At VMWorld this week the virtualization giant is announcing a new integrated system for building private clouds made up of the company’s virtualized compute, network and storage products packaged together with a new management software.
VMware calls its new VMware Cloud Foundation product a hyperconverged infrastructure offering. It’s also meant to be the basis for VMware’s software defined data center (SDDC). Cloud Foundation will be available to run on customers’ premises or in the public cloud, making it the basis for a hybrid cloud too.
Cloud Foundation is a packaging of the company’s traditional compute virtualization software vSphere with its NSX network virtualization product and its VSAN software-defined storage area network product. Cloud Foundation also includes a new software management product named SDDC Manager which controls the virtualized compute, network and storage resources. Combined, VMware envisions this system as the basis for building private clouds, running virtual desktops and hosting newly-built applications.
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“In many respects, people say - boy, cloud is easy,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a pre-VMWorld interview with Network World describing Cloud Foundation. “Well, cloud is easy if you do easy things; but if you want to now start setting up complex networks, security domains, connect old apps to new apps, those are not easy. What VMware Cloud Foundation is doing is bringing together all those pieces to make it easy for day one as well as for day two.”
VMware is offering Cloud Foundation in multiple flavors: Customers can buy it from VMware partner VCE as an integrated, pre-loaded system complete with hardware and software. Another option is to buy hardware from partners including Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco and Arista, and the Cloud Foundation software from VMware. Third, VMware is offering Cloud Foundation as a hosted public cloud platform available from the IBM Cloud. More than 4,000 VMware service provider partners will also have an opportunity to host Cloud Foundation too.
Earlier this year IBM and VMware announced a strategic engineering and go to market partnership; this announcement is one of the fruits of that deal. By partnering with IBM’s public cloud and its cloud partners, VMware is attempting to offer its users a common management platform that could span an on-premises private cloud with a hosted public cloud.
The move by VMware to bring a hybrid cloud computing platform to market comes as Microsoft is preparing to offer a similar product on to the market. Microsoft’s Azure Stack is marketed as being an on-premises version of its Azure public cloud that will provide hybrid cloud compatibility between the two.
Industry analyst Kurt Marko with Marko Insights says Cloud Foundation is the natural evolution of VMware’s software products coming together into a single product. One advantage Microsoft could have over Cloud Foundation is that Microsoft’s Azure Stack is compatible with its Azure public cloud; VMware will be linking Cloud Foundation with IBM’s public cloud. “It will depend on how tight that integration is,” Marko says.
The moves by VMware and Microsoft are important in the cloud market because IaaS cloud leader Amazon Web Services does not offer an AWS on-premises private cloud option. VMware and Microsoft are looking to capitalize on that opportunity.