VMware's New Super Stack Brings Together Data Center, Cloud, and Edge

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  September 01, 2022

It's been a busy week for VMWare and many of its partners the annual VMWare Explore (formerly VMWorld) gathering.  While there were many formal announcements with multiple tech ecosystem partners, the singular message was clear: It's time to simplify from edge to cloud to big data storage and compute – and back again.

Those of us who have been invested in the evolution of our hyper-connected world, where there are endless problems to be solved, combined with decades of complexity and cost associated with solving those problems, will find this systemic approach refreshing (assuming it all does work together in the real world, and this time it may).

Enterprise IT is nothing like it was ten years ago, as Enterprise OT and DevOps have continued to grow given the opportunities digital transformation promises, including more automation, better quality and yield, more data feeding AI and ML applications, more sophisticated edge and end-user devices, faster networks, tens of thousands of APIs, and above all "human-powered" creativity.

Entrepreneurs are building big businesses in a matter of years. Open-source organizations like Linux Foundation (News - Alert) are announcing new projects as their membership and corporate sponsorship expands. Investors are pouring money into all things cloud, connected, and virtual.

Tech giants, including the hyperscalers – AWS, Google (News - Alert), Microsoft, and a few others in what is starting to look like an oligopoly – are tearing down traditional boundaries, racing toward the inevitable bundling of connectivity along with cloud, storage, compute, and hosted third-party applications.

And marketplaces, like Pax8's growing Cloud Marketplace for XaaS and AT&T's API Marketplace (for telco) and RapidAPI (for IT), are exploding. All of this is adding fuel to the complete overhaul of the Communications Service Provider (CSP (News - Alert)) and Managed Service Provider (MSP) landscape.

VMware, born in the data center shortly before the turn of the century, has been aggressively marching toward the edge, with not only edge datacenters, but partnerships with edge computing, security, and orchestration companies, and expanding "VMs" to Kubernetes and containers. Make no mistake, this week's range of announcements proves VMWare wishes to be at the head of the entire "food chain" that highly decentralized enterprises need to manage.

VMWare introduced the latest generations of both its vSphere platform and vSAN cloud storage offering and emphasized more sophisticated and automated multi-cloud management capabilities through its new Aria technology, driving cloud networking through such projects as NorthStar and Watch and helping developers create cloud-native applications through new features in its Tanzu Kubernetes portfolio.

"As our customers increasingly look to adopt multi-cloud environments across their datacenters, public cloud, and edge environments, they really want to have the flexibility to build and run the right application in the right location based on the technical requirements and business requirements they may have," said Mark Lohmeyer, SVP/GM Cloud Infrastructure Business Group at VMware. "We're enabling our core enterprise class to compute, storage, networking, management capabilities that support the most enterprise-grade applications around the world as a consistent infrastructure service across not just our customers' existing datacenters and private cloud environments, but all the major public clouds and edge environments and distributed environments."

Through vSphere, VMware is "unlocking the power of new underlying hardware innovations to supercharge workload performance, supporting vSphere on top of GPUs or data processing units, offloading the core CPU and moving some of those services to the DPU or sometimes a SmartNIC. We're also supporting the next generation of GPUs that can accelerate AI workloads and processes, with support for larger scale deployments."

The company estimates that offloading workloads to accelerators like GPUs, DPUs, and smart NICs can improve the transaction rate by 36 percent and cut latency by 27 percent, reducing CPU core costs while maintaining performance and consolidating workloads.

The company reported on its big vision, two-year-old "Project Monterey," which is a "nirvana platform" for decentralized computing environments that leverage DPUs and other accelerators for advanced applications like AI and machine learning. By working across all the major infrastructure vendors (Dell, Lenovo (News - Alert), and HPE) and chip makers like Nvidia, Intel, and AMD.

VMware also is integrating its Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.0 into vSphere 8, offering either a standalone management cluster or a Supervisor flavor integrated into vSphere. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.0 also will continue to support Amazon Web Services AWS and Microsoft Azure today, with Google Cloud and Oracle (News - Alert) Cloud on a fast-track road map.

The company's Tanzu Mission Control for Kubernetes management, including enabling direct provisioning and management of Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) clusters to simplify management of multiple clusters and clouds, will be integrated with Aria for easier consolidation of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Kubernetes operations, enable cluster management, and enable users to move applications between clusters on any cloud or on-premises data center through cross-cluster backup and restore (working with companies like ZEDEDA, which recently announced a new round of funding, and is arguably the leading developer of edge orchestration in open source environments).

VMware also introduced VMware Cloud Foundation+, a cloud-connected architecture for running a full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) in datacenters, in trend given similar initiatives by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and public cloud providers to deliver more cloud-like capabilities into on-prem datacenters. VMWare says Cloud Foundation+ will make it easier to manage VMs and container-based workloads across multi-cloud deployments solving fundamental challenges in an increasingly hybrid-cloud world.

AWS is big on the bandwagon with VMware Cloud Flex Storage, which will offer a high-performance and highly scalable elastic cloud storage service that leverages AWS S3 for capacity, with a caching tier for performance.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Erik Linask
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