VMware is making a concerted multi-cloud play following several announcements and services aimed at customers running their infrastructure across the major cloud providers, with a particular focus on partners IBM and Amazon Web Services.
Speaking on stage at VMworld Europe in Barcelona, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger talked up a variety of new services to support customers running in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
“At VMware we’ve been talking about this idea of the hybrid cloud for five years now and we’re seeing that the industry is agreeing on the definition that we’re bringing to the marketplace,” he said.
“In fact, we see pretty much everyone in the industry announce their hybrid cloud and their hybrid strategy and we’re doing this with the foundation built on the VMware Cloud Foundation," he added, talking about the vendor's proprietary architecture which essentially consists of bundled compute (vSphere), storage (VMware vSAN) and network virtualisation (NSX).
The CEO confirmed that Cloud Foundation, of which version 3.5 is coming in February next year, is built to enable customers to run an integrated hybrid cloud environment, with the necessary set of software-defined services for compute, storage, networking and security applications.
Although many organisations have already moved to the cloud, Gelsinger addressed what he sees as an industry trend towards hybrid or multi-cloud strategies.
Figures from analyst house Ovum found that even though 20 per cent of business processes are now in the cloud, 80 per cent of mission-critical workloads and sensitive data are still running on-premises due to performance and regulatory requirements.
Gelsinger said businesses are looking for an open approach to developing and running applications as a result.
“We believe that every business is on a multi-cloud journey," he said, "they’re taking advantage of hybrid cloud and the public cloud and these pairs are complimentary, co-existing."
In terms of helping customers, VMware announced the release of new services to build on its strategic partnership with IBM Cloud.
Firstly, IBM Cloud Private Hosted is now available on VMware vCenter Server, while the IBM Cloud for VMware solutions are now integrated with the fully managed IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service.
The vendor also announced that IBM will expand on the use of virtual cloud networking with VMware’s NSX-T data centre for unified networking and enhanced security.
“We’re now deeply integrated with NSX-T, enabling automated deployment of network virtualisation as well in support for containerised applications in Kubernetes,” he added.
"We have the richest set of partners in the industry and we support all major hardware vendors," Gelsinger said, reiterating the vendor's openness and flexibility.
“We’re delivering this Cloud Foundation on validated hardware, with integrated appliances as well from a range of cloud providers who are now releasing VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5 that expands the number of use cases that we support, that provides customers with a wider choice of infrastructure deployments."
VMware now counts 27 verified cloud partners, up from five just last year, including Rackspace, IBM Cloud and CenturyLink.
From these, IBM Cloud was recognised as Gelsigner's "most proud partner," due to its shared commitment to hybrid cloud deployments.
Gelsinger also announced that VMware Cloud on AWS is expanding to 16 new regions over the next year, starting with Ireland in Q4 2018 with Paris, Sweden and a bunch of Asia Pacific locations coming after.
According to Gelsinger, VMware’s Cloud Foundation 3.5 will provide customers with increased flexibility, with support from vSAN Ready Nodes, which are made by VMware's parent company Dell EMC.
Expanding on the vendor's commitment to virtual storage area network (vSAN), Gelsinger said: “At the centre of the VMware Cloud Foundation is vSAN and vSAN has now over 15,000 customers, 50 per cent of the global 2000 and 500+ cloud providers and over 30 per cent market share in the fastest growing hyper-converged solution in the industry today.
“Simply put, vSAN is the software defined cloud solution of choice rapidly leaving the competition behind. We’re seeing customers around the world taking advantage of this.”
Lastly, to further support its adoption and support of multi-cloud environments, Gelsinger announced that VMware has agreed to acquire Heptio - a company which specialises in helping organisations adopt Kubernetes, the massively popular open source container orchestration tool.
Although terms were not disclosed, the acquisition will see the opening of new channels for VMware to further engage with the open source community, whilst also meeting the cloud native needs of global customers.
“We’ve consistently bridged across, but it’s not just in the technical realm, it’s also the fundamental dilemma of people or profit but can we do both of these at the same time?" he asked.
"Milton Freeman had famously said that the sole purpose of business was to make the profit and I’d say there’s some truth to that, if the business isn’t profitable and successful nothing matters.
"But if you are being profitable and successful, everything matters, and again we see this approach where we fundamentally need to do well and do good, particularly for technology as it’s permeating every aspect of society today."