I'm a little bummed that I missed the April 2011 release of the latest version of BMC Software's Service Catalog. Refined in April was Service Catalogs ability to offer virtual infrastructure in a multi-tenant cloud environment using what is called "Service Governance."
BMC Software CTO Kia Behnia stopped in at eWEEK Labs office in downtown San Francisco. I was joined by my eWEEK News colleague Chris Preimesberger in a general discussion of BMC's cloud lifecycle infrastructure tools. In particular, we talked about and saw a rather cool demonstration of the BMC Service Catalog. In many ways, the timing of the briefing couldn't be better. I've just finished a first look of Citrix' XenServer 6 beta 2, known as "Project Boston." One of the biggest net new features of Project Boston is the Self Service Manager (SSM). Neat as SSM is, the BMC Service Catalog is neater.
The BMC Service Catalog uses a multi-tenant for organizational separation and role based access controls for user management to enable accountable cloud resource provisioning. In basic terms, departments such as finance and sales are completely separate even though they operate on a shared compute, network and storage resource pool. Users are strictly limited to only those provisioning actions for which they are authorized. And the entire provisioning process is lined with audit check points. Finally, options--such as PCI compliance checking--can be dynamically added during the request process. At the end of the process the user is presented with a cost figure to operate the workload on a monthly basis.
The Service Governance feature that was added in April enables IT managers to use policy settings in place of scripts to mandate the placement of location restricted workloads. For example, if a workload must run on a physical system located in Switzerland, the Service Governance policy module will automatically enforce the location restrictions on the cloud infrastructure.
There are service blueprints that create meta data templates for catalog offerings that service providers can safely take from customer to customer. The BMC Service Catalog can be used across VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Linux Xen and KVM platforms. According to Behnia, the BMC Service Catalog will be extended to Unix platforms in the near future.
Overall, I'm looking forward to an opportunity to do extensive work with the BMC Service Catalog. If you have experience with this tool, or similar competitive offerings, I'd love to hear about your successes, trials and tribulations.