LAS VEGAS—Every year VMworld proves itself as one of the most important IT conferences in the world. This is because VMware products are key components in 90-plus percent of the world's systems and touch everything about which we write each day in eWEEK: data centers, cloud services, mobility, storage, security, apps, edge devices—we could go on.
The company's markets, both big and small, are many and varied. VMware sells into all vertical industries, governments, military, education, scientific, oil and gas exploration, media—you name it, and there's a VMware footprint.
Does this indicate VMware is trying to be the one-stop shop for everything virtualization and cloud in order to remain one of the more relevant IT products and services providers of the 21st century?
"VMware needs to maintain excellent relationships with a lot of companies, especially the Amazons, Microsofts, Googles and IBMs of the world," Charles King, chief analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK. "They become more relevant when they are seen as the chief cloud architecture supplier for IBM's cloud, for example. That was a big piece of news this week [at VMworld 2016]."
It's All About the Newly Combined Ecosystem
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Dell founder, CEO and chief cheerleader Michael Dell certainly agree with King in that they both extolled the virtues of the newly combined ecosystems of the Dell and EMC/VMware kingdoms at every opportunity in front of reporters.
"Dell is committed to the continued independence of VMware," Gelsinger said at a press conference Aug. 29. "It's more customers for us as an independent company, but more importantly, more ecosystem.
"Nowhere is the vibrance of that ecosystem more visible than here at VMworld. Two hundred fifty companies and the exhibition floor, 400 tracks, 23,000 people—we have all those things going on here. We're innovating, and everybody is adding their value to it.
"That continued ecosystem commitment is an enormously powerful thing and one that Dell is supporting and encouraging. Today we talked about cross-cloud architecture and our VM Cloud Foundation, and Dell is committed to bringing that to market," Gelsinger said.
OK, let's see where the ecosystem takes them after Sept. 7, when the world's biggest IT merger ($67 billion) closes, 11 months after it was announced Oct. 12, 2015.
Here's an information listing of key takeaways from VMworld 2016, which ended Sept. 1 after attracting 23,000 attendees to the Mandalay Bay resort here.
The company's new Cross-Cloud Architecture breaks down into two main components: VMware Cloud Foundation, a unified SDDC (software-defined data center) platform for managing and running SDDC clouds; and Cross-Cloud services, in which customers can manage, govern and secure applications running in private and public clouds, including IBM Cloud, NTT Cloud, AWS, Azure and others.
Cynics may view this as basically a new-sounding way for VMware to reconfigure and resell products it has had in the market for years, items such as vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vCloud Air Orchestrator and others. It may indeed be a recycling of familiar titles, but connecting entire clouds rather than applications in data center stacks also requires a new level of orchestration if it's all going to work as advertised.
VMware insists that the upgraded orchestration layer will be up to the new tasks it will be asked to do. Up to now, VMware vCloud was designed to run private and/or hybrid clouds in only single public cloud instances.
The key side announcement to Cross-Cloud Architecture was that VMware and IBM are moving closer together to build these new-generation cloud-to-cloud systems that seem to get larger and more complicated all the time as new, faster and more efficient software is launched.
IBM and VMware will work side by side with their customers—the two companies have some 4,000 common enterprise users—to build these new multiple-cloud systems that will run on IBM's Blue Cloud. IBM, in fact, is the first vCloud Air Network partner delivering new services based on VMware Cloud Foundation with its VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud.
VMware first announced a preview of its vSphere Integrated Containers effort in 2015. Now that effort is being expanded with a new enterprise container registry called Harbor and a container management portal called Admiral.
The basic premise behind vSphere Integrated Containers is that containers can run more securely inside of a vSphere hypervisor and benefit from some of VMware's existing vSphere tooling. Kit Colbert, vice president and general manager of cloud-native apps at VMware, explained during a VMworld keynote address that vSphere Integrated Containers enables users to launch containers inside of a vSphere virtual machine.
EMC's store-bought cloud, Virtustream, revealed that it plans to integrate the VMware NSX network virtualization platform into its enterprise cloud. This is a good thing for enterprises considering an alternative to AWS, Azure or Google Cloud because Virtustream, a member of the vCloud Air Network, didn't have anything like VMware's industry-standard, enterprise-ready platform.
EMC will work with VMware to establish Virtustream's Enterprise Cloud as an endpoint for VMware vRealize Suite, designed for users within a software-defined data center architecture, or as part of EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.