VMware's Big Vision: Deliver Any Application, On Any Device On Any Cloud

Maintaining a tradition of innovation, VMware has extended its technology from the data center into public clouds, hyper-converged infrastructure, and edge devices, Muneyb Minhazuddin, VMware's vice president of solutions product marketing, told attendees of The NexGen 2017 Conference & Technology Expo.

"Our vision is to deliver any application on any device on any cloud," Minhazuddin said Wednesday at the conference in Los Angeles.

VMware has been disrupting technology since it released the hypervisor that first virtualized compute, then expanded that product into a broad private cloud solution. But the current portfolio stretches across a broad range of environments, with security embedded throughout, he said.

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"For VMware, innovation has been the core of how we've gone to market. We've disrupted the market in everything we do," Minhazuddin told NexGen attendees.

The company's public cloud strategy goes beyond partners currently offering VMware environments—most notably Amazon Web Services and IBM.

"Our cloud strategy has gone from building my own cloud to really consistent infrastructure across as many clouds as possible and consistent operations across all the clouds out there," he said.

The inclusive, multi-cloud approach is driven by the monumental change that's taking place across all verticals in what businesses expect from their technology.

"Tech used to be a support system for the business. Now, across all industries, tech is actually becoming a business," Minhazuddin said, adding companies not leveraging technology to run their businesses are being left behind.

That imperative for digital transformation is focusing attention at the top of the stack.

"What we see is it's all about the app. Your customer experience comes down to those applications," Minhazuddin said. Enterprises want more cloud-native applications, developed fast with DevOps-oriented methodologies.

"The barrier to entry is as simple as, I have an idea, I spin up an app, I host it in the cloud," Minhazuddin said.

VMware's comprehensive strategy starts with the company's bread and butter—private cloud. Newly developed products make private clouds easier to deploy, manage and secure, he said.

With VMware Cloud Foundation, the company bundled all the elements of hybrid cloud, including NSX virtualized networking and vSAN storage, and added lifecycle automation to tackle mundane infrastructure maintenance.

That makes the on-premises environment start looking like a cloud, with the "data center running on auto-pilot," freeing IT teams to focus on delivering applications for the business.

VMware also extended vSAN into Dell-EMC hyper-converged appliances VxRack and VxRail—a common request from CIOs looking to leverage hyper-converged infrastructure.

The platform then "landed into AWS," Minhazuddin said. While the deal struck with Amazon to offer VMware environments in the public cloud was game-changing as far as facilitating hybrid environments, it was only a part of VMware's grand vision.

"What we realized is there's not going to be a single destination," he said.

The strategy was to provide consistent infrastructure in the data center and to public cloud partners like AWS, IBM, Microsoft Azure for Desktop-as-a-Service, Google Cloud Platform for a managed Kubernetes container service, and thousands of MSPs running VMware environments.

But where the company didn't have a partnership that could yield consistent infrastructure, it looked to still enable consistent operations, he said.

To that end, VMware Cloud Services delivers a host of management capabilities across private and all public clouds embedded into offerings like NSX, the Wavefront monitoring and analytics platform, the new AppDefense security platform, Workspace One user management, AirWatch device management, and more.

The broad scope of its products helps customers transform their approach to cybersecurity, Minhazuddin said, an area where scale really starts to cause uncertainty for customers. "We're here to transform and lead the industry in secure infrastructure," he told NexGen attendees.

VMware built "cyber hygiene" security principles directly into its infrastructure to deliver an integrated ecosystem that always implements the "fundamental things you do to keep a state of good."

The five pillars of that approach are least privilege, segmenting networks and data, end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, and patching. All the high-profile attacks in 2017 resulted from failures in at least one of those fronts, he said.

Sourena Amini, a principal engineer at Sage Software who attended the NexGen session, told CRN VMware is wisely looking to solve one of the most significant problems in cloud computing—the difficulty in moving workloads between providers.

"He was talking about how we can abstract the unit of business with unit of computing, storage and networking," Amini said. "The holy grail is to have common standards to go to any vendor. These guys are trying to make that happen at a smaller scale within their own ecosystem."

Ubiquitous standards based on APIs are still years off, Amini said, but VMware is achieving something resembling that goal on a smaller scale.

And security is an essential component of that vision. "You have to apply [security] to all, not just one vendor," he said.