VMware has been busy over the last year trying to re-invent themselves with more focus on cloud. With that they’ve added some new SaaS products that can be used to help manage your cloud environments and provide some additional governance IT departments. Cloud makes things very simple to deploy and often eliminates the resource request phases that usually slow down provisioning. But once you start using the cloud, you can pretty quickly lose track of the resources that you’ve deployed, and now are paying for on a monthly basis, so it’s important to have good visibility and management of those resources.
One of VMware’s new offerings is called VMware Discovery. This tool can be used to help, you guessed it, discover the inventory across your public clouds and within vCenter. The front page will give you a dashboard of your cloud environments and your vCenters and from there you can drill down into more specifics. This dashboard is handy so you can see some of the more common cloud resources in use across your environment. Managers would be able to see the number of VMs running in an enviornment, their virtual disks and any networks in use. A dashboard like this may be very handy for someone without a lot of technical expertise in these cloud platforms, but are still responsible for controlling costs.
The tool is dead simple to setup. After you sign up for an account from: https://cloud.vmware.com/discovery/request-access you can go add your cloud accounts for discovery to go out and report on your resources. Right now you have the options of AWS and Azure but if the solution takes off, you can be sure they’ll add other cloud vendors as well. Under “Cloud Accounts” you can click the “ADD NEW” button to go through the process of providing access keys and account information so the tool has permissions to discover the environment.
Once the tool runs discovery, which didn’t take long in my case, you can list all of the resources in use under the “Resources” tab in the navigation pane. I was a bit disappointed that the only value I could sort on was the Name field, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed soon. Being able to see tags here is awesome since I can then check those tags across multiple clouds to ensure consistency. It would be amazing to sort on these tags though in the future.
The tool’s best feature, in my opinion, is that you can create your own resource groups. So I can go to Resource Groups in the navigation bar and create a group of my choosing. I can group based on Account, Category, Cloud, Name, Public IP, Region, Resource Type, and Tags. As a quick example I created two groups, one for AWS in the US-East-1 region and one for Azure in the US-East Region. This lets me quickly look at resources with specific attributes which can be really handy.
The VMware Discovery tool is a nice way to very quickly get a look at your resources across multiple clouds but at this point doesn’t have a lot of functionality. It’s pretty new so that’s to be expected, but if you want to try it out for yourself, the product is free in the United State (sorry rest of the world) until November 31st of 2017. Try it out for yourself and make your own decisions. For more information check out the cloud blog from VMware. The link to signup is right here: https://cloud.vmware.com/discovery