I already had a look at it and my curiosity pushed me on, so I couldn’t miss this session.
This post is actually a 2-parts post, first one presenting the product as Nee did in an amazing way, with some considerations by my side, and a second part describing how I implemented it inside Netalia’s production VMware Cloud Director environment, assisted by some VMware brilliant engineers (I apologize, I remember just the name of one of them, Vikrant Singh)
The Marketplace is an opportunity for vendors to reach VMware’s customer base, and also an opportunity for customers to use and install third party solutions plus open source products inside their VMware environments.
The catalog is composed by images that are tested and validated by VMware to work correctly in VCD, VMConAWS, vSphere, PKS and more to come.
Nee describes 3 main use cases for Marketplace:
- Moving customers to the cloud simply shifting their workload using the same solutions they had in place on premises directly deployable
- Maximizing the investment on VMware platform through solutions coming from third party working on different platforms
- Ensuring developer flexibility, directly connected to the availability of open source solutions in the Marketplace coming mostly by Bitnami
In our case, the last 2 points are important. We had to create and maintain several templates for our customers, uploading new ones due to new versions or to specific requests for particular needs from them: it was a very high time-consuming activity. More than this, we could offer templates that our clients didn’t think they could have or use and monetizing more efficiently some third-party solutions in a much more effective way to present to our VCD market. Validation from VMware also made feel tenants protected against any kind of threat deploying a template not created directly by them thanks to “VMware security stamp” on them.
Now, about the benefits to customers, Nee points out four interesting topics mentioning the convenience to have all these solutions centralized in a location easy to reach and implement, and growing day by day; trust, due to the strict validation program that solutions have to pass to be inserted in the Marketplace; flexibility to deploy the same solution in different platforms and versions; transparency on notifications and updates coming from a central location.
Today the Marketplace expose more than 300 templates available on several platforms, partly from partners, partly coming from open source communities
The Marketplace is available inside the Cloud Services Portal, you can easily get enabled to adopt it by VMware, but it’s also available for browsing for free without signing in the portal.
The landing page shows the last uploaded products along with categorized ones by format. You can also filter and sort them by publisher, category, solution type, deployment platform and product pricing.
After choosing an appliance you have the possibility to download it in a OVA format, or to “subscribe”: that means that VMware Marketplace will connect to the platform of your choice, will add to it and will maintain the solution with new versions and patches, with no further effort by your side. In our case, the template was added to a tenant catalog, the tenant that we use to publish catalogs to other tenants, and uploaded on our systems ready to deploy.
Most of the third-party solutions are sold in BYOL mode: you will deploy the appliance, then you’ll be asked to provide a license, sold directly by the vendor.
After this CFD event, back to my (virtual) office, I decided to try this experience, especially because customers were insisting on create new templates on our VCD catalog.
Netalia is an italian cloud service provider focusing its offer on VMware cloud stack, so VCD is our main product.
I spent my last months upgrading the whole platform, so now I’m realizing day by day the benefits of VCD 9.7 (as a CSP, I’m quite conservative – isn’t simple to stop all the customers to upgrade, I’ll wait some time to move to 10.1).
Back to Marketplace: I needed to import the catalog in my installation. Everything worked right, passing through the cloud services and subscribing the most required templates by customers. I had an issue at a certain point, when all the subscriptions failed, and I couldn’t realize why.
I’ve to say that Nee and Vikrant Singh together assisted me in realtime solving the issue (or, better, it wasn’t an issue, but just a procedure): I had to check the box in properties for the tenant used for catalog purposes, from provider interface.
All these templates are updated by Marketplace, and you can decide how many versions keep in your catalog.
I think that this solution is useful not only for end users, but also for all the companies that are going to present their products in the shape of an OVA. Most of the templates are for free, for the others there’s the BYOL method of licensing.
This is just an example on how many versions are available for a popular appliance:
And how many of them will Marketplace keep in your catalog before removing them (plus autoupdate in case of new versions):
This means that your catalog will be not only update regularly, but also cleaned up having old releases removed – as seen, you’ll define the number of versions to keep.
In all of this path I didn’t mention App Launchpad (here a great post from my favourite engineer @ VMware, Daniel Paluszek): I’m sure it will be a success, but I have to upgrade my VCD since it runs on 10.1 version, and I’ll write again about it.