VMworld 2018 Highlights

September 10, 2018

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By Chris Franey, Kovarus Solutions Architect

Another spectacular VMworld event has wrapped up. It was an exciting week of announcements and enlightening to see how VMware is thinking about the future of the data center and a multi-cloud world. What I often find intriguing is the fact that VMware has solutions that cover every facet of on-premises data center or private clouds, public cloud, and the edge. Some of the highlights that I found of particular interest are those that truly embody what we live and breathe every day at Kovarus in our three solution areas: Infrastructure Optimization, Cloud Automation, and Application Delivery.

Infrastructure Optimization

VMware announced several new updates to existing products in its portfolio.

  • vSphere Platinum Edition — A new platinum edition of vSphere which includes App Defense to further enhance application security out-the-box.
  • vSAN 6.7 — Update 1 was also released and promises to ease operational burdens, making it possible to maintain firmware and driver updates utilizing vSphere Update Manager (VUM).
  • NSX-T 2.3 — NSX-T now offers bare metal support as well as support for VMware Cloud on AWS. Another nice enhancement is advanced multi-cloud network and security capabilities now extend to AWS, Azure, and private clouds.
  • vRealize Suite 2018 — This is the latest installment of the vRealize suite with feature enhancements to vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Log Insight. Enhancements include NSX-T and Kubernetes support in vRA 7.5 and multi-cloud support to vRealize Operations in the latest 7.0 release.

Although not a first at VMworld, Cloud Foundation was one product that I think it’s time to get excited about. Cloud Foundation is a complete infrastructure stack consisting of vSphere, vSAN, and NSX. It’s consumable in the form of private cloud deployment running on vSAN ready nodes, on pre-installed systems such as VxRack, as well as through a public cloud offering such as VMware Cloud on AWS. What’s interesting here is that Cloud Foundation is a full infrastructure stack that includes the compute, storage, networking AND security. Cloud Foundation 3.0 now supports any network switch infrastructure, which was a barrier to entry in previous releases. Now that there’s greater flexibility to bring your own network gear, it will play nicely in a brownfield environment and enable much faster deployment times. Did I mention, you can run the same infrastructure stack in your on-premises data center and in VMware Cloud on AