VMware kicked off its annual VMworld Europe conference today by supercharging its container play. The virtualization giant updated Cloud Foundation, its hybrid cloud stack, with new Kubernetes support. The company announced a new integration with IBM Cloud’s managed Kubernetes service. And it’s buying Heptio, a startup whose founders co-created Kubernetes while working at Google.
VMware’s been moving further down the Kubernetes path over the last year with Pivotal Container Service (PKS), the container orchestration technology it co-developed with Pivotal and Google, and its hosted on-premises VMware Kubernetes Engine (VKE) software.
If this sounds like a shift in the company’s strategy from virtual machines (VMs) to containers, that’s because it is. Although some would argue that it’s better to deploy containers on bare metal, as VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is fond of saying: “All major clouds run their containers in VMs. Simply put, it’s the best way to run containers.”
In an interview leading up to VMworld Europe, Chris Wolf, vice president and CTO of Global Field and Industry at VMware, said containers play a major role in the company’s cloud strategy. “We’re working very hard to ensure the developer experience remains native, so if I’m trying to run Kubernetes in these different cloud environments I’m accessing Kubernetes using the native ecosystem tools and components,” he said. “It gives customers assurances that they can run the applications they want and they can operate in a variety of ways and still maintain their flexibility.”
Here’s some of the news coming out of VMworld Europe today.
VMware Cloud on AWS Goes Global
VMware announced the continued expansion of its hybrid cloud services with Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware Cloud on AWS, in Europe and the United States. It plans to add new regions in AWS EU (Ireland), AWS West (Northern California), and AWS East (Ohio) by the end of this year.
VMware also announced a new capability called VMware Cloud Motion with vSphere Replication that provides live migration of thousands of VMs with zero downtime. Customers can also live migrate individual applications between and across VMware-based software-defined data centers (SDDCs) and AWS availability zones using VMware vMotion.
Plus, NSX and AWS Direct Connect integration accelerates migration to the cloud. The companies added new NSX microsegmentation capabilities that provide application-centric security with policies that follow workloads wherever they move within the SDDC environment. NSX is VMware’s SDN platform.
VMware-IBM Cloud Partnership
While the VMware-AWS cloud partnership tends to receive top billing at VMworld events, IBM was the first cloud provider to partner with VMware back in 2016. To date, more than 1,700 enterprises including Banca Carige, CNH Industrial, Honeywell, and Vodafone have extended their VMware environments to the IBM Cloud.
At VMworld Europe the partners announced several hybrid cloud services, including a new IBM Services offering to help migrate and extend VMware workloads to the IBM Cloud, and new integrations to help enterprises deploy Kubernetes and containers.
IBM now enables a fully automated managed global cloud architecture for mission-critical VMware workloads designed to help enterprises prevent downtime for cloud applications and automate fail-overs within an IBM Cloud region. This architecture, managed by IBM Services, can be deployed across IBM Cloud’s 18 availability zones in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific region.
Additionally, IBM Cloud Private Hosted can now be installed on VMware vCenter Server on IBM Cloud. This supports the management and orchestration of VMs and containers within a common security model and private network. It also gives customers access to IBM Cloud Private services including blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).
IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions are also now integrated with the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, which provides a fully managed Kubernetes environment.
And IBM is using VMware’s NSX-T Data Center to provide consistent networking and security policies between IBM Cloud Private and the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. NSX-T supports VMs, containers, and bare metal, and has been validated by IBM as a supported network stack for IBM Cloud Private.
VMware Blockchain, Project Dimension
VMware previewed both of these technologies earlier, and today announced both are in beta.
VMware first started talking about a blockchain prototype at VMworld 2017. The new service will provide permissioned blockchain for enterprise consortiums, and VMware says it’s intrinsically more secure than public blockchains. VMware is partnering with Dell Technologies, Deloitte, and WWT to develop VMware Blockchain. Additionally, IBM Cloud will support VMware Blockchain.
The company announced Project Dimension at VMworld US this summer. It’s a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliance for branch and edge sites running the full VMware Cloud Foundation software stack with NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud. VMware describes it as cloud-managed infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Dell EMC and Lenovo are the initial hardware partners.
Dell EMC Updates HCI, Open Networking
And speaking of VMware’s sister company, Dell EMC typically also dumps a bunch of product announcements at VMworld events. This week’s is no different.
Dell EMC’s VxRail is an HCI appliance. It’s jointly engineered with VMware and it uses vSAN storage. Today, Dell EMC announced that VxRail is now integrated with additional Dell EMC and VMware software that automates network awareness and configuration during set up, cluster expansion, and management. Additionally, customers can buy a two-node VxRail cluster instead of the previously required three.
The company also updated its converged infrastructure (CI) system, VxBlock. This is a turnkey CI system with compute, storage, networking, and VMware vSphere virtualization. New VxBlock Central software provides converged awareness, automation, and analytics, and includes a single user interface for accessing VxBlock System information in real time. It also includes an integrated launch point to VMware vRealize Orchestrator for automating daily operational tasks and a launch point to vRealize Operations to provide detailed analytics and VxBlock storage capacity management.
And finally, Dell EMC updated its open networking portfolio with 25 gigabit Ethernet (GbE)-enabled open networking switches. The top-of-rack S5200 switches support network traffic and performance demands of virtualization, cloud computing, big data, and IoT. The switches also help form high-performance 100GbE data center fabrics for traffic between racks, and provides a network underlay for VMware NSX network virtualization and software-defined storage (SDS) implementations.