VMworld 2015: The End of the Beginning — Let’s Go!

VMworld 2015 kicked off today with a massive set of announcements. Each year, our talented group of engineers get to take part in the ultimate show-and-tell, presenting and getting feedback on a myriad of new products and features. In addition, new ideas are shared and deep discussions are occurring everywhere you look.

VMware has been on a path to deliver the software-defined data center (SDDC) for a number of years, with former CTO Steve Herrod first introducing the concept at Interop 2012. SDDC isn’t just a VMware concept – it’s an industry goal. Software-defined compute, networking, storage and security are core tenets of many public cloud architectures. The difference with VMware is that our SDDC components are multi-data center and multi-cloud by design, allowing the same programmatic API-driven software-defined infrastructure services to be available across multiple clouds, branch offices, and private data centers. This is all key to our One Cloud philosophy that Carl Eschenbach articulated in this morning’s keynote. Nearly all enterprises will manage relationships with numerous cloud providers; however, they can count on VMware to enable the flexibility of simple deployment to a large choice of service providers or data centers, all while using their same tools and processes.

VMware’s approach allows organizations to easily redeploy applications around the world in minutes to days, without the need for costly QA associated with recertifying an application or service on a new stack. That could also involve certifying integration with new management components, availability, security, audit logging, etc. VMware’s SDDC stack provides choice and flexibility, allowing customers to use whatever APIs and integrations (e.g., VMware, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Docker) that best meet their needs. Let’s face it, IT architects rarely if ever get something completely right the first time. Having the flexibility to change course while still preserving your initial investments just makes sense. As I said back in 2010 and reiterated last year, there is far more to application mobility than just the app, container, or VM. Our SDDC stack can provide the same portability for infrastructure services that software developers are coming to expect from new container architectures.

We now have more than 700 customers running our NSX network virtualization stack, and more than 2,000 running Virtual vSAN to go along with the hundreds of thousands running our server virtualization stack. To that end, we have reached the end of the beginning of the journey. SDDC is quickly becoming mainstream, and we have the platform, tools, and services to make it happen.

Today we made several announcements that will help you accelerate your SDDC journey, including:

  • VMware EVO SDDC
  • Broad updates to our Unified Hybrid Cloud platform
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack 2
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform

If you’re ready to build your own SDDC or align with our best practices, take a look at our newly published VMware Validated Designs.


We launched our EVO line of products at VMworld 2014 (read my blog on the launch here), and since that time I have met with customers that are enthusiastic about the concept and our vision. Many just want infrastructure to work and meet their SLAs so that they can spend less time building their own custom infrastructure solutions. They just don’t see the manual process of building their own infrastructure as a business differentiator for most of their apps, and envision a time when they purchase integrated SDDC stacks the same way they buy servers today, without fear of lock-in.

Introduced last year at VMworld – VMware EVO:RAIL – gained traction in the market , with customers liking its 15 minute time-to-value and linear scale capabilities of the rack mount server form factor. For larger scales, today we announced VMware EVO SDDC.

VMware EVO SDDC is designed to provide a simple to deploy and updated SDDC at rack-scale, and includes software-defined compute, storage, networking security, and management. Simply put, basic software-defined infrastructure will not be a business differentiator but rather a core competency just to stay in the game. EVO SDDC will allow you to quickly deploy infrastructure that can spin up virtualized stacks within minutes while freeing time for your teams to focus on driving innovation that differentiates your business. The full VMware EVO SDDC architecture is shown below.


Full VMware EVO SDDC architecture

vSAN is a key component of all our EVO solutions and we have several new features in VMware VSAN 6.1, including:

  • Stretched cluster support
  • 5 minute RPO asynchronous replication
  • SMP-FT support
  • 2-node clusters (for branch office deployments)
  • Support for Oracle RAC and Windows Server Failover Clustering

You can read about all the EVO SDDC Suite goodness here and can catch up on VSAN 6.1 here.

Unified Hybrid Cloud

Our team has been extremely busy this year to deliver enhancements and additions to our Unified Hybrid Cloud Platform, and announced the following new services and features today:

