VMware's hybrid cloud roadmap takes direction with vSphere 6, Nvidia collaboration

VMware touted its OpenStack distribution will enable smaller IT departments with "little or no OpenStack or Linux experience" to deploy an OpenStack cloud within minutes.

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SAN FRANCISCO--- VMware's hybrid cloud game plan for 2015 is taking shape as the virtualization giant unveiled the next generation of its software-defined datacenter foundation on Monday.

"We'll enable any application to run on any device," promised VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at start of the company's annual partner conference.

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Today's announcements, Gelsinger explained, is about rolling out "a new layer of management" and a new set of on- and off-premise capabilities for managing private, public and hybrid clouds.

"The power of a single network -- private, hybrid, public -- all of those being connected through a single set of networking capabilities," as described by Gelsinger, form the backbone of VMware's datacenter strategy.

At the heart of the portfolio is VMware's vSphere 6, the latest iteration of the server virtualization platform for cloud infrastructures, which packs more than 650 new features.

Many of these upgrades have been designed to improve scaling and availability for Hadoop workloads as well as mission-critical apps running on the Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, and SAP's HANA in-memory database.

To speed up those workloads, VMware introduced Long-Distance vMotion for vSphere 6, which boasts "zero downtime" for real-time migration across geographical distances (i.e. London to New York City) based from continuous availability for larger virtual machines up to four virtual CPUs.

The vSphere 6 rollout is also comprised of vSphere Virtual Volumes for enabling native virtual machine awareness on third-party storage systems along with VMware's Instant Clone technology unveiled at VMworld 2014 last summer for cloning and provisioning thousands of container instances and virtual machines to make a new virtual infrastructure in "sub-second timeframes."

VMware honed in on the storage aspect of the software-defined datacenter with the debut of Virtual SAN 6.

Promising up to four and a half times better performance while doubling scaling rates, SAN 6 supports two-tier, all-flash architectures, establishing flash devices for both caching and data persistence. Organizations will be able to scale VMware Virtual SAN 6 clusters to large capacity in server blade environments.

On the partner side of VMware's partner conference came news from Tintri, which plans to further integrate with VMware applications on software-defined storage. The goal is to allow joint customers to monitor Tintri's virtual storage systems from VMware's management console.

Last week, VMware revealed plans to collaborate with Google in the cloud enterprise space, starting by making Google services available through VMware's vCloud Air.

Google Cloud Platform will also be linked to Cloud Air with Google Cloud Storage, Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Datastore and Google Cloud DNS available for purchase through VMware's hybrid cloud platform.

VMware followed up this week with another partnership, this time forged with Nvidia.

Catering toward designers, architects and engineers, Nvidia's GRID vGPU technology has been tailored to run in vSphere virtualized environments.

IT admins can allocate a single graphics processor for up to eight users with support for these users to run Windows 2D, 3D and media-rich graphics applications on any device.

Nvidia and VMware also launched a Direct Access Program for pitching vSphere with GRID vGPU to enterprise customers. Current qualified VMware Horizon and vSphere customers will be treated to priority access to Nvidia's enterprise graphics virtualization experts and VMware's solution architects for deployment and customer service help.

Freeing itself up even further for industry integrations and links is VMware's new Integrated OpenStack distribution, intended to equip developers with open APIs granting access to VMware's infrastructure.

VMware touted that this distribution will enable smaller IT departments with "little or no OpenStack or Linux experience" to deploy an OpenStack cloud within minutes.

The distribution will be free for customers subscribing to vSphere Enterprise Plus, vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus and the vCloud Suite.

Production-level technical support for VMware's Integrated OpenStack distribution is optional and can be purchased separately for $200 per CPU with a minimum of 50 CPUs.

VMware vSphere 6 and vCloud Suite 6 are scheduled to be available by the end of the first quarter. Pricing for vSphere 6 starts at $995 per CPU while vCloud Suite 6 starts at $4,995 per CPU.

Nvidia's GRID vGPU on VMware Horizon 6 and vSphere 6 Direct Access program is also scheduled to go live by the end of the quarter.

Image via VMware