VMware or Microsoft: Automation is the Key to Happiness

imageWelcome to today’s post and my last official post in the series.  For this post I chose a topic near and dear to my heart:


Hopefully, this is near and dear to your heart as well!  The more we can automate and provision allows to move away from some of the grind of day to day management.  Automation provides us the keys to faster, more consistent and more reliable datacenter environments.  More important whether you are a large enterprise or a small shop you can benefit from automation.  Typically, the only thing that will change from one company to the next is the tools you choose to use.  For todays post I am going to take a quick peak into two ways you look to automate your datacenters.


One of the great tools we all can benefit from is PowerShell.  Whether you are solely a VMware professional or Hyper-V professional or both, your knowledge of the PowerShell language will provide you all kinds of automation capabilities in your datacenter.

When it comes for support for PowerShell, this is where both Microsoft and VMware really tie from managing a virtualized environment.  Just like VMware’s PowerCLI, Microsoft has had the ability to manage Hyper-V with PowerShell since Windows Server 2008 R2.  With Windows Server 2008 R2 it was a 3rd party download for management and in Windows Server 2012, the cmdlets are built-in.  You can learn more about the PowerCLI here: VMware vSphere 5.5 PowerCLI User's Guide  and learn more about the Hyper-V cmdlets here: Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cmdlets.

So if the tools are essentially a tie, why do I mention them in this post?  For one simple reason, to remind you that PowerShell is PowerShell is PowerShell.  What that means, is that once you learn PowerShell you can literally take that knowledge and apply it to anything that uses PowerShell.  It just becomes an exercise in learning the right cmdlet for the task you are looking to perform.

Now if you have not taken the time to learn PowerShell, I would recommend checking out the blog series I did in May 2011.  While the series was written with PowerShell 2.0, its fundamentals are still sound, here is a good place to start:

This One Time in a PowerShell Session…Part 2 of 31: The Basics on How to Read PowerShell 

Enterprise Automation

imageWhen we start looking at the enterprise scalability, you will have to start looking at other tools.  Even though I think I could argue the viability of PowerShell.  I think the tools that both VMware and Microsoft provide are very solid tools.  So for enterprise-level automation, we have to mention at a high level Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 and even Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and VMware’s vCenter Orchestrator (vCO)  and VMware vCloud® Automation Center (vCAC)

Both solutions will provide a workflow management solution for the data center. They allow you automate the creation, monitoring, and deployment of resources in your environment.    These tools basically allow you to capture your knowledge and process and turn them into automated procedures.  In sense whenever I think of orchestration tools, I imagine little mini IT nano bots running around and getting the work done.

Additionally both tools provide the ability to be extended for further functions, with Microsoft they are called Integration packs and in VMware they are called Plug-ins.

Bottom Line

In the end, as my title says, Automation brings happiness, and we both have solid solutions for automating your virtualization environment.  One thing to keep in mind with the System Center tools is that are not just limited to virtualized environments.  The automation can provide to cloud, physical or virtual systems equally.   Lastly, here is the kicker while Orchestrator and VMM are included in the license with System Center 2012.  VMware requires separate licensing to include either their vCO or vCAC products over vCenter.

If you want to try System Center take a look here: System Center 2012 SP1 and if you want to learn more about Windows Server 2012 take a look here: Windows Server 2012 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please comment.  If you missed any parts of the series take a look here:

VMware or Microsoft? – The Complete Series