VMworld 2016
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VMware Embraces Multi-Cloud

Last VMware hosted their annual user conference, VMworld. VMworld has always been a special event because of the strong technology ecosystem and user community that has developed around VMware products and especially their vSphere technology. Over the past few years much of the talk at VMworld focused on enabling enterprise IT to build cloud infrastructures as the natural next step of the VMware virtualized data center. Over the past five years VMware has been investing heavily through acquisition (i.e. Integrien, DynamicOps, Desktone) and organic development (i.e. vCloudAir) in products to enable enterprise IT mature their virtualized data center into an on premises cloud infrastructure. In parallel, public clouds (i.e. AWS, Azure, Google, and Salesforce) have emerged. MulticloudStanding up cloud infrastructures is no longer the challenge, provisioning, managing, and monitoring workloads using all these different cloud services is the biggest challenge since each of these clouds have proprietary interfaces and API's. As a result cloud silo's have emerged isolating workloads and data sets in those silo's. Enterprise IT is managing a portfolio of cloud services to support of their application workloads and needs tools and solutions that allow them to efficiently manage, connect, and secure workloads running across multiple clouds. I have been referring to these types of services as a set of Cloud Interworking functions.

Many customers are running traditional application workloads on VMware clouds today. These clouds are architected and optimized for their applications and workflows. Many customers would like the option running these workloads in service provider clouds to realize cost, and scale benefits. VMware introduced Cloud Foundation solution and their SDDC manager that provides a common VMware provisioning, management, and monitoring experience across multiple cloud provider infrastructures. IBM is the first to offer this capability on their IBM Cloud public cloud infrastructure. This will help eliminate the cloud silo's that are created when trying to leverage VMware clouds on multiple cloud infrastructure providers.

Cloudfoundation

More about the VMware Cloud Foundation offering on IBM Cloud can be found here. Additional public cloud providers such as Virtustream have announced the intention to offer VMware Cloud Foundation services as well.

In addition VMware positioned NSX as the best way to provide secure and manageable inter cloud network connectivity. One of the major challenges to moving existing workloads to public clouds is the network domain architectures are different from one cloud service to the next. Software defined networking deployed across cloud services allow workloads to run without modification in multiple cloud service providers. In addition with software defined networking with NSX provides a single management, monitoring, and discovery interface for your network across clouds. Software defined micro segmentation services allow you to implement finer security granularity across all the cloud services supporting your application workings. This year Rajiv Ramaswami gave a great talk on the challenges with cross cloud service networking and the value of the VMware NSX solution here.

The third pillar of VMware's Multi Cloud solution strategy is providing an enterprise grade digital workspace experience for end users. Enterprises need a way to manage the distribution of application access to end users across many types of devices, and locations in timely manner while maintaining data security and governance. This challenge is becoming greater as the velocity of new application creation is increasing, and the number and type of new devices is accelerating. VMware announced the expansion of their partnership with IBM to provide hosted desktop and application services and the progress of their work with Salesforce.com and their new analytics application. Providing a consistent, automated, secure solution to manage application access regardless of which cloud the application is running via a variety of end user devices, and network types is critical for enterprise IT today. This can now be more easily be provided through a combination of cloud service providers. More information on this capability is available here and here.

  Cloud interworking

The pivot by VMware to provide solutions that will simplify, and automate cloud interworking services will be a milestone in cloud adaption by enterprise IT. VMware is enabling simplified provisioning, management, and monitoring of workloads across multiple cloud providers. With NSX software defined networking enterprise IT can now manage, monitor, and secure their application communication across multiple cloud providers for the first time. Simplifying connecting end users to your applications via a consistent and secure digital work space across a variety of end user devices and network locations is critical. I believe this is the year enterprise IT will focus more on using cloud services rather than how to build them. These cloud interworking services will expand the choice for workload placement based on cost, location, and availability. The speed businesses can consume cloud services in 2016 accelerates the new products, services, and customer experiences that will differentiate from their competitors.

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