Dell Technologies, VMware, and Microsoft announced a hybrid cloud partnership that will allow customers to run VMware’s software stack in Microsoft’s Azure public cloud.
The new product is called Azure VMware Solutions and it’s built on VMware Cloud Foundation – an integrated software stack with compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN), and network virtualization (NSX) that can be deployed on premises as a private cloud or in public clouds. In this particular case it’s deployed in Azure.
The move is also similar to the 2016 hybrid cloud partnership between Amazon and VMware that resulted in VMware Cloud on AWS, which allows customers to run the same VMware software stack on premises or in the AWS public cloud.
Under the new partnership, joint Microsoft 365 and VMware Workspace ONE customers will be able to manage Office 365 across devices via cloud-based integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory. VMware will also extend the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop by leveraging VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
“With this announcement Dell Technologies and Microsoft are working to simplify our customers’ entire technology environment,” said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, in a statement. “Our goal is to provide a single view from edge to core to cloud – an integrated platform for our customers’ digital future.”
Dell Technologies owns about 81% of VMware, which is arguably the crown jewel of Dell Technologies’ brand portfolio. As the companies continue to more tightly integrate their offerings, Dell is banking on customers choosing Dell EMC hardware for their hybrid cloud environments. And a couple of other announcements made today, on the first day of Dell Technologies World, aim to make it easier for them to do just that.
Dell Technologies Cloud
This includes Dell Technologies Cloud Platforms and VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. The two products comprise the newly launched Dell Technologies Cloud, a cloud infrastructure portfolio. Both essentially bundle Dell EMC hardware and VMware software into an integrated appliance for hybrid cloud environments.
Cloud Platforms is a hybrid cloud operating platform that combines Dell EMC systems and VMware Cloud Foundation. “Combining those together, we’re able to create a seamless operations experience between the logical level and the physical level,” said Matt Baker, senior vice president of strategy and planning at Dell EMC.
Customers can use Dell EMC VxRail hardware, which is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) jointly engineered with VMware that comes pre-integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation. Other options include Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 converged infrastructure or Dell Technologies validated storage, compute and networking options. Customers can migrate workloads between public and private clouds, as well as build and deploy containers and virtual machines (VMs) with no changes, using the same VMware software tools.
VMware Cloud on Dell EMC
The companies today also announced VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, which is an on premises cloud for data centers and edge locations delivered as a cloud service — Dell calls this a “data center-as-a-service offering.”
This new product also uses VMware compute, storage, and networking running on Dell EMC’s VxRail HCI and is fully managed by Dell EMC and VMware. The monthly subscription includes both the hardware and the software, which means the customer doesn’t have to deal with any of the infrastructure plumbing — “that’s all turned over to Dell EMC and VMware,” said Kit Colbert, vice president and chief technology officer for VMware’s Cloud Platform business unit. “The idea is really taking this notion of cloud, which a lot of people think about as a place, but taking that and taking the model of cloud and applying that to on-premises locations.”
The product is currently in beta, and the companies expect it to be available in the United States in the second half of 2019.
VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is built on Project Dimension, which VMware unveiled last summer at VMworld 2018. At the time, VMware described it as cloud-managed infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and said Dell EMC and Lenovo were the initial hardware partners.
Lenovo is still a partner, said Wei Wang, director of product marketing for VMware’s Cloud Platform business unit. “We’re not dropping Lenovo in any stretch,” she said, adding that VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is simply the first flavor of Project Dimension with more to come. A Lenovo flavor will likely be next. And AWS’ on-premises offering Outposts, which also runs VMware’s software stack and is slated for availability later this year, will be a third.
Edge Use Case
Edge and data center modernization are top use cases for VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, Wang said, because the subscription service allows customers to run the latest software stack on up-to-date hardware with a limited IT staff.
Food manufacturer SugarCreek is one of these beta customers. It has multiple locations with large data requirements but few personnel resources, which would make it ideal for the cloud, said SugarCreek CIO Todd Pugh. “Given the large data requirements, the bandwidth it would require makes it cost prohibitive,” he said in a statement. “This is where VMware Cloud on Dell EMC comes into play. It allows us to treat the compute and storage as cloud resources without the added bandwidth expense.”
VMware and Dell EMC manage the end-to-end equipment lifecycle, and SugarCreek’s small team can instead focus on more value-added work, he added.