The announcement was part of a basket of new technologies announced today in advance of VMware’s Partner Exchange event in San Francisco.
CEO Pat Gelsinger (pictured above) summarized the announcements during an event at the Intercontinental Hotel, a block away from the PEX venue, presenting to a live audience of press and analysts and a webcast audience estimated to be 40,000. That was followed by a non-webcast Q&A session with Gelsinger and a few other executives.
Extending vCloud Air
VCloud Air is VMware’s public cloud service, tying together the management of various clouds and data centers that run on vSphere. The clouds in question include facilities managed by VMware or its partners (such as Softbank and Telstra) as well as any vSphere-based locations that an enterprise runs itself.
That NSX was available in vCloud Air announced in January. That meant that NSX network virtualization, and the microsegmentation-based security that comes with it, would be available throughout this mix of clouds, all the way up to the customer premises. “Whether or not they’ve started to use NSX, they can get the benefits of it all the way out to the public cloud,” said Bill Fathers, executive VP of VMware’s cloud services business unit.
Today’s announcement looks in the other direction. It means customers already using NSX will be able to use it to create and control “hundreds” of virtual networks (as the press release says) across vCloud Air, with the whole shebang behaving as if it were one network.
The capability is being rolled out in phases, with Phase 1 coming sometime before June 30, VMware officials said.
Cisco recently announced a similar concept by extending cloud-based management tools from Meraki (a 2012 acquisition) into customers’ on-premises networks. In both cases, the vendors aim to simplify the management of far-flung resources, letting applications and users worry less about having to integrate different clouds.
That ease of integration is becoming more of a problem as enterprises move more serious workloads — the applications that really run the business, as opposed to small, experimental kinds of apps — to the cloud, Fathers said.
vSphere Turns 6
For VMware’s core user base, the bigger news today was probably the launch of vSphere version 6, which came with major steps forward in scale (64-node clusters as opposed to 32-node) and some advances in resilience and high availability.
VSphere 6, due to ship this quarter, is a massive release with more than 650 features, Gelsinger said. Among them is long-distance vMotion, the ability to move a virtual machine between vCenter instances or even across town to another data center.
I’ve heard some people question the need for this. Who would really want to move a virtual machine across town? Gelsinger would, it turns out: “When I was at EMC, I was very motivated to have this capability to complement some of the EMC technologies,” he said.
It turns out even VMware had questioned the need for Long-Distance vMotion, as Raghu Raghuram, executive VP of VMware’s software-defined data center (SDDC) division, explained. But as the possibility got put in front of customers, they started coming up with applications they hadn’t previously considered because they weren’t possible — running active-active data centers or having applications stay closer to users by following the sun from region to region, he said.
Other announcements from VMware today included Virtual SAN 6 (the latest version of its software-defined storage) and VMware Integrated OpenStack, the company’s own OpenStack distribution. In typical open source fashion, the distribution is available free, but support costs. Like vSphere 6, these products are due to ship this quarter.