VMWORLD 2016: VMware offered greater assurances to customers this year, showcasing its showcased its strategy for digital transformation, offering “any app, any device, any cloud”
Heading to the cloud
Gelsinger said that currently 27 percent of IT workloads run in a cloud environment, compared to 73 percent on traditional infrastructure. The number of cloud workloads will keep rising until equality is reached in 2021. And it won’t just be one cloud that companies are using; even now organisations run an average of eight clouds and 175 third-party SaaS applications.
That sounds like a nightmare of complexity, with different applications running on different clouds and being accessed of different devices.
But the strategy presented at VMworld Europe suggests VMware sees itself as unifying all those elements. It wants to enable companies to be able to run, manage and secure public, private and hybrid cloud environments. And, most importantly, it doesn’t matter whether a business runs on AWS, Google Cloud, IBM SoftLayer or Microsoft Azure. VMware wants to manage them all.
That was the key message of its Cross-Cloud Architecture announcements. From an end user perspective updates to Workspace One give IT the opportunity to offer access to any enterprise-approved application from any device, whether it’s a personal one or a company-owned one. This gives users the freedom to choose the device they want, and gives IT the control over access.
Workspace One segments access to the enterprise applications, essentially creating a walled-off section of the device, which blocks sensitive, corporate data from getting out. With this approach it doesn’t matter what kind of device is being used, nor what infrastructure the applications are running on.
VMware is also going all-in on supporting containers, which are vital for getting software to run properly when moved between computing environments.
The raft of software updates announced on day one all had container-related elements. vSphere and vSAN both introduced container support, while vRealize Automation now features something called Admiral. This is a highly scalable and lightweight container management portal, VMware said.
In addition to this, VMware also announced built-in support for Kubernetes in its Photon Platform. Kubernetes is an open source container management system originally developed by Google. Photon Platform, meanwhile, is VMware’s enterprise cloud-native infrastructure platform. It offers a public cloud style experience from a company’s own data centre.
Kit Colbert, CTO of VMware’s Cloud Platform Business Unit, said: “Kubernetes provides an environment for deployment and management of containerised apps. And on Photon Platform it’s super easy for developers to start using. They don’t need to understand the internals of Kubernetes; they can just click a couple of buttons and go. It’s enhanced with all the capabilities of Photon Platform, such as multi-tenancy, security, resource management, storage and networking.”
Offering Kubernetes as a service through Photon Platform will mean developers can start provisioning Kubernetes clusters in minutes, and can scale from single node clusters to hundreds of nodes.
What it all means
Ultimately, VMworld Europe 2016 showed that VMware considers itself the glue that will hold together digital businesses. The phrase “any app, any device, any cloud” was repeated often, driving home the message that the company wants to be able to provide its customers with the tools needed to take advantage of digital transformation.
The enterprise of the future is one without silos. One where applications are spread across different clouds and accessed from different devices. But that requires a different approach to management and security, one that VMware feels it can offer its customers.
The challenge for IT is to manage all this and give users the freedom they crave without compromising control. CEO Pat Gelsinger likened it to having a teenage child. “You want control, they want freedom. In IT, users want freedom to choose different clouds, different services, but you want control,” he said.
As he said during his opening keynote: “In a hybrid world, it’s about giving freedom and control, and delivering the tools that allow you to take advantage of both. This is, simply, the hybrid cloud, the world of public and private; a hybrid environment for decades to come. In this ecosystem, we’re leading the way in building and understanding the hybrid cloud.”
Quiz: The Cloud in 2016!