  • Technology Preview – Project Skyscraper
    You asked for it! You will get it! Live migration between data cenfters and clouds. During the keynote, we demonstrated Cross-Cloud vMotion and content synchronization between a private cloud and vCloud Air.
  • VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Services
    DR to the cloud is even easier and more affordable. With new pay-for-what-you-consume pricing, you only pay a flat fee per VM protected and about of storage required, and then pay for the compute consumed following a DR event. Furthermore VMware Site Recovery Manager Air is a new SaaS-based DR automation tool that will allow you to fully orchestrate DR plans. Most importantly, VMware Site Recovery Manager Air will provide failover and failback support.  Competing “cloud DR” services that don’t offer failback support really are not DR services, but are nothing more than one-way migration tools that permanently migrate your applications to the cloud under the worst of conditions.
  • VMware vCloud Air Object Storage
    VMware vCloud Air now supports object storage powered by Google Cloud Platform and object storage powered by EMC ViPR, enabling tenants choice of object storage provider based on their vendor, integration, and feature preferences.
  • VMware vCloud Air SQL
    VMware vCloud Air SQL will support Microsoft SQL Server, with a variety of memory, compute, and storage options, and plans to support other relational databases in the future.
  • VMware vCloud Air Advanced Networking Services
    Advanced Networking Services will bring all of the richness of VMware NSX to VMware vCloud Air, including micro-segmentation (zero trust security model), dynamic routing, enhanced network scaling to hundreds of VLANs, improved SSL VPN, and HTTPS load balancing.
  • VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager
    Hybrid Cloud Manager will provide a single web console for managing workloads in vCloud Air from the vSphere web client. This tool makes it simple to migrate and redeploy VM images from your data center to vCloud Air or vice-versa.

Head over to the vCloud Blog for more information on all of these announcements.

VMware Integrated OpenStack 2

VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) 2 brings our OpenStack distro up to the Kilo release. VMware continued to demonstrate our OpenStack commitment through our actions, and were once again a top 10 contributor. VIO 2 will include an exciting industry-first feature — seamless upgrade from OpenStack Icehouse with rollback support! There are many other new features such as expanded language support, multi-region multi-hypervisor support, support in Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud 3.5, Ceilometer support and Heat Autoscaling, Load Balancing as a Service (LBaaS) support, and much more. Read more about VIO 2 here.

All of our key management products have received updates and you can read more about them on the Cloud Management blog.

vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform

I spend over half of my time at VMware working with architects, CTOs and CIOs of various end-user organizations, and nearly every conversation that I have leads to cloud-native applications. Kit Colbert has done a tremendous job leading our Cloud-Native Apps team at VMware and today he shared our cloud-native vision and product announcements in the opening keynote.

Many cloud-native applications simply do not need various availability services provided by the hypervisor such as VM high availability (HA), live migration (vMotion) or storage vMotion. Customers rightfully ask “Why should I run containers on a hypervisor that has more features than I need?” It’s a good question. While many run containers on vSphere for the security benefits (e.g., per-VM OS kernel isolation) and centralized management (same tools and processes for containers and VMs), a slimmed down hypervisor for container workloads is ideal. To that end, today we announced VMware vSphere Integrated Containers and the Photon Platform, which includes the Photon Controller and Photon Machine. The cloud-native architecture is shown below.

cloud-native architecture

VMware vSphere Integrated Containers represents a comprehensive suite of cloud-native technologies featuring Project Bonneville, Project Photon OS (formerly Project Photon), and VMware’s Instant Clone technology (a feature of VMware vSphere 6). The solution will also empower developers with the flexibility, portability and speed containers deliver. VMware vSphere Integrated Containers will easily integrate with other container ecosystem solutions including CoreOS Tectonic, Docker, Kubernetes, Mesosphere’s Data Center Operating System, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

The Photon Controller is a multi-tenant, API-driven controller optimized for scale, churn and high-availability. Automation-savvy DevOps teams will be able to speed the creation of thousands of new containers per minute, and support hundreds of thousands of total simultaneous workloads. The controller will be released as an open source project to help encourage broad input, testing and adoption from customers, partners, and the community at large.

Photon Machine extends Project Photon OS, a lightweight Linux operating system for containerized applications and optimized for VMware environments, with a new ESX Microvisor — a core compute hypervisor based on the proven core of VMware ESXi featuring “just the right level of functionality” (e.g., no HA and vMotion) to run cloud-native applications at scale. It can serve up containers on the 20 MB Photon OS in as little as 500 ms.

The Photon Platform is fast, scalable, and powerful. I’ve talked with many customer leaders that are excited about its potential. One CIO literally stood up and clapped when he saw the details of the Photon platform, ecstatic that he can service his developers without having to introduce a new hypervisor platform into his data center, which would have increased his operating costs significantly. Another CTO that I recently worked with envisions the Photon Platform as the gateway to security innovation. He plans to dynamically spin up service stack components that live for the lifetime of a single transaction, meaning that if a part of the stack was compromised, the code would be discarded in a matter of milliseconds. A fully software-defined stack leveraging our Instant Clone technology makes this possible. You truly can rethink your entire approach to building and securing applications with this technology.

For even more details on our cloud-native application announcements, head over to Kit Colbert’s blog on the subject.

As you can see, VMworld 2015 Day 1 was all about innovation. Let’s not stop here. What are your thoughts? I welcome your comments on our cloud native announcements, VMware EVO SDDC, and our vision. Our greatest innovations are customer-driven, and it’s your ideas that are reshaping everything we do.