Recently I got a chance to look at some integrations between hardware infrastructure management tools and VMware vCenter.

I’m sure it’s not the first time you hear about this kind of integration (for example, many storage vendors have been providing vCenter plug-ins for years now and next generation hyper-converged vendors take this feature for granted). So where is the news?

Jack of all trades…

Actually there is none. The interesting thing here is that it is becoming more relevant and involves all the parts of the hardware stack (servers, storage and network). This is what end users want, and what they have been asking for probably ever since the birth of vCenter!

For many reasons, especially in the mid sized enterprises, general purpose sysadmins are becoming the only available kind of sysadmin. These guys have to be efficient, smart and they need to know all the components of the infrastructure (but, often, not in depth). For this reason they can’t rely on too many different complex management tools.

…Master of none vCenter

They all use (and love) server virtualization, VMware products in particular, which they know very well, and which is at the base of their daily job. Like it or not, they spend many hours per week on vCenter.
The best that a hardware vendor can do is to stick with it and give the end user the best possibile integration between its product and vCenter.

Why it matters

Server virtualization is an (if not the most) important part of all infrastructures out there. Other parts of the infrastructure are following the same virtualization path right now. The tool used for managing your virtual infrastructure will soon be managing virtualized storage and networks… and although hardware as a layer is becoming ever more commoditized, it’s often not part of this picture and quite boggling as to why it isn’t.
Fortunately, things are changing quickly.

Always ask your hardware vendor to see the vCenter plug-in (or, if you are a Microsoft aficionado, the SCVMM plug-in) before buying!

here are a couple of examples which I read about lately regarding these integrations:
Hitachi UCP for VMware vSphere
HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter Server