Bye Bye Old Friend, end of the line for VMware vCenter Lab Manager

16 Feb 2011 by rayheffer

This week VMware officially announced that VMware vCenter Lab Manager will not see further major releases and support will continue until 1st May 2013. Over the past few years I have spent a considerable amount of time supporting a large development team with Lab Manager since version 2.5 so I’m kind of sad to see it go, but this is an exciting time in a new era of VMware vCloud Director…

Many of you will be wondering what to do now as Lab Manager has been heavily invested in for the development and test teams. Well, I wouldn’t panic yet. Remember that Lab Manager will continue to be supported until 2013 and I’m sure the next major release of vCloud will fill some of the gaps in features between the two products. So what are these gaps? VMware Lab Manager supported linked clone technology way before VMware View did, but this isn’t available with vCloud Director. I’m sure (and I only speculate here) that this would be possible with future versions of vCloud Director.

If you use ring-fenced network configurations with Lab Manager then you will have to find an alternative as this isn’t available in vCloud Director. However, I’ve used Vyatta virtual networking appliance in the past to provide access to private VLAN’s using NAT which achieves a similar solution, albeit a very manual task and only good for static environments.

VMware Lab Manager uses virtual routers (very small Linux based VM’s) to isolate networks in fenced configurations. Mike Laverick actually commented (http://bit.ly/gxZYNx) that this could be achieved with VMware vShield but I have no experience of this with vCloud Director. I’d love to hear from you if you’re doing this?

Another difference is that VMware vCloud Director is licensed per VM, whereas Lab Manager is per processor. With development and test teams creating VM’s like crazy, this needs to be taken into consideration.

Cost Comparison (list price as of 16th February 2011):

VMware Lab Manager Cost (US list price) VMware vCloud Director Cost (US list price)
1 processor license $1,495 25 virtual machines $3,750

Whilst vCloud Director is very similar in features to Lab Manager it hasn’t been designed for the purpose of development and test teams, but I would look at the requirements of your development and test functions and see if vCloud would meet those needs now or whether you should wait to see what is next for vCloud.

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