Why Are So Many Orchestration Tools Developer Focused?

This is something that has quietly been boiling away in the depths of the cavern of my mind for a while now – why is it that all the big name orchestration tools on the market (currently) target developers? You need to know Javascript if you want to do anything interesting with VMware vCenter Orchestrator, C# for Citrix Workflow Studio (and most other Windows Workflow Foundation derivatives), and Java for tools like Enigmatec.

Requiring developers for infrastructure automation is kinda useless – if you want to get anywhere fast, you need an admin who can write a spec properly (yeh right) or a developer who has knowledge of operational process and infrastructure (equally improbable). Or some kind of hybrid engineer who can do both but neither very well, and those guys are expensive. Not to mention stubborn and temperamental. Why not just build the tool for the people who run the infrastructure in the first place? Isn’t orchestration supposed to be making their lives easier?

I’m bringing this up now because a new plugin announcement popped up on Eclipse Plugin Central today, for VMware Studio 2.0. If you don’t know what Eclipse is, you’re proving my point about tools like this being developer focused nicely. That’s not to say VMware Studio 2.0 will be more developer focused than admin focused, but choosing Eclipse has developer written all over it.

Having said that, I think it’s a good move by VMware to standardise on something like Eclipse for tools like this. The workflow development environment in the Orchestrator client is _very_ cool indeed, but I can’t help thinking that a lot of effort must go into that side of the tool. Effort that could be minimised if it also used Eclipse, as you’d have at least 2 products using a common platform. Other tools like LifeCycle Manager could potentially follow suit.

A special VMware Studio 2.0 Coffee Talk webinar is planned for June 24th. As one of the aforementioned developery infrastructure engineer types, I’m quite looking forward to learning where VMware are going with Studio. But I’m not sure the general population of VI admins will be so keen. My advice is for all to tune into the webinar and decide for yourselves as to how useful an Eclipse based VMware Studio will be. My personal hope is that I can use it to remaster ESXi. Ooo did I say that out loud? 😉

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