For the eProcess project, we want to provide easy access to our scenarios to users. A scenario consists usually of multiple hosts, which interact together, and provides different services (such as Service Buses, Applications, WebServices, Identitiy Metasystems, etc.). Users should have the possibility to access those hosts outside our domain and get a feeling of the provided services and how they interact together. They don’t need to provide their own infrastructure and install and configure software, which is very time consuming and usually needs expert knowledge.
Users just can access our infrastructure and configuration in the cloud and use the provided services without wasting time for installation and configuration.
But, what if a scenario consists of three hosts and two users want to access simultaneously the same scenario? This means, that we need to provide six hosts. By more users this means even more hosts.
We need a more flexible approach. Instead of using real (physically dedicated) hosts, we will use virtual hosts (also called virtual machines). Virtual machines are running on a real host (usually a more powerful server), which supports virtualization technology.
This leads to a better yield of the hardware resources, which reduces the IT costs. When more users want to access a scenario, just more virtual machines will be deployed on the server (without adding more real hosts to the infrastructure).
Virtual Lab Automation
Here comes Virtual Lab Automation (VLA) into play. VLA software is capable of managing virtual machines. Whole scenarios (here: Labs) can be deployed in just few seconds. Network access will be configured automatically and users can easily access the virtual machines through a web interface or a remote desktop connection.
We are using the VMLogix LabManager VLA software. This product can administer different virtualization platforms from different vendors (VMWare, Microsoft, Citrix). It also has an intuitive management web interface and is easy to use. For more detailed information you can watch the VMLogix LabManager Features.