VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram opened VMworld 2021 by highlighting that “it’s no longer about a ‘cloud first’ approach—it’s about being ‘cloud smart’. Organisations should have the freedom to choose the ’right’ cloud, based on their strategic business goals.” To this end, “Multi-cloud is the digital business model for the next 20 years, as entire industries reinvent themselves.”
Multi-cloud doesn’t just mean deploying applications across 2 or 3 of the major hyperscalers. It’s about building a more diverse set of applications, and selecting the cloud for that application based on the needs of the business. The challenge is that each cloud has its own siloed tooling, making it difficult to manage, connect, and secure applications. With data centres being transformed into private clouds, public cloud services, and applications being pushed out to the edge, a consistent approach to infrastructure with secure connectivity and access is needed.
Raghu set out the power of ‘and‘, promising customers freedom and control, by prioritising developer autonomy and DevSecOps efficiency, enterprise apps on any cloud and full control with cost savings, anywhere access for employees and world-class security. This vision is delivered through VMware Cross-Cloud Services; a family of multi-cloud services to build, run, and secure applications across any cloud. VMware Cross-Cloud Services enables innovation through 5 core building blocks:
- VMware Tanzu: a state of the art platform for building and deploying cloud-native applications
- VMware Cloud: cloud infrastructure for operating, running, and modernising enterprise applications
- VMware vRealize Cloud: cloud based management for monitoring and managing the performance and cost of applications across difference clouds
- VMware Carbon Black Cloud and VMware NSX Cloud: security and networking spanning multi-cloud operations to connect and secure all applications
- VMware Workspace ONE and VMware Edge Compute Stack: an anywhere workspace to empower the distributed workforce, along with edge solutions to deploy and manage edge-native applications
The key benefits of VMware Cross-Cloud Services are speed; accelerating the journey to cloud, spend; making big gains in cost efficiency, and freedom; cross-cloud choices for maximum flexibility.
Continuing with the theme of and, VMware President Sumit Dhawan introduces VMware Tanzu Application Platform as being built for developers, and operations, and Cloud Centres of Excellence. VMware Tanzu Application Platform is a complete system for building and managing applications on Kubernetes, and was actually announced in September. You can find out more from the VMware Tanzu Application Platform blog. Sumit then announces VMware Tanzu Community Edition (more on this below), along with Project Dawn Patrol, which will provide full visibility for each cloud asset and its dependencies, across cloud providers. Review the high level messaging in more detail at the VMworld 2021 Day 1 Highlights: Accelerate Innovation blog, watch the VMworld General Session, or check out The Best of VMworld 2021 – On Demand blog.
Announcing general availability of VMware Tanzu Community Edition. A free, open source, and community supported deployment that’s full-featured and easy to manage. Tanzu Community Edition can be installed in minutes and used to learn and evaluate with small-scale or preproduction environments. You can find out more from the Introducing VMware Tanzu Community Edition blog, the VMware Tanzu Community home page, and VMworld demo session Get up and Running with VMware Tanzu in 10 mins on Your Local Workstation with Tanzu Community Edition! [DEM2811]. Also coming soon, Tanzu Mission Control Starter, centralising management of Kubernetes clusters from multiple providers, for free. You can sign up at the VMware Tanzu Mission Control Starter page.
Announcing general availability of Dell APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud. Dell’s APEX Services have partnered with VMware Cloud Services to provide on-premises Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), a fully managed Dell hardware and VMware software stack physically located at the customers site. All aspects of the service and underlying infrastructure are supported and maintained by Dell. The service is available with a 99.99% availability guarantee in 1 or 3 year terms, and can be ordered through the APEX portal which also allows customers to subscribe, operate, and optimise their local cloud. For more information see the Announcing Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud blog and VMworld sessions The Future of Local and Distributed Cloud with VMware and Dell Technologies [MCL2735] and Cloud or On-Prem? BOTH – APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud Brings the Cloud to the Data Center [MCL2152].
Announcing technology preview of Project Arctic and Project Cascade. Project Arctic is a really exciting development, aimed at bringing hybrid cloud to customers existing vSphere deployment model. Project Arctic will make vSphere cloud-aware, by integrating VMware Cross-Cloud Services featuring scale out capacity to any cloud, and disaster recovery capabilities. Furthermore, customers on-premises environments can transition to as-a-service; with hands off maintenance and pay-as-you-grow consumption. Project Cascade builds on VMware’s Kubernetes investments, providing a unified interface for on-demand infrastructure and containers across VMware Cloud platforms from a single API or GUI. Project Cascade will enable true open multi-cloud powered by Kubernetes. For more information on Projects Arctic and Cascade see the vSphere Innovation blog.
