VMware and the Cloud Ahead

    Cloud infrastructure consists of a plethora of systems, platforms, formats and other constructs that must be integrated into some sort of cohesive data environment if it is to provide real value to the enterprise. But there is one thing that all clouds have in common: an underlying virtual layer.

    This puts VMware in a pretty interesting position as the enterprise seeks to offload more of its workload to the cloud. The company basically brought virtualization into the modern age and now owns nearly all of the virtualized enterprise environment, which puts it in a good position to catapult itself into a leading role as organizations look to migrate even more of their workloads into the cloud and beyond.

    The key challenge going forward for the enterprise is to unite multi-cloud hybrid environments into an agile, seamless and highly scalable entity. At VMworld this week, the company pitched itself as the “cloud Switzerland,” according to Datacenter Knowledge, meaning it can leverage its Cloud Foundation software-defined data center (SDDC) platform as the glue that holds disparate environments together. As long as workloads sit atop VMware’s abstract virtualization layer, organizations have a consistent toolset that enables management across all of the leading cloud services.

    A key breakthrough in this effort is the expansion of an existing alliance with Amazon to host integrated Cloud Foundry deployments on AWS. This will allow enterprise vSphere customers to maintain operational consistency across hybrid infrastructure tied to Amazon’s industry-leading cloud, which should greatly enhance the ability to migrate and manage workloads across distributed architectures. The set-up also supports containerized workloads and dev/ops services under Pivotal Cloud Foundry and other platforms, and both companies say they are working to add new AWS regions for disaster recovery, data center consolidation and other objectives.

    VMware also inked a new deal with Pivotal and Google to bring container lifecycle management options to the Kubernetes orchestration platform. The new Pivotal Container Service (PKS) allows Kubernetes to be deployed on vSphere and the Google Container Engine, giving the enterprise the ability to maintain operational consistency across disparate cloud deployments. According to eWeek, the agreement has its roots in Project KUBO, which was a joint effort by Google and Pivotal to link Pivotal’s BOSH management system to Kubernetes. In addition to running KUBO (KUbernetes/BOsh, get it?) on vSphere, the system will also integrate with VMware’s NSX network virtualization stack and related VM/container solutions.

    But the cloud is only one phase of VMware’s plans. Ultimately, the company hopes to extend its reach to the IoT and all the way to user devices. The company has announced plans to turn its Workspace ONE platform into a unified end-user experience system that integrates virtually all third-party operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Chrome, iOS and Android. The idea is to integrate the AirWatch endpoint management technology that drives Workspace ONE with enhanced user identity capabilities to provide a simple user interface across multiple devices while still maintaining enterprise-class security. The project also integrates the Horizon 7 VDI platform into Cloud Foundation and the Dell EMC VDI Complete system to enable elastic compute, storage and network infrastructure for highly dynamic workflows.

    In normal circumstances, a strategy this ambitious would meet with a fair amount of skepticism from an industry that has long been suspicious of single-provider solutions. But these are not normal circumstances and VMware is not a normal company.

    The enterprise has already grown comfortable relying on VMware virtualization for its server infrastructure, so it isn’t much of a stretch to think they would want to extend that same familiar management environment onto the cloud. And with networking, container and virtual desktop solutions already integrated into an overarching SDDC ecosystem, it offers the enterprise the one thing it craves most in this age of digital transformation: an easy way to put end-to-end virtual infrastructure in place and under a single, unified management stack.

    Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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