VMworld Day 1: VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture Enables Organizations to Thrive in the Cloud Era

By Chris Wolf, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Americas at VMware

For the greater part of the past year, Guido Appenzeller and I have been working closely with dozens of global enterprises who have fully embraced cloud computing, yet they have experienced numerous operational challenges. We witnessed a commonality in those challenges that has directly shaped VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture™, announced today at VMworld 2016.

Chris Wolf, Chief Technology Officer, Americas at VMware

Chris Wolf, Chief Technology Officer, Americas at VMware

This architecture extends VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy, enabling customers to run, manage, connect and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment. VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture is delivered through VMware Cloud Foundation, a new set of Cross-Cloud Services VMware is developing, and VMware vRealize Cloud Management Platform™.

Let’s dive into all of today’s announcements and put them in context with what we are hearing from organizations:

  • Cross-Cloud Architecture
  • VMware Cloud Foundation and Cross-Cloud Services™
  • VMware vCloud® Availability™ and vCloud Air™ Hybrid Cloud Manager™

Cross-Cloud Architecture and Cross-Cloud Services 

Most enterprises already are or expect to operate workloads on multiple cloud environments. Those experienced in cloud operations often rely on separate teams and processes for each individual Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) environment, which in itself is not sustainable from a scalability, security and economic perspective. VMware Cross-Cloud Services, which we are showing as a Tech Preview today, will centralize management, operations, networking, security and data management of key operational needs as shown below.

Common Management and Visibility Infographic

Networking and security are among the top operational challenges faced by organizations operating on multiple clouds today. Network silos have made it challenging to redeploy apps to new clouds or private data centers and have impacted security and agility. Many organizations have tried to bring legacy network constructs exposed as virtual appliances in public clouds but have had both operational and scalability challenges because those solutions are trying to shoehorn a legacy methodology into modern cloud operations.

VMware NSX® flattens network management across clouds and private data centers and is a platform that provides consistent, extensible cross-cloud network and security operations, with dozens of partner integrations that already leverage the platform. Organizations can reap the benefits of network automation and micro-segmentation (using software to effectively create a dedicated data center for each application).

Additional security is also achieved through our forthcoming Distributed Network Encryption (DNE) capabilities, which are currently under Tech Preview. Our approach isn’t just a VMware vision – successful mega-cloud providers are also deploying fully software-defined stacks. However, VMware is unique in that our solution with NSX is multi-cloud and multi-data center by design, giving you the flexibility to operate workloads wherever you see fit and still leverage all of the benefits of a software-defined networking and security stack.

While some vendors are promising a single pane of glass for all things cloud management, we are taking a more pragmatic approach. Regarding management, I like to call that approach a “selective single pane.” That selective single pane of glass will centralize the key functions required to successfully operate enterprise IT across multiple clouds, including:

  • An SLA/Availability dashboard
  • Policy-based placement and optimization
  • UI and API-driven cloud service broker
  • Automated discovery
  • Centralized multi-cloud cost accounting
  • Workload migration

VMware is committed to doing the core centralized cloud management operations required by enterprises, and doing those core capabilities exceptionally well. We will deliver those capabilities as SaaS services in the future. And in terms of management, we will continue expanding our capabilities so that policy – not people – determines the optimal place to run applications across clouds. We will continue improving our existing cost management capabilities to provide centralized cost visibility so that organizations can assess costs across multiple cloud environments and even leverage that data for workload placement and optimization. Our cloud engagements have shown that cross-cloud cost accounting is a major challenge, to the point that major industry analyst firms even have analysts dedicated to the topic.

Cloud operational management can be a daunting subject, so focus on the core areas that you should centralize, where you see the greatest operational benefit. For other areas, such as lower-level provider-centric API integrations, develop specialists for those roles and make decentralized operations a part of your strategy. It’s important at this stage to begin to be very opinionated about what services should and what services should not be centrally managed. That will allow you to get the most out of your cloud services investments and prevent the organization from wasting time trying to centralize operational functions at the expense of agility or provider-specific capabilities.

VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation represents another step forward in the era of agility. VMware Cloud Foundation is a next-generation hyper-converged infrastructure for building private clouds that for the first time combines VMware’s highly scalable hyper-converged software (VMware vSphere® and VMware vSAN™) with the world’s leading network virtualization platform, NSX. Cloud Foundation provides a consistent multi-cloud IaaS that is simple to deploy, operate, and maintain, and gives applications a consistent, scalable and highly available infrastructure services, regardless of where they run.

Today we announced that Cloud Foundation is not just available in private data centers, but as a service from a major public clouds with our announced partnership with IBM Cloud. This is significant because it means you can run the same scalable cloud infrastructure that IBM is running in its own cloud data centers. No other hyper-converged infrastructure vendor can make that claim.

