Oct 05 2021

VMworld 2021: New Services Aim to Help Companies Manage Multicloud Environments

VMware is entering the next phase in its evolution, shifting emphasis from data center virtualization to cloud-based application management.

As it enters what its new CEO described as the third chapter in its evolution as a business, VMware this week declared its intention to become the leader in multicloud services, unveiling a raft of new offerings to help businesses build, manage and secure their applications in any cloud.

“At this point, it’s clear: Multicloud is the model businesses are going to use for the next 20 years,” said VMware CEO Rangarajan Raghuram, kicking off VMworld 2021, the company’s annual event for customers, analysts, partners and journalists. This was Raghuram’s first VMworld keynote address since becoming CEO in June.

Raghuram noted that the average business is running roughly 500 applications, and “those apps are spread far and wide.”

“Our research shows that 75 percent of businesses are now using at least two public clouds, and 40 percent are using three or more,” he said.

The shift to multicloud environments has accelerated over the past 20 months due to the pandemic, and has been driven by organizations’ desire to access the best services from each cloud provider and to avoid provider lock-in, Raghuram said. “Multicloud is all about the ability to build and run a more diverse set of applications,” he said. “You can select the cloud based on the needs of the app and what your business demands.”

VMware Unveils Cross-Cloud Services

The increasing popularity of multicloud approaches has prompted VMware, originally a pioneer in server and data center virtualization, to present itself moving forward as a multicloud solutions provider.

At VMworld, it announced Cross-Cloud Services, a new set of integrated services that enable organizations to build, run and secure applications across multicloud environments. VMware says these services will accelerate cloud journeys, save companies money on their cloud deployments and set them free to choose any cloud.

Raghuram said that VMware would focus on five “building blocks” with Cross-Cloud Services: platforms for building applications, infrastructure for running them, cloud management for monitoring application performance across different clouds, security and networking, and digital workspace solutions.

The new services will feel familiar to existing VMware customers, he said: “We’re taking the products you know and trust and expanding their capabilities for a multicloud world.” Among the new offerings is the Tanzu Application Platform, which gives application developers “an orchestrated path to production” for their code, he said. Project Arctic is “basically vSphere as a Service,” Raghuram said, referring to VMware’s flagship server virtualization software. Project Ensemble is a cloud management offering meant to give customers more control over application costs, security and performance.

“Each of these innovations will work across all the major clouds,” he said. “It’s flexible and modular, so you can pick and choose which services you want on which cloud you want.”

DISCOVER MORE: Learn about Infrastructure-as-a-Service options. 

How the Cloud Helped Save Restaurants

One born-in-the-cloud VMware customer is Toast, a point-of-sale solution provider to the restaurant industry. When the pandemic struck and restaurants shuttered, Toast was forced to innovate.

“Our team said, ‘OK, we have to pivot right now. Scaling projects can wait, stability projects can wait.’ It became, ‘How do we keep our restaurants in business?’” said Ken Siskind, senior engineering program manager for Toast. “People had ideas about what kinds of features we could build to help our customers.”

One idea turned into an application, built in the cloud, that allows restaurant customers to access a restaurant’s menu on their phones by scanning a QR code, allowing patrons to order contactlessly. Now, adds Siskind, “things have opened up again and we’re back to, ‘Hey, we still have to scale, we still have to make our platform stable.’”

VMware is introducing its Cross-Cloud Services lineup as a way of helping organizations like Toast, which is based in Boston, address the challenges that come with multicloud environments. These include workloads that are far more diverse and cloud-native, and enterprise architecture that is more widely distributed, said Raghuram.

“Meanwhile, your customers and employees expect instant access to all these applications at all times, and the security better not slow them down,” he said. All this complexity forces businesses to confront potential tradeoffs between values, such as developer autonomy and consistency of code or security and workplace applications that are accessible from anywhere.

VMware is striving to help businesses have it all, Raghuram said: “We believe every organization should have freedom and control in their multicloud environments.”

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Getty Images/ Mlenny