VMware has unveiled new features that will be part of Cloud Foundation 2.3 when it's released sometime before the end of the year. Cloud Foundation is VMware's advanced cloud infrastructure platform that supplies a complete set of software-defined compute, storage, network, and security services for running traditional or containerized apps in private or public cloud environments. It's designed for ease of use and includes automated lifecycle management.
The company stresses that this new version will ease the process of setting up and running hybrid clouds -- from compute to storage to networking. Hybrid solutions are important to VMware because that's where the smart money folks are placing their bets.
Despite the massive growth of public clouds in recent years, the move to the cloud is only getting started. VMware cites data collected by Inner Circle research in 2016 that indicates 73 percent of all workloads remain on company owned, on-premises facilities, with an additional 17 percent being located off-prem, in managed, hosted, or colocation, non-cloud environments.
This leaves the public cloud's share at 10 percent, split evenly between PaaS/IaaS and SaaS clouds. With these numbers it makes sense to VMware, along with a majority of other IT solutions providers, that enterprise adoption of the cloud will center around a hybrid approach, with much data remaining on-prem and the public cloud being utilized only where it provides an advantage.
To underline this point, VMware says that 67 percent of survey respondents indicate an "ideal end state" would rely on multiple clouds. This makes the holy grail, in the viewpoint of vendors like VMware, the seamless integration of existing on-prem infrastructures with public clouds.
To this end, VMWare is advertising features that will help make the move from all on-prem to a hybrid approach predictable and painless.
For example, through VMware's SDDC Manager, Cloud Foundation will automate the deployment and configuration of the vRealize suite, a cloud management platform for managing a hybrid cloud. This will include the suite's Automation, Operations, and Log Insights functions.
"The integration of VMware Cloud Foundation and vRealize Automation will help customers to achieve greater business agility by automating application and infrastructure service delivery via self-service capabilities and Day 2 operational capabilities across a hybrid cloud," VMware said in a statement. "Customers will be able to model complete application and infrastructure stacks in the form of blueprints that include compute, storage, networking, and security resources along with all of the relationships that bind them together."
However, other than a few minor tweaks, this is the only hybrid solution that's baked into the platform. Everything else that would ease the transition from traditional data center to hybrid cloud revolves around ways users can leverage services and products offered by VMware and its partners.
For customers who want to take a DIY approach to get Cloud Foundation up and running, VMware has partnered with Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Fujitsu, Lenovo, sister company Dell EMC and others to supply hardware that works and plays well with the platform's software. Customers who prefer a turnkey hardware/software approach can purchase pre-assembled, imaged at the factory and ready-to-run systems such as Fujitsu's PRIMEFLEX, QCT's QxStack, Hitachi's UCP RS, or Dell EMC's VxRack SDDC.
Or Cloud Foundation can be purchased as a cloud-based service with no installation or upkeep necessary, either directly from VMware on AWS, or from a list of five cloud providers.
There's nothing wrong with improving an offering through its support channels. Maybe even the opposite. It might be good to know that a team of companies are working to support a platform you're considering buying.
Although VMware's main selling point is on hybrid capabilities, there are other improvements to this new version. For example, version 2.3 will introduce heterogeneous server support, meaning it will support different server models within a single rack, along with the ability to select specific servers for each workload. This combination will provide users increased flexibility by allowing them to tailor environments to the needs of their applications. Additionally, increased hardware support will enable IT departments to achieve greater ROI on existing hardware.
In addition to a new and improved Cloud Foundation, VMware also announced today that Pivotal Container Service (PKS), a joint effort with another sister company, Pivotal, that simplifies the deployment and operations of Kubernetes clusters, will be available by mid-month. Also announced, NSX-T 2.1, the next version of the company's network virtualization and security platform. NSX-T 2.1 is the networking and security platform for PKS, and integrates with the latest 2.0 release of Pivotal Cloud Foundry.