SAN FRANCISCO—VMware is a kingpin in a complicated business: the distribution of computing, storage and networking using virtual machines running on other companies' data center hardware.
The next step the company sees is this: Make all that complexity and all moving parts appear—and function—as simple, easy-to-use applications.
VMware on Feb. 2 unveiled a group of new software-defined data center products—including what it calls the first unified platform for the hybrid cloud—that fit under the general marketing moniker OneCloud that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is now using.
This set of products is part of a new IT management layer that VMware says will enable administrators to use any components they want when it comes to networking, computing and storage because it ostensibly will all work together underneath the new layer.
vSphere 6: The Key New Piece
The key new piece here is vSphere 6, and, as expected, the company also released its new OpenStack distribution. See Sean Michael Kerner's story here about the OpenStack aspect of the news.
But wait, there's more: VMware also introduced a new version of its VSAN storageware as well as an updated version of its vVolumes storageware.
OneCloud is the new manager of anything the IT admin wants to abstract, CEO Pat Gelsinger said. This includes on-premises, private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure, and what VMware is now calling managed clouds, such as its own vCloud Air. Enterprises can also throw business practices and policies into the mix because those, too, can be created or dialed up or down as needed within this new context.
Of course, vSphere 6 is bigger, faster, more scalable and generally better, VMware said in so many words. It contains some 650 features, the most ever in a VMware software release. It can scale to larger workloads with the ability to handle 4TB of RAM; it is more resilient, thanks to the new ability to use vMotion at a distance, which allows teleportation of VMs across very wide areas; and improved fault tolerance. vMotion has always been a localized data center function.
No More Workarounds for Nagging Networking Problems
The OneCloud management layer also solves nagging networking problems across various types of cloud and on-premises platforms that have existed for years. This will mean fewer—or even no more—networking workarounds, if what VMware claims is true.
So, here's the high level from Feb. 2: VMware now provides one cloud for any app—a single platform for private and public clouds; flexible control to support agile development; automatic deployment; and the secure consumption of data by any application, any device, in any location.
"VMware has been talking for a couple of years now about their vision of the software-defined data center. With all the announcements they made today, it seems as though they have all the pieces in place to make that vision real," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK.
"The additions to vSphere are particularly impressive. I was particularly struck by the VSAN and VVolumes. Storage has continued to be a real sticking point for software-defined technologies. From the looks of it, VMware has addressed those issues and is ready to move forward."
eWEEK will provide a closer look at vVolumes and VSAN 6 in a subsequent article.