Announcing technology preview of Project Capitola. Last year VMware announced Project Monterey; boosting performance by offloading infrastructure service functions to DPUs, as well as strengthening security by isolating workload and infrastructure domains. Building on these hardware innovation and next gen workload themes, Project Capitola provides applications with a transparent, unified, and scalable software defined memory tier. Memory types across PMEM, DRAM, NVMe, and future technologies are aggregated, creating a unified consumption model of memory resources. This solves the upcoming problem of building silos of memory tiers for different business and budget needs. You can find out more on in the Introducing Project Capitola blog, and VMworld sessions Introducing VMware Project Capitola: Unbounding the ‘Memory Bound’ [MCL1453] and Prepared for the New Memory Technology in Next Year’s Enterprise Servers? [VI2334].
Announcing the VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative. In an era where data is king, technologists and decision makers rely more and more on dominant hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google. Whilst organisations can retain a level of control through building, generally complex, security architectures; handing the keys to the kingdom to US-based entities should be treated with caution. Joe Baguley, VP & CTO EMEA, VMware, explains more in the blog post Sovereign Clouds: Cloud-first to cloud-smart. With this in mind, VMware have announced the Sovereign Cloud initiative, providing cloud services for data sovereignty and local mandates through VMware Cloud Providers that have met the requirements of the Sovereign Cloud Framework. You can read more in the blog Sovereign Cloud is here, and it’s delivered by VMware Cloud Providers.
If you’re confused by all the ‘projects’ announced as technology previews by VMware you can review them all in one place from the VMworld 2021 – Summary of VMware Projects blog by Michael Rebmann.
VMware Cloud on AWS
- Announcing general availability of Tanzu Services with VMware Cloud on AWS. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) provides a Kubernetes runtime directly inside the hypervisor, compliant with upstream Kubernetes, and enabling management of both virtual machines and containers from within the vSphere Client. Tanzu Mission Control (TMC) centralises lifecycle and policy management, with global visibility and diagnostics, across all Kubernetes clusters from a single pane of glass. There is no extra cost for TKG and TMC Essentials, this is built into the existing VMware Cloud on AWS pricing which is fantastic news for existing customers.
- Announcing general availability of VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts. VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts brings all the goodness of the VMware Software-Defined Data Centre, with the cloud operating model of AWS, directly into the customers on-premises location. Network teams can plumb in local connections, while the service retains its integration with native AWS services and hybrid linked mode connectivity with other vSphere-based environments.
- Limited time price promotion: 1-year or 3-year subscriptions for i3.metal hosts, purchased between 15 October 2021 and 26 January 2021, are eligible for a 15% discount.
- Support for 2-host Stretched Cluster. Allowing highly available deployments across 2 Availability Zones with a host in each with a 99.9% availability guarantee.
- Integration and support for VMware Carbon Black Workload and VMware NSX Advanced Firewall add-on. The NSX Advanced Firewall add-on provides Distributed Intrusion Detection/Prevention System (IDS/IPS), and Distributed Firewall with FQDN filtering, layer 7 app ID, and Active Directory based user Identity Firewall (IDFW).
- SDDC v1.16, upgrading to major releases of all core products; vSphere 7.0 U3, vSAN 7.0 U3, NSX-T v3.1.3, and VM hardware v17.
- VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (VCDR) introduction of the 30-minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO) for mission critical on-premises workloads. File and folder-level recovery for accelerated ransomware recovery.
You can find out more about these VMware Cloud on AWS announcements from the following resources:
- VMworld 2021 Session Migrate and Modernize Applications with VMware Cloud on AWS – What’s New [MCL1379]
- VMware Cloud on AWS Blog: What’s New in Oct 2021
- VMware Cloud on AWS Blog: Introducing VMware Cloud with Tanzu Services
- VMware Cloud on AWS Blog: Announcing Availability of VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts
- VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery Blog: What’s New at VMworld with DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS)
SASE and Edge
Earlier in the year VMware released the blueprint for their Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). This started with VMware Secure Access; enabling zero trust remote access for the distributed workforce, shrinking the attack surface, and routing traffic optimally. VMware SASE is now being enhanced with 2 new services announced at VMworld 2021. Both are hosted at VMware’s SASE Points of Presence (PoP) and integrate seamlessly with VMware Secure Access:
- Announcing Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). VMware’s CASB solution helps IT gain more visibility into shadow IT, and control trusted or untrusted applications based on the users role within the organisation.
