VMware announces vCloud Director 5.5

Today is the first day at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco and VMware announced version 5.5 of its management platform for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds vCloud Director alongside of the announcement of vSphere 5.5.

The new capabilities introduced could be resumed as follows (always thanks to Marcel van den Berg):

Content Catalog

This release includes multiple enhancements to the Content Catalog.

  • Limit Catalog Sharing To Specific Organizations: System administrators can now limit access to shared catalogs. Catalogs can be shared to individual vCD Organizations as opposed to having to be shared to all Organizations.
  • Publish and Subscribe Between vCloud Director Instances: Catalogs can now be published allowing users from other vCloud Director deployments to subscribe and share vApp templates. Shared catalogs can be synchronized on an on-demand basis as well as scheduled on a configurable reoccurring basis. The content catalog publish/subscribe feature includes:
  • Improved synchronization performance: vCloud Director pre-exports published catalogs to the vCloud Director spool area. This improvement significantly reduces time to transfer catalog items to the subscriber. We have also made the synchronization more robust by adding file consistency check between publisher and subscriber
  • Synchronization protocol extensibility: Out-of-box vCloud Director uses HTTPS-based protocol to transfer data to the subscriber side. Since catalog data is now pre-exported to the well-known spool area, customers can optionally choose use other transfer protocols of their choice to transfer the catalog content.
  • Manual download of catalog item payload: When subscribing to a large public catalog over a slow link, customers can optionally disable the auto-downloading of the content when subscribing to the catalog. With auto-downloading turned off, vCloud Director will only download the meta-data information about each catalog item. Users can then pick the specific items to manually download the full payload of the catalog item just before instantiating it.
  • Upload any content type to Catalog: Catalog content is no longer limited to just ISOs and OVF templates. Users can now upload any content type (e.g. scripts) to a catalog.
  • Versioning: Simple versioning has been added to help with tracking updates to individual catalog items more effectively. vCloud Director will always return the latest version of the catalog item. Subscribing Catalogs will also get updated with the latest version of catalog items when they synchronize with the Publishing Catalog.
  • External Storage Support: vCloud Director lets you turn your content stored on a web server into a catalog. Administrators are able to host files on this external storage and make them available to vCloud Director users as a remote catalog. You can search for keyword “Content Subscription Endpoint Specification” in the vCloud Director API documentation for more details.

vApp Provisioning and Lifecycle

vCloud Director 5.5 provides several enhancements related to vApp provisioning and lifecycle management.

  • Configure CPU settings: Users are now able to customize the number of virtual CPUs, number of cores per socket, as well as the number of sockets for individual virtual machines.
  • Customize hardware settings when deploying vApps: When deploying new vApps from templates users are now able to modify the CPU, memory, and disk settings.
  • Edit template guest OS customization settings: Guest customization settings are now editable from within the vApp template.
  • Support for hot add, remove, and extend of disks: Users can now add, remove, and extend virtual disks for running virtual machines.
  • Support for hot add, remove of NICs: Users can add and remove virtual NICs from running virtual machines. Users can also modify network connections for running virtual machines.
  • Clone vApp with Memory State: vCloud Directory now has the ability to clone running vApps to include the capturing of memory state of the virtual machines. These cloned vApps can also be added to the Content Catalog.

OVF Import and Export

vCloud Director provides several improvements related to importing and exporting OVF files.

  • Add vApp Directly from OVF: vApps can now be instantiated in a Virtual Data Center directly from an OVF file. OVF files no longer need to be uploaded to the Content Catalog prior to being used to provision vApps.
  • Save vApp to OVF: Deployed vApps and vApp templates can now be exported directly to an OVF file.
  • Resume Interrupted OVF Transfers: Interrupted OVF transfers can now be resumed as opposed to having to restart the transfer from scratch.

Console Support on Mac OS and Added Browser Support on Windows and Linux

  • vCloud Director now supports accessing the vCD Web UI from a Mac OS. It also adds support for Google Chrome.
  • vCD now supports using the Firefox and Chrome browsers on MacOS to access the vCloud Director web UI, including the VM remote console capability.
  • Chrome support on Linux and Windows has been added as well.

vCloud Director Virtual Appliance

  • The vCloud Director beta includes support for the vCloud Director Virtual Appliance to help facilitate PoCs and Evals.
  • vCloud Director cell is available in a virtual appliance form factor for quick-and-easy deployment and setup. With the appliance you can choose to use an internal/embedded database or an external database of your choice (Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle).
  • As with prior releases, the vCD virtual appliance is available for PoC/Eval use only. For help with deploying and configuring the vCloud Director virtual appliance please see the vCloud Director 5.5 Virtual Appliance Deployment Guide