VMware's next play: Managing all clouds for enterprises

VMware unified its cloud management tools and launched a technology preview of platform that will manage public and private data center resources.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

VMware is aiming to be the platform for hybrid cloud deployments and is banking that enterprises will use its software to manage so-called "cross cloud services."

At the company's VMworld conference in Las Vegas this week, VMware will outline its usual complement of hybrid cloud offerings -- along with partners such as HPE, parent Dell and EMC and others -- but the biggest thing to watch is whether enterprises use the company to manage all compute resources.

VMware outlined:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation, which is a software defined data center platform to run clouds.
  • vCloud Availability, a family of disaster recovery tools.
  • And a new release of vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager.

But the most notable thing is a technology preview of cross cloud services that allows VMware to manage private and public resources from the likes of AWS and Azure. With the cross cloud entry, VMware is looking to be that control point to enterprise resources.

VMware's Cross Cloud Services will have discovery and analytics, compliance and security, and deployment and migration tools.

What's unclear is whether the future belongs to VMware in a multi-cloud world or something like Walmart's OneOps, which is an open source tool that manages internal and public cloud resources. Meanwhile, there are a host of offerings aiming to manage multiple clouds. At some point, it's reasonable to expect the public cloud providers to provide tools to manage internal resources too.

How that scrum to manage multiple clouds evolves is the thing to watch in the years ahead. But for now...

It's a hybrid world

VMware's product announcements at VMworld are tools that largely preach to the base. See TechRepublic's take.

For instance, Cloud Foundation will integrate software defined compute, storage, and networking and combine VMware's NSX networking virtualization platform with its other tools.

VMware's Cloud Foundation can be offered as a service for hybrid clouds. IBM will be the first partner offering Cloud Foundation as a package. Private clouds can use Cloud Foundation with VxRack Systems from EMC or combine with notes from Dell, HPE, and others.

A bevy of hardware partners were also making announcements designed to ride shotgun with VMware's cloud foundation focus. Among the notable items:

  • Western Digital's HGST unit certified its Ultrastar SN150 PCI Express (PCIe) NVMe solid state drive for VMware's Virtual SAN and vSphere. The drive is designed for virtualized storage and servicers and quick setup.
  • Samsung and VMware are demonstrating a prototype VMware cloud Foundation rack with the company's NVMe solid state drives. The rack features six Dell R730XD servers and a bevy of Samsung solid state drives.
  • Mellanox outlined driver support for Ethernet and converged Ethernet gear on VMware's vSphere.
  • EMC outlined a series of product integrations between VMware and its XtremIO gear ahead of VMworld.

Like previous years, VMware is offering a platform that'll manage its various suites for cloud management, containers, OpenStack, and virtualized desktops and applications. Each year at VMworld it feels like VMware is offering some platform to manage what was supposed to be a turnkey cloud nirvana suite and architecture launched in previous years.

It's clear that VMware has the hybrid cloud drill down. For the future, VMware will have to absorb and compete with OpenStack.

TechRepublic: Cloud computing: Moving to IaaS (free ebook) | Research: Hybrid cloud - deployment, drivers, strategies and value

At OpenStack East in New York last week, there were a bevy of use cases. Wal-Mart, Bloomberg, and Comcast highlighted how they were using OpenStack at scale.

Meanwhile, there were a bevy of vendors looking to make managing OpenStack easier.

To be sure, OpenStack doesn't have a one-size fits all reference design, but just the fact that there are so many frenemy enterprises rallying around one cloud management cause indicates that there are concerns about lock-in. VMware's ability to embrace new technologies is critical, but at some point the licensing economics may work against it.

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