Dell builds tighter VMware integrations for cloud, app modernization

Dell announced updates to Dell Technologies Cloud, portfolio updates to better support VMware's Tanzu platform, and updates to its storage and data protection portfolio.

Dell Technologies on Tuesday rolled out a series of updates to its products and services deeply integrated with VMware, the software company within its portfolio that serves as the linchpin to Dell's cloud effort

Specifically, Dell announced updates to Dell Technologies Cloud, portfolio updates to better support VMware's Tanzu platform for app modernization, as well as updates to its storage and data protection portfolio for VMware workloads. The announcements were timed to coincide with VMware's annual VMworld conference, which is virtual this year. 

Dell Technologies holds an 81 percent stake in VMware -- and it may spin off VMware, so it can  monetize its stake in the virtualization company. Still, VMware is critical to Dell's multi-cloud efforts. VMware software is integrated throughout the Dell Technologies' product portfolio, and the companies have agreements in go-to-market strategies, services, research and development and intellectual property.

"We are continuing to invest in joint engineering with VMware to create products that really help our customers be able to take advantage of VMware products in the best way possible," Varun Chhabra, VP of Cloud and Edge for Dell, told reporters last week. 

In the cloud realm, Dell on Tuesday announced the 4th generation of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, which includes VMware's vSphere, vSAN and NSX, all running on Dell EMC's infrastructure. Based on customer feedback, the latest version puts a strong emphasis on regulation, compliance and certifications. It includes new ISO certifications, GDPR certifications, as well as industry-specific compliance needs.  

Additionally, the service is now certified on VMware's Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, so customers can use the software on a turnkey manner to build and deploy Kubernetes-based applications on Tanzu on VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. 

Dell is also introducing a new node type aimed at most data-intensive, high-performance workloads. It includes increased storage and memory capacity, as well as the ability to use NVMe storage. Customers are also getting the ability to segment resources, both virtual and physical, for workloads on a single rack. 

Finally, Dell is integrating its service with VMware's HCX service, which provides the ability to move workloads between VMware environments on premise and in the cloud, without having to rearchitect applications. 

"We continue to hear from customers that being able to migrate between clouds, so that customers can take advantage of the best capabilities in different cloud environments, whether in public cloud or private cloud, continues to be a challenge," Chhabra said.

In other cloud news, Dell announced that VMware Cloud Director is now integrated with and certified on the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform. The platform knits together Dell's data center and hybrid cloud technologies with public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud. This should allow service providers to more quickly deliver multi-tenant environments.

As for application management, Dell is expanding its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) options for Tanzu, VMware's portfolio for building and managing modern applications. 

"Customers can choose the best option to fit their operating model, their level of Kubernetes expertise," said Jon Siegal, VP of Integrated products and solutions for Dell. 

The newest option is vSphere with Tanzu on VxRail, which Dell says is the fastest way to get started with Kubernetes workloads. It allows you to drop enterprise-grade Kubernetes into existing infrastructure, getting Tanzu in production quickly. It also allows customers to bring their own software-defined networking. 

There's also a validated reference architecture option called Tanzu Arhictecure for VxRail, which is well-suited for customers who have technical experience already with Kubernetes and want the ability to build their their own configurations.  Finally, customers can choose the fully-integrated Dell Technology Cloud Platform, which Dell says is optimal for large-scale Kubernetes deployments. It's fully equipped with software-defined networking and a common management model for developers and IT administrators. 

Finally, Dell is engaging with VMware around Project Monterey -- a "massive rethink around the architecture" that will support the next generation of modern applications, Siegal said. 

As part of the project, VMware is rearchitecting VMware Cloud Foundation to run on smart network interface cards (NICs) and thus offload CPUs, allowing for more performance for applications. The project leverages smart network interface cards (NICs) from a broad set of vendors. As part of the project, Dell in the next year plans to deliver integrated, fully automated solutions for its server and storage platforms. 

In the category of storage and data protection, Dell announced that its Dell EMC PowerMax software is now integrated with VMware vVols, which simplifies management and improves access to mission-critical applications. 

Meanwhile, the company is offering early access to a new program called Dell EMC ObjectScale, built on VMware Cloud Foundation, which allows developers to provision cloud-scale storage for modern applications. Additionally, Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager has been updated to include new protections for VMware Cloud Foundation infrastructure layers and Kubernetes environments.