(Updated 12:45 p.m. with high-level details about Project Fargo.)
VMware is not getting into the hardware business, but it is setting up OEM partners to supply entire chunks of the data center — hardware and software — in neat little packages.
The family of OEM-based products called EVO got announced this morning at VMworld in San Francisco. EVO is an architecture for “hyper-converged infrastructure,” as VMware calls it, and it’s the fastest way to deploy a software-defined data center, CEO Pat Gelsinger said during his keynote talk today.
It’s essentially the SDDC with the requisite hardware already supplied. The first member of the EVO family, EVO:RAIL, can be deployed in 15 minutes from power-on to first virtual machines configured, Gelsinger said. It’s meant for small deployments, up to 100 virtual machines.
“This is not a VMware product,” Gelsinger said, emphasizing the company’s reliance on partners to provide hardware. It’s an OEM product, with hardware coming from partners — Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, Net One, and Supermicro being the ones shown on a keynote slide.
EVO:RACK, a larger offering, is in technology preview at VMworld this week. It takes the concept to cloud scale, allowing for a data-center-sized deployment in two hours, Gelsinger said. He didn’t mention the hardware partners for this one, though.
VMware is also joining the Open Compute Project and making EVO-related code contributions to it, Gelsinger said — a final bit of evidence that the company, while not providing hardware, is taking a deep interest in what kind of non-proprietary (read: non-Cisco) hardware is available. Gelsinger said to expect EVO:RACK to become available on Open Compute-compliant hardware.
Love for OpenStack
VMware is also launching its own OpenStack distribution, available in beta today. The company has had OpenStack support before, but this is a full-blown distribution and, tacitly, it might be an admission that OpenStack is here to stay.
VMware couches this as a way to promote a more open industry with less lock-in; you no longer need separate infrastructures for VMware and third-party applications, Gelisinger said.
It could also be a defensive move, a hedge by VMware for those customers that adamantly want OpenStack. It also could help combat potential competition from the likes of Nutanix or Oracle, which acquired Nimbula last year.
VMware’s pitch is that it can make OpenStack more enterprise-class by fleshing out key elements that OpenStack lacks, such as the hypervisor, storage, and of course, networking.
Love for Containers, Too
As we mentioned earlier, VMware is working hard to defuse the perceived tension between Linux containers and virtual machines. Along those lines, the company is introducing a concept it calls “containers without compromise,” a common platform that encompasses Docker containers, Google’s Kubernetes management for containers, Pivotal’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and VMware’s environment.
The company is also working with Docker (the company) and contributing code to Docker (the software) and is working with Google’s Kubernetes group on a management framework.
Finally, Gelsinger announced Project Fargo, which involves making containers run in virtual machines, and making them faster and lighter than they are in native Linux.
Mark Chuang, senior director of VMware’s Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) unit, gave a more thorough description during a post-keynote press session. Fargo, which is still in early development, involves forking a virtual machine to create copies that are already “warmed up” with the application state, he said. VMware engineers will be discussing Fargo in more detail during a VMworld session Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Check out more VMworld 2014 news SDNCentral covered this week:
- VMware’s EVO Doesn’t Scare Nutanix
- VMworld Newswire: NSX, Storage, and a Touch of DevOps
- Nutanix Raises the Stakes by Raising $140M More
- Quanta Shows Off a VMware EVO:RACK (But Doesn’t Ship Yet)
- Dell & F5 Strike Partnerships With VMware NSX
- VMware NSX Puts the Spotlight on Security
- VMware Declares Docker Containers Are Friends, Not Foes