This week I had a conf call with one of my old colleagues Willem van Engeland. Willem showed me a product called AirSembly by the new company he works for called AirVM. I had bumped in to the AirVM folks at VMworld, their booth kinda stood out you can say. Recently AirVM also revealed that they had been selected by VMware to be the preferred cloud management platform for vCloud Air Network partners. All of this made me curious and I figured I would have a quick look at what they have to offer.
Willem showed me what they offer, which is basically a cloud management platform for vCloud Director environments. It does a lot of things vCloud Director doesn’t offer today out of the box, which saves a lot of time and resources as you would normally custom develop this functionality. Here I am talking about for instance a fully customizable HTML5 interface, and a management solution which allows you as a cloud provider to create distributors, the distributors to create partners and the partners to sell to customers. Yes you can have multiple layers, which is a very common model for cloud providers. (Now you have the option to cut out the “distributor layer” as AirVM found out this is less common than expected at first.)
What I like about the layered approach is that I get to see as a partner what is important to me (same for the provider, customer etc) and aren’t overwhelmed with details I don’t care about. For instance as a customer you will want to know what is running in your VDC.
But as a partner I probably care about other things, things like these:
Now those of course are just two simple examples of what you get with AirSembly. For the vCAN partner it is probably more important to know that there is deep vCloud Director integration. Some of the stats in the AirSembly UI are not even available in the vCloud Director UI itself. On top of leveraging the vCloud Director APIs you can also connect AirSembly to vCenter Server, and they integrate with RabbitMQ. So any changes in your vCloud Director environment will be noticed by AirSembly, and as such AirSembly will always reflect the proper state of the environment.
Even more important, AirSembly allows you to basically customize your whole front-end. You can simply define colour schemes and change the fonts through drop downs, you can add custom headers and footers, logos and slogan… or you can go as far as providing custom CSS and go all-out when it comes to branding. Everything is possible through their interface. It allows you to create a portal that looks and feels like your own website, which is important.
It has been a while since I touched vCloud Director, one thing I still clearly remember though… complexity. That is what I like about AirSembly, it offers a lot of functionality out of the box as a cloud management platform for vCloud Director and vCenter Server, but it doesn’t feel complex at any point. The different layers for cloud provider, distributor, partner and customer take a while to get used to, but depending on where you sit in the chain you should not as a “consumer” ever notice that.
I am going to leave it at that for now, mainly because the weekend is coming up and my holiday is about to get started. If you want to know more, have a look at this interview that Jeremy van Doorn did for VMworld TV with AirVM and the demo that was given to Eric Sloof.