VMware Unveils Cloud Foundation to Run Multiple Clouds

Cynics may say this is simply a new-sounding way for VMware to reconfigure and resell products it has had in the market for years, and it is, to an extent. There is new orchestration.

LAS VEGAS—VMware didn't unveil any new products or services Aug. 29 on Day 1 of VMworld 2016, but it did announce a new formation of its existing cloud infrastructure: VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture.

This is essentially a way for VMware customers to manage and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment. These workloads can be running in various cloud systems, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud.

Up to now, VMware was designed to run private and/or hybrid clouds in only single public cloud instances.

For the record, the Cross-Cloud Architecture breaks down into two main components: VMware Cloud Foundation, a unified SDDC (software-defined data center) platform for managing and running SDDC clouds; and Cross-Cloud services, in which customers can manage, govern and secure applications running in private and public clouds, including AWS, Azure and IBM Cloud.

A Reconfiguration of Standard Tools?

Cynics may view this as basically a new-sounding way for VMware to reconfigure and resell products it has had in the market for years, items such as vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vCloud Air Orchestrator and others. It may indeed be a recycling of familiar titles, but connecting entire clouds rather than applications in data center stacks also requires a new level of orchestration if it's all going to work as advertised.

The key side announcement to Cross-Cloud Architecture was that VMware and IBM are moving closer together to build these new-generation cloud-to-cloud systems that seem to get larger and more complicated all the time as new, faster and more efficient software is launched.

IBM and VMware will work side by side with their customers—the two companies have some 4,000 common enterprise users—to build these new multiple-cloud systems that will run on IBM's Blue Cloud. IBM, in fact, is the first vCloud Air Network partner delivering new services based on VMware Cloud Foundation with its VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud.

Don't Worry; AWS Is in the Picture, Also

AWS, by far the world's largest cloud services host and provider—in fact, 10 times larger than its three top competitors, IBM, Microsoft and Google—wasn't talked about in a partnership sense at VMworld, but that was because IBM was the elephant in the room. People can be certain that VMware will be working as closely with AWS and the others to build new cloud systems with Cross-Cloud as it will with IBM.

"We simply want to help people connect as many clouds as we can, and help them build their clouds on VMware infrastructure," CEO Pat Gelsinger told a press conference of about 150 international reporters after the keynote. "IBM is really a key player in this new initiative. With all their longtime expertise in all facets of cloud services, and in fact all of IT, it really is a perfect marriage for us and for our customers."

"Only an ecosystem of this size and power could pull something like this off," said Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell, which is in the final stages of legal red tape to complete the acquisition of EMC, including VMware and the rest of the vast EMC company domain.

Dell was on stage with Gelsinger for the opening keynote on Day 1 of the conference, which has brought 23,000 IT developers, analysts, partners and customers to the Mandalay Bay convention complex for most of the week.

Don't Forget Private Clouds

For private clouds, customers can obtain turnkey VxRack Systems integrated solutions from EMC today, or combine Cloud Foundation software with qualified VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and QCT, VMware said.

VMware Cloud Foundation runs any traditional or cloud-native application, from business-critical scale-up applications to distributed scale-out applications. Regardless of whether they are in VMs or containers, VMware Cloud Foundation provides a consistent infrastructure platform that delivers the unique performance, resiliency, security and manageability benefits of vSphere, Virtual SAN and VMware NSX. VMware Cloud Foundation integrates with existing VMware solutions to support cloud flexibility and choice, and enable business mobility.

"Using all these products together to run multiple cloud systems using one connecting operating system sounds like a good thing, but the key is: How is this all going to work?" analyst Jean Bozman, vice president of Hurwitz & Associates, told eWEEK. "This is sort of becoming VMware's own stack."

Rest assured, VMware will explain how it's all going to work this week. It simply didn't want to hit reporters with everything on the first day.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...