Many organizations see value in this solution because it frees time to focus on business differentiators, rather than on automated and programmatic infrastructure (something that every organization is expected to deliver today; if you don’t, you’re simply falling behind your competitors). VMware Cloud Foundation is well-suited for practically any workload, from enterprise applications to cloud-native applications to specialized workloads such as virtual desktops. Because it’s a multi-cloud solution, you can be assured of the same operational consistency regardless of where an application runs. This allows IT teams to offer a common IaaS, and gives developers the flexibility to layer whatever application platform or PaaS that suits their needs right on top. There isn’t another multi-PaaS, multi-cloud IaaS platform on the market today.

Cloud Foundation’s benefits don’t stop at the initial deployment, either, with automated lifecycle management, patching and upgrades that extend from the infrastructure to the management components. This truly allows you to spend your time where it matters most: on business-differentiating innovation.

A large investment on a highly integrated infrastructure platform could seem like a lock-in concern. We have fully addressed that by supporting the most popular open source PaaS and IaaS platforms. In our session today, Raj Yavatkar and I will demonstrate both PaaS and IaaS open source API integration with VMware Cloud Foundation, including OpenStack, Docker, and Cloud Foundry integrations.

VMware vCloud Availability and vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager

VMware vCloud Air and our vCloud Air Network partners offer organizations the flexibility to run applications on VMware infrastructure in thousands of provider data centers globally. Today we announced vCloud Availability for vCloud Director, which enables organizations to leverage the vCloud Air Network ecosystem and vCloud Air for simple, automated disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). This solution enables you to use the same tools and processes following any disaster because both environments are VMware-based, and also enables simple failback. Other cloud DRaaS offerings may fail workloads over to non-VMware infrastructure that requires use of new tools and processes to manage. In addition, some do not offer failback capabilities, which effectively makes them little more than one-way migration tools that perform migrations under the worst of circumstances.

VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager has added several major enhancements, including zero-downtime, bi-directional application migrations in and out of vCloud Air. This includes the migration of NSX security policies, providing simple migration of workloads to vCloud Air with no need for any network or security reconfiguration once the migration completes.

You’re in Control

We’re part of a massive industry that produces new innovations almost daily. Your future will include multiple clouds, and it should. Cloud providers aren’t racing to the bottom. They’re racing to the top, and you will use some of their specialized platform services for competitive advantage. You’ll leverage PaaS solutions for additional flexibility for another set of applications and services. And you’ll use IaaS for additional application platform flexibility and operational consistency. As you operate in all of these models, VMware will be there alongside you. We won’t do everything, but we promise to help you solve your key cloud operational challenges with the passion, integrity and quality that you’ve always known in us.

As Pat Gelsinger recently articulated, the cloud journey is exciting, but trusting data to data centers you don’t own, presiding over networks you don’t own, and being accessed from devices you don’t own can be daunting. We understand your concerns and challenges, and will be right there with you every step of the way.

Forward-Looking Statements

This blog contains forward-looking statements including, among other things, statements regarding the VMware offerings, including Cross-Cloud Architecture™, VMware Cloud Foundation™, VMware Cross-Cloud Services™, VMware vCloud Availability for vCloud Director, vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager, its enhanced partnership with IBM, the forthcoming Distributed Network Encryption (DNE) capabilities and SaaS services and the anticipated benefits of each to customers. These forward-looking statements are subject to the safe harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are made as of the date of this press release. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risks, uncertainties, changes in condition, significance, value and effect, including but not limited to (i) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (ii) competitive factors, including but not limited to pricing pressures, industry consolidation and the entry of new competitors into industries in which we compete; (iii) VMware’s customers’ acceptance of and ability to transition to new products and computing strategies and emerging technologies; (iv) VMware’s ability to enter into and maintain strategically effective partnerships; (v) VMware’s ability to protect its proprietary technology; (vi) the ability of VMware to realize synergies following Dell’s acquisition of EMC; (vii) VMware’s relationship with EMC Corporation and EMC’s ability to control matters requiring stockholder approval, and any changes that Dell may implement following the completion of the Dell-EMC merger, as well as other risks detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including VMware’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K that we may file from time to time. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release and are based on current expectations. VMware assumes no obligation to, and does not currently intend to, update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

VMware, Cross-Cloud Architecture, VMworld, Cloud Foundation, vRealize, vRealize Cloud Management Platform, Cross-Cloud Services, vCloud, vCloud Availability, vCloud Air, vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager, NSX, ESXi, vSAN, and vCloud Director are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other jurisdictions.