VMware is pitching itself as the manager of businesses’ hybrid cloud environments and is promising companies greater flexibility to run applications in a common operating environment across both private and multiple public cloud services.
The cloud services vendor unveiled its Cross-Cloud Architecture at the VMworld 2016 conference in Las Vegas, which could yield large benefits for small to medium-sized businesses running apps with multiple public cloud service providers. [Explore all our live coverage from VMworld 2016 here.]
Small businesses have been increasingly adopting cloud services. According to research firm IDC’s “State of the SMB Cloud: 2016 U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Business Cloud Adoption Survey,” from 2010 to 2015, U.S. SMB cloud adoption went from less than 20 percent of firms to more than 70 percent for small companies (those with fewer than 100 employees) and more than 90 percent of midmarket firms (those with 100 to 999 employees). IDC reports that small businesses are running an average of four cloud services or apps, and midmarket firms are running an average of eight.
“IT is now leaving the nest of the technology department, and cloud and IT are now permeating every aspect of business — and now, because of IoT, every aspect of the physical world as well,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said during VMworld’s opening keynote session.
“CIOs and IT professionals now need to manage a multiple-device, multiple-application and multiple-cloud world, and they don't have the tools to do that,” Gelsinger added in an interview with Bloomberg News ahead of the conference. “We can uniquely partner with them to give them the ability to run, manage and secure an application across multiple clouds and deliver it on any device.”
Letting Businesses Manage Across Multiple Clouds
As small businesses have adopted more cloud services, their cloud environments have grown increasingly complex, with some apps running on Microsoft’s Azure, for example, and others running in Google’s Public Cloud, IBM Cloud or Amazon Web Services. Additionally, they may still be running some apps in on-premises cloud environments.
VMware says that its Cross-Cloud Services are new Software as a Service offerings that will let businesses manage cloud apps running across all of those different public cloud services.
Cross-Cloud Services are designed to give businesses more information about their cloud app usage and costs. Cross-Cloud Services will also let companies deliver consistent networking and security policies across their different cloud services. Further, they will let companies automate the deployment, management and migration of applications and data across vSphere and non-vSphere private and public clouds.
With a common operating environment for both public clouds and on-premises workloads, companies’ IT departments can protect data and applications and control costs, according to VMware, all while letting companies use the cloud apps they want from different public cloud service providers.
Businesses’ IT managers and departments will be able to use Cross-Cloud Services to find, deploy and manage public cloud apps. In terms of security, companies can use microsegmentation and monitoring to provide security and compliance for applications across the different clouds. IT departments will be able to manage cross-cloud applications and deliver security and compliance rules to all of their cloud services, according to VMware.
New Cloud Tools for Businesses
VMware also used its opening keynote of the conference to announce several new products and evolutions of its services. A key one is VMware Cloud Foundation, which will serve as a unified software-defined data center platform that makes it easy for businesses to manage and run their SDDC clouds.
VMware Cloud Foundation is a hyperconverged infrastructure solution for building private clouds that combines software-defined compute, storage and networking. For the first time, Cloud Foundation marries VMware’s highly scalable hyperconverged software (such as VMware vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN) with the company’s network virtualization platform, VMware NSX.
The Cloud Foundation platform can run any traditional or cloud-native application, VMware says. Regardless of whether they are in virtual machines or containers, the company says Cloud Foundation provides companies with a consistent infrastructure platform.
The company also unveiled VMware SDDC Manager, a core component of Cloud Foundation, which helps customers and cloud service providers automate the deployment and management of VMware cloud software.
SDDC Manager helps companies build and maintain the entire VMware cloud software stack. According to VMware, this will free businesses’ cloud administrators from having to install, configure, manage and update their cloud infrastructure. VMware says the tool will let cloud administrators build a complete cloud in a matter of hours — the company estimates a six- to eightfold reduction in the time required to deploy cloud infrastructure — and save companies 30 to 40 percent on the total cost of ownership.
Additionally, for the first time, VMware Cloud Foundation offers a new “as a service” option that delivers the software-defined data center in a hybrid cloud environment. VMware also enhanced its partnership with IBM to let businesses automatically provision preconfigured VMware SDDC environments on IBM Cloud in hours, rather than weeks or months.
VMware says Cloud Foundation is expected be generally available in the third quarter of 2016, as is Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud.