Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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VMware Stresses Integration in Hybrid Cloud Platform 

VMware unveiled its "unified hybrid cloud platform" this week, stressing "tighter integration" of new public cloud services with a software-defined datacenter approach designed to speed the building and delivery of business applications at scale.

"Applications are a key differentiator in every business sector," Mark Chuang, VMware's senior director of product marketing and management, stressed in an interview. "Delivery is key."

Along with an improved analytics engine and site recovery capabilities, the cloud platform package includes software-defined upgrades aimed at maintaining connections between the cloud and datacenter to share and manage resources across hybrid clouds.

Key components released this week include VMware's NSX 6.2 tool designed to tighten integration with physical infrastructure while managing resources across multiple datacenters. VMware claims more than 700 NSX customers and over 100 production deployments for security, automation and application continuity projects.

The latest version of NSX is intended to add more control across datacenters, Chuang said, with the goal of providing tighter integration with physical workloads. Along with streamlining operations across datacenter networks, the component is intended to extend micro-segmentation to physical servers, VMware said Monday (Aug. 31). That approach involves divvying up datacenters into discrete security segments that use software-based firewalls.

"What we are seeing from customers are [the growing requirements] of mobile cloud that can be deployed faster and at scale," Chuang said.

The platform also integrates OpenStack 2 based on the OpenStack Foundation's Kilo release in April. Kilo includes a batch of compute, storage, networking and provisioning features used to extend the platform to fit workloads with bare metal and application containers.

OpenStack and VMware's code are being integrated to reap the "goodness" from the latest release of OpenStack Kilo, Chuang stressed. Among the new features in the Kilo release are Swift Object and Cinder Block storage updates and improvements.

While OpenStack deployments are becoming less onerous, operational headaches are said to persist. VMware and others say they are addressing those operational issues head-on. The integration of VMware code with OpenStack Kilo includes enhancements like "load-balancing as a service" and other features aimed at making VMware-based OpenStack clouds more scalable and resilient, the company said.

OpenStack Kilo has been integrated into VMware's new hybrid cloud platform.

Running on vSphere, NSX and its virtual storage area network, VMware is touting it unified hybrid cloud platform as a way to differentiate the OpenStack cloud with new infrastructure features. For example, it delivers OpenStack as virtual appliance installed via the vSphere web client and then configures it using "familiar" clusters and data stores. Finally, OpenStack is deployed as a scale-out architecture.

VMware's integrated OpenStack will be made available through its vCloud Air Network. "The endpoint is to get customers deployed at scale," Chuang stressed.

The vCloud network also will deliver disaster recovery services, object storage that emphasizes unstructured data and a vSphere-based SQL database-as-a-service for building relational databases at scale. The company said the service would also extend on-premises databases to the cloud.

Meanwhile, the latest version of a workload management tool dubbed vRealize Operations is designed to match workloads to IT resources and business requirements like meeting service-level agreements.

Another tool dubbed vSphere APIs for IO Filtering allows current VMware partners to offer third-party data services like replication and caching. The data services leverage the same framework used to manage other software-defined storage services on vSphere. Among VMware's partners for the service are EMC, PrimaryIO, Samsung and SanDisk.

VMware said its vCloud Air Object Storage offering running on Google Cloud Platform is generally available while Air SQL is available now as part of an "early access program." EMC's version of the object storage feature is scheduled to be available in during the third quarter.

Meanwhile, NSX 6.2 is generally available under a perpetual or term license. A perpetual license starts at $4,995 per CPU while the list price for a term license starts at $34 per virtual machine per month.

Finally, Integrated OpenStack 2, vRealize Operations and related tools along with vSphere APIs for IO Filtering are expected to be generally available during the third quarter.

VMware's unified platform "integrates all these different components to be leveraged in private and public clouds," Chuang stressed.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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