Sep
08

Do you have a vCenter plugin?

vCenter Plugins are a bad proposition and fit into the bucket of “too good to be true” when talking about storage. Having your storage dependent on vCenter creates a situation where you are now tied to something that is a single point of failure, has is security implications, it can limit your design/solution due to vCenter’s lack of scale and restricts your control over future choices. In most cases storage companies have plugins because the initial setup with ESXi is complex and they are trying to mask some the work needed to get it up and running.

Single Point of Failure

Even VMware Technical marketing staff admit that vCenter is limited in options to keep it protected. Now that Heartbeat is end of life there really isn’t a good solution in place.
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What happens when vCenter goes down? Do you rely on the plugin to provide UI for administration? How easy is it run commands from the CLI when the phones light up with support calls?

Nutanix ability to scale and remain availability is not dependent on a plugin.

Security

If I was to place money, I would bet no one can write a plugin for vCenter better than VMware with security in mind. VMware has decided not to create a plugin for EVOL:RAIL and stand up a separate web server. I might be reading in between the lines but punching more holes into vCenter is not a good thing. How hardened can a 3rd party plugin be? Chances are the plugin will ending up talking to esxi hosts thru vpxuser which essential is a root account. It’s not the root account that is scary, it how people get access to it. Does the plugin use vCenter security rights? Too me there is just more questions than answers.

From the vendor side, as VMware goes from vSphere 5.5 -> 6.0 -> .Next, the plugin will have to be in lock step and will cause more work and time in making sure the plugin works versus pouring that time and effort into new development.

Scale\Limits

Scale and number nodes are affected by vCenter’s ability to manage the environment. Both cluster size and linked mode by a part in the overall management. If the plugin is needed to manage the environment can you scale past the limits of vCenter? How many additional management points does this cause? In a multi-site deployment can you use two vCenters? Experience tells me vCenter at the data center managing remote sites hasn’t been fun in the past.

If you’re a hyper-converged vendor do you have to license all of your nodes if you just need storage due to the plugin? If you just need a storage node you do have the option of just adding it to the cluster and not vCenter with Nutanix.

One of the most scariest things from an operations point of view is patching. Does patching vCenter cause issues to the plugin? Do you have to follow the HCL matrix when patching the plugin? Today patching Horizon View you have to worry about storage version, VMware Tools, View Agent, View Composer, vCenter, Database version, Anti-virus version and adding a plugin to the mix will not help.

I think vCenter plugins are over-hyped for what they can cause in return. Maybe Nutanix will get one but this kid doesn’t see the need. If the future direction is for web-based client, having another tab open in Chrome is not a big deal.

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