VCE, I founded DoubleCloud Inc. While working with many of my clients, we found it’s really a pain point for people to use vSphere Web Client which is quite slow and based on obsolete Flash technology. The old vSphere Client is a lot better in performance and usability, but VMware stopped upgrading it with new features.
With both cases, people have an even bigger issue: limited scalability due to the vCenter capability. VMware vCenter itself is a great product with rich features, but it’s not built to scale from more than 10 years ago. I can talk more about this from the architecture and implementation point of views. The consequence is that if there are more than one vCenter (most clients we work with do have many), you then have to login into their GUIs one by one. It works but not as efficient as it should be.
Lost VMs or Containers? Too Many Consoles? Too Slow GUI? Time to learn how to "Google" and manage your VMware and clouds in a fast and secure HTML5 App.
Would it be nice to have one “super vCenter” so that you can manage everything in a single pane of glass?
There could be multiple approaches to solve this problem. VMware had a hack feature called Linked Mode which allows one client to connect to multiple vCenters. In the back end, all the vCenters are still the same, but to the users it seems they are in the same GUI. On paper, this shallow integration should work. In reality, I heard too many issues out there, not to mention the limited number of vCenters it can include.
We had come up with a new idea to fix both the GUI and scalability issues in one shot. In our approach, we create a server that connects to as many vCenters as you have, and collect data to our database. Instead of showing the same hierarchy as VMware GUI, we decided to use “Google” approach so that we can keep the GUI simple and clean, but still handle very large scale of vSphere deployments. Another benefit is that we can create a brand new Google like GUI with latest Web technologies like HTML5, Angular JS, SPA, etc.
To make this approach to work, there is a very important requirement: the data MUST be in sync with ALL the vCenter servers of ALL versions. Here is where our years of VMware API expertise come to play. We’ve made our database up to date with all vCenters with up to 1 second delay. For example, if you power off a virtual machine from any vCenter, the page for the VM shows the new power state immediately in our database and GUI. So do other attributes and properties.
This real-time sync brings in another big benefit: most of the interactions are now with our server and all the vCenter servers have much lighter workload from user interactions. In that way, a vCetner server can have more cycles to handle more hosts, thus perform better.
In other words, we not only scale well ourselves, but also help vCenter to perform and scale better.
For the versions of vCenter/vSphere, we’ve seen customers running different versions of vCenter in production. So it’s a must for the “Super vCenter” to support heterogeneous environment. Again, our API expertise made a different. We support all the vSphere versions from 4.0 to 6.0.
With that in mind, we’ve been working hard in the past year to turn it a reality. Today it’s ready for us to release the first version. We’d like to thank many beta customers from various companies who worked with us with great feedbacks. You can find some testimonials from them on the product page.
The final product is a simple OVA of 700MB in size (about 3 minutes to download). Deploying and configuring it should take less than 10 minutes. The only times we saw longer time were because either there are too many vCenter servers to include, or passwords were forgotten. In one case, a beta customer added 36 vCenter servers in a row. That took for sure more time than just a few minutes.
For more people to have chance to try the product, we’ve set up a free download of the product for a limited time. Please feel free to give it a try and share with the community.
Here are a few links of the product:
1. Product page: http://www.doublecloud.net/prod_vsearch.php
2. Short introduction video (1m41s): http://www.doublecloud.net/prod_vsearch.php#video
3. Screen shots: http://www.doublecloud.net/prod_vsearch.php#screenshots
4. Download page: http://www.doublecloud.net/downloads.php