At the VMworld 2016 conference today, VMware laid claim to the management of cloud computing in all its forms. With the unveiling of a preview of a VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture, VMware today made it clear that it plans to extend its current dominance of virtual IT environments deployed on premise into the realms of both public and private cloud computing.
Rather than thinking strictly in terms of public clouds replacing on premise IT environments, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger says, organizations will need a way to manage and secure applications regardless of whether application workloads are running on premise or in the cloud.
The VMware approach to providing that capability across multiple public and private clouds is based on VMware Cloud Foundation, a new suite of hybrid cloud software designed to make it simpler to first build a private cloud on top of a software-defined data center (SDDC) that can be extended into the realm of public clouds.
Using new software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications being developed by VMware, IT organizations would then be able to employ the VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture and VMware Cloud Foundation to support both application workloads initially running on private clouds based on VMware and on public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and vCloud Air. Existing VMware management tools running on premise, however, can already manage to varying degrees many of these same public clouds. The difference now is that hybrid cloud management tools will be provided as a suite of SaaS applications sometime in the future.
Regardless of the approach, Gelsinger says, the ability to deploy application workloads anywhere in a way that enables IT organizations to manage and secure them regardless of where they happen to be running is becoming a crucial IT requirement.
“VMware of the past was about providing hardware freedom,” says Gelsinger. “The VMware of the future is about providing cloud freedom.”
As part of that effort, VMware also announced that it is extending its alliance with IBM to create a managed service delivered by IBM using VMware Cloud Foundation. That relationship is the first in a series of what Gelsinger says will be multiple industry partnerships for delivering managed IT services using VMware Cloud Foundation accessed via a subscription.
At the moment, however, Gelsinger says 73 percent of application workloads are still running on traditional IT platforms. At that rate, it will be 2021 before half of all application workloads are running in the cloud; and even by then only 30 percent of those workloads will be running in the public cloud. That said, Gelsinger notes that organizations are already making use of eight clouds on average. In that context, Gelsinger says, it’s clear IT organizations will need to find ways to manage multiple forms of IT for years to come.
Of course, VMware is hardly the only vendor with similar ambitions. But given its core strengths in the data center today it’s fair to say that VMware will be a force to be reckoned with in what is now a multi-cloud world.