- Announcing Data Loss Prevention (DLP). VMware’s DLP solution protects against data leaks and helps comply with data privacy laws, improving security and compliance postures.
The next key announcement in anywhere workspace features new capabilities built into the Workspace One platform. The Workspace One device health engine proactively ensures endpoints are fully secured, and blocks access to resources for devices that don’t meet security posture requirements. Secondly, a new AI-driven capability will identify user experience and security anomalies, then finds the root cause and makes fix recommendations. You can review the full list of end user computing announcements in the blog All our VMworld 2021 Anywhere Workspace, Workspace ONE and Horizon Announcements.
Announcing VMware Edge Compute Stack. VMware Edge Compute Stack builds vSphere, Tanzu, and SD-WAN services into edge Hyper-Converged Infrastructure to run VM or container based edge-native applications at the far and near edge. SASE architecture with on-demand cloud services provides SD-WAN and Secure Access services with high performance close to users, from edge appliances. Building on both these concepts is Project Santa Cruz; consolidated edge applications with deployment capabilities for network services, SD-WAN, and application services. These capabilities require only a single hardware investment, with functionality then pushed out through software updates.
Another innovative and relevant announcement was the technical preview of SD-WAN for First Responders. SD-WAN for First Responders enables SD-WAN connectivity with L2 redundancy across LTE/5G carriers in a compact, mobile, ruggedized form factor. Packets are steered across links in real time, and then reassembled at the edge gateways. Testing has proven carrier changing at high speeds without packet loss, with additional Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities for temporary sites or emergency scenes.
Check out the great Edge Computing in the VMware Office of the CTO: Innovations on the Horizon [VI2484] VMworld 2021 session for more information, as well as the VMware Edge Compute Stack product page.
vRealize Cloud Management
Announcing tech preview of Project Ensemble. Although vRealize Operations has been intended as the central operational view for VMware and cloud based infrastructure, there is work to do to fully integrate and switch between solutions and platforms. Enter Project Ensemble. Project Ensemble allows users to track an entity consistently across all VMware solutions, from a unified control plane. Metrics and insights from the breadth of the vRealize Suite are used to deliver a public cloud consumption experience, with in-context switching for deep dives, global search, and unified configuration history. App-centric management enhances application discovery across the portfolio, including deep analysis of app behaviour, with the context of the underlying infrastructure or service. Machine Learning (ML) digests and understands unique environmental behaviours, predicts app and infrastructure behaviour, and creates a unified analytics approach to operational information.
Announcing changes to vRealize True Visibility Suite (TVS). All compute and storage management packs are now included in all editions of vRealize Operations at no extra cost. This gives existing and new consumers monitoring and insights out of the box for hardware such as Dell, EMC, HPE, Nimble, IBM, Lenovo, NetApp, Pure Storage, and Cohesity. TVS Advanced and Enterprise are still available as an uplift covering additional modules for things like application, database, and network. vRealize Operations now includes some nice in-app guides and customer journey maps to improve time-to-value with day 0 guided onboarding, configurations, dashboards, and notifications. Additionally, vROps looks to have benefited from a nice UI upgrade, along with some new sustainability dashboards.
You can find out more about these vRealize Cloud Management announcements from the following resources:
- VMworld 2021 Session: Introducing Project Ensemble Tech Preview [MCL1301]
- VMware Cloud Management Blog: Introducing Project Ensemble
- VMware Cloud Management Blog: What’s New in vRealize Operations 8.6 Feature Walkthrough
- VMworld 2021 Session: A Big Update on vRealize Operations [MCL1277]
- Rudi Martinsen Blog: vRealize – Whats New October 2021
A closing point of note, is that Skyline Advisor Pro is available free of charge to Production, Premier, vRealize Cloud Universal, and Success 360 customers. Skyline Advisor Pro is faster, bringing in new data within 4 hours, features smarter insights and historical data, including end of support information, and simpler to use. Not technically a VMworld release but a recent announcement that can provide value at no extra cost. For more information take a look at the Announcing Skyline Advisor Pro: The Next Level of Proactive Intelligence blog.
Finally, huge shout out to the Virtually Speaking Podcast, where you can find 15 minute episodes on many of the topics above which I used to recap VMworld while out on the road.