The great promise of the cloud is you can run your apps on any device at any time at any place in the world. For the end-user it’s that simple; fire up your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone and log in.
For the companies delivering applications and services, it’s not that simple. Just as the move from desktop delivery to cloud meant application development had to move to Web-based technologies, so too it has a deep ramification on infrastructure and hosting.
Enterprise IT departments know the business argument for the cloud. You’re not in the business of owning and running servers, you’re in a different business. Just as your company likely does not own property or vehicles but has different arrangements for those vital items, so too it makes sense to offload server hosting and other items, letting your IT team focus on business problems not “keeping the lights on".
At VMworld 2017 running in Las Vegas this week, Pat Gelsinger, VMware chief executive, announced VMware’s strategy is all about apps, and making apps available to people, no matter where they are, what device they use – and now, no matter which cloud they use.
Gelsinger announced VMware’s strategy to allow IT departments to run any application on vSphere, and use VMware software to move it to the public cloud using the same software they’re used to, in order to manage their infrastructure whether on the cloud or on-premise. This is known as VMware Cloud.
Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services chief executive, said, “A lot of customers say it’s great AWS provides all these tools to manage our AWS servers but as most of the world is virtualised you’re forcing us to make a binary decision.”
This decision, he explained, was about obtaining the benefits of on-demand and elastic cloud-based infrastructure with its own set of tools, or leveraging the business’ existing knowledge and experience in running its VMware-based servers but pay for the ongoing ownership and maintenance of in-house infrastructure with all that entails: back-up, disaster recovery, high availability, scalability and so on.
This now changes. Just as virtualisation transformed the way we think about servers, so too VMware now seeks to transform how companies think about public, private and hybrid clouds. In essence, these become commodity services. Whether you use your own server farm, AWS, Azure, IBM cloud, or other environments, VMware wants you to transition your infrastructure freely, and to use the very same management tools in the same way in every case.
“VMware on AWS gives the ability to use the best tools in the world on the leading cloud provider. You can use your existing VMware licences to leverage here,” Jassy said.
Currently, customers using VMware Cloud on AWS include Symantec, Adidas, Accenture, Ricoh, Western Digital, DXC.technology and the State of Louisiana.
VMware Cloud “allows companies a low-risk pass to the cloud with minimal disruption to IT or business operations in maintaining existing apps,” Gelsinger said.
“Customers are accelerating digital transformation by deploying applications across clouds, with upwards of two-thirds of enterprises deploying applications on three or more clouds today,” said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, Products and Cloud Services, VMware. “VMware Cloud brings a consistent operating model, enterprise control, and investment protection for IT resources and skillsets to a multi-cloud world. With these new services, we are preserving developer agility and freedom to drive innovation.”
VMware Cloud is available now on AWS in the US West (Oregon) region but both companies plan for this to be rolled out across all AWS availability zones by the end of calendar year 2018.
VMware Cloud Services will include VMware Discovery, VMware Cost Insight, VMware Network Insight, VMware NSX Cloud, Wavefront by VMware and VMware AppDefense. VMware vCloud Director 9.0 will be generally available in Q3 FY2018.
Along with AWS, VMware is working with Azure, IBM and other cloud providers to ensure the end-user view of the cloud — access your data, anywhere, anytime — can be fulfilled by IT departments, setting forth its vision of “any device, any application, any cloud".
VMware is further working with telcos to deliver Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to meet the requirements that allow seamless transition between public and private clouds.
David M Williams is attending VMworld 2017 as a guest of VMware.