VMware Ups Multi-Cloud Ante With New Services, Expands Cloud Foundation In Play For Wider Cloud Adoption

VMware Monday introduced a new series of cloud services the company hopes will help channel partners make it easier for customers to work in multi-cloud environments.

The new offering, called VMware Cloud Services, is part of an overall cloud strategy that provides enterprises with flexibility in driving their core technologies, said Chris Wolf, vice president and chief technology officer for global field and industry at VMware.

VMware also increased the ecosystem of its VMware Cloud Foundation with the addition of new partners.

[Related: VMware Intros Integrated Software-Defined Data Center Tech With New VMware Cloud Foundation]

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"Our technology is providing a lot of flexibility to help customers become more agile," Wolf told CRN.

Public clouds allow an application to quickly scale, he said. "But to simplify the operations and get past the challenges of the cloud, customers look to VMware," he said. "We provide the ability to enforce network and security policies across different clouds."

VMware plans to use its annual VMworld conference, being held this week in Las Vegas, to show VMware Cloud Services and other new offerings working on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and possibly on other public clouds, Wolf said.

VMware Cloud Services brings together six services, some new and some enhanced versions of services already available, to provide Software-as-a-Service-based cloud management.

VMware Cloud Services are aimed at helping customers use cloud-native applications while ensuring they have the types of controls they are used to via their VMware tools, Wolf said. They provide a unified approach to presenting end-to-end metrics around cloud use, cost, traffic and analytics, he said.

The first, Discovery, provides visibility into applications and resources a customer is using in public or private clouds, Wolf said. "It really gives enterprises a look into DevOps," he said. "Software developers might go off and develop something out of sight of the enterprise. Discovery shows these cases, and lets enterprises add their controls."

The second is NSX Cloud, which Wolf said allows the development of secure clouds with micro-segmentation. "It provides consistent network management and policies across multiple cloud environments," he said.

The third, Wavefront, is based on VMware's April acquisition of Wavefront, a big data startup that developed a real-time analytics platform that businesses used to monitor and manage the performance of their IT systems. "Wavefront provides deep analytics on applications in real time," Wolf said. "It shows any anomalies and dependencies, and helps prevent pinpoint challenges."

The fourth, Network Insight, is based on VMware's vRealize Network Insight, or vRNI, which provides visibility and management of overlay and underlay networks. vRNI came from VMware's 2016 acquisition of Arkin. With Network Insight, customers see application dependencies, Wolf said. "For example, if a customer migrates an app to AWS, it looks at things like dependencies on RISC-based environments which will not work in the cloud," he said.

The fifth is Cost Insight, which helps customers track and analyze costs and trends across multiple clouds, Wolf said. "It provides insight into the true cost of running an app," he said. "Prior to Cost Insight, there was a lot of guesswork involved."

The sixth, VMware AppDefense, is aimed at protecting customer applications and infrastructure based on the growing VMware NSX software-defined networking platform across multiple clouds, Wolf said. The close tie to NSX provides a detailed understanding of the known good state of an application. "Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, we look at defining what the app can do right from the start," he said.

It looks like VMware is bringing together a number of existing and new services aimed at helping customers take advantage of the company's technology while moving more of their infrastructure to the cloud, said Scott Miller, senior director of the data center business at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based solution provider and longtime VMware channel partner.

"This is further differentiating VMware from any other vendors in taking virtualized environments to the cloud," Miller told CRN. "VMware is addressing real issues that customers have."

VMware also expanded its VMware Cloud Foundation, a natively integrated infrastructure stack combining the company's vSphere server virtualization technology, VSAN software-defined storage technology and NSX software-defined networking technology. VMware Cloud Foundation provides a universal platform to run any application across private and public clouds.

New to VMware Cloud Foundation are additional partners including CenturyLink, Rackspace and Fujitsu, which join IBM as providers of globally consistent infrastructures as code to run all traditional and modern applications with programmatic networking and storage, Wolf said.

Also new are integrated hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that combine VMware Cloud Foundation with such hardware platforms as Dell EMC VxRack SDDC, Hitachi Data Systems UCP-RS, Fujitsu Primeflex and Quanta Cloud Technology's QxStack. Cisco, Hitachi Data Systems, Fujitsu, and Lenovo have all unveiled servers certified to run VMware Cloud Foundation, he said.

VMware Cloud Foundation gives partners an opportunity to rethink how they deploy applications, Wolf said.

"There will always be applications that need tender loving care and customization to run," he said. "But other applications just work at scale regardless of the hardware environments. Partners are seeing the need to pivot to these new modern applications because of how the world is changing."