It was VMworld 2008, and if I remember correctly it was Raghu Raghuram that stated, “If we run out of hard problems to solve, then we go out of business.” With the developments I have seen over the past year, I am more convinced than ever that not only are we solving hard problems for our customers, we continue to do things only VMware is capable of doing.
There is a LOT going on right now… unbelievably, we continue to enhance our core platform (more on this in a minute), we are acquiring companies and technologies at a fairly rapid clip, we are growing our presence in the cloud through strategic partnerships and we continue to expand our capabilities across our portfolio well beyond basic virtualization. Furthermore, we are doing so in a fashion that enables our customers to accelerate their adoption of cloud – no matter whose cloud it is – through intelligent integration and use of technology.
Some version of the above graphic may be seen in nearly every presentation delivered by a VMware employee… I propose to give you my own interpretation of the above… When I look at everything we are doing, everything that we have going on, and try to boil it down, I come up with basically 4 things…
1 – Common Infrastructure and Operations
It is hard to avoid this as the basis for everything we are doing. By spreading the deliciousness of vSphere across as many environments as possible, we can allow our customers to leverage their well established set of operational procedures for vSphere across multiple cloud environments – extending their investment in both people and technology.
We are already doing this with our global network of cloud providers (https://www.vmware.com/partners/service-provider.html) – We have literally thousands of partners signed up into this program. Right off the bat, this gives our customers ample choice and flexibility for where to place their infrastructure. Furthermore, we are now a few years into our relationship with Amazon Web Services – VMware Cloud on AWS is growing quickly, providing tight integration with AWS native services and unprecedented flexibility. Recently we announced Azure VMware Solutions and Google Cloud VMware Solutions – currently both sold and supported through partners – to provide customers looking for tight integration with Azure or GCP a similar experience to VMC on AWS.
VMware vSphere is basically the peanut butter of cloud.
2 – VMware-Enhanced Cloud Native Technologies
Where it makes sense, we are looking to enhance native cloud functionality through intelligent application of VMware intellectual property. Just like peanut butter, we see our technology getting sticky in the cloud. Just to point out three such efforts:
- NSX Cloud (https://www.vmware.com/products/nsx-cloud.html) – providing microsegmentation across Azure and AWS.
- Enterprise PKS (https://cloud.vmware.com/vmware-enterprise-pks) – providing an enterprise-ready implementation of Kubernetes for vSphere, GCP, AWS and Azure.
- Cloud Foundation for EC2 – (https://cloud.vmware.com/community/2018/11/29/vmware-cloud-foundation-ec2-overview/) – announced last year at VMworld, this is a project we are working on to enhance the experience of those customers interested in AWS Outposts, especially if running both VMC as well as EC2 on Outpost.
There are more, of course…
Our customers are actively investigation all kinds of cloud-native technologies, and frequently run into gaps in functionality, lack of enterprise readiness, or operational differences that delay or scuttle their projects altogether. We (VMware) have the ability to extend our robust enterprise functionality (such as microsegmentation) across multiple disparate infrastructures, allowing our customers to accelerate their adoption of cloud-native technologies in an enterprise environment.
3 – Cloud-Native Enhanced VMware Technologies
I see this as an extension of our “Common Infrastructure and Operations” strategy – but I think of this as the jelly in the sandwich. Customers all around the world are developing expertise in the cloud-native provider of their choice, but still finding value in their vSphere environment as well. Therefore, we see it as in everyone’s best interest to allow our customers to not only be able to extend their VMware expertise into the cloud provider of their choice, but also to extend the cloud-native technologies of their choice into native VMware environments.
I am thinking here about things like:
- AWS Greengrass, which extends AWS to edge devices so they can act locally on the data they generate, while still using the cloud for management, analytics, and durable storage. AWS Greengrass is already available as a vSphere OVA for deployment to a vSphere edge environment.
- AWS Relational Database Services – announced last year, Amazon and VMware are working together to allow our joint customers to extend their AWS RDS infrastructure on-prem to vSphere environments.
4 – Cross Cloud Governance and Visibility
Where it makes sense, provide cloud management and governance across any/all environments for transparency of decisions. We have been on a journey over the past few years to provide a multitude of tools to allow our customers to be able to make decisions on where to deploy their workloads, as well as to be able to secure, monitor, track and troubleshoot those deployments over time.
- Cloud Automation Services
- Log Intelligence
- Network Insight
- Cloud Health
- Et cetera…
This portfolio will continue to grow over time into a comprehensive governance platform for a multi-cloud environment. Like a couple pieces of savory sourdough bread, our customers need something they can use to help wrap their heads and hands around their infrastructure and applications as their IT landscape becomes more and more distributed.
As VMware continues to grow, I see our influence growing as well. Just as years ago virtualization fundamentally changed how infrastructure is engineered and built, I see the cloud landscape undergoing similar changes. I don’t know yet if VMware will achieve its place as a true governance platform between multiple cloud providers, but we are better positioned to do so than anyone else, and we are off to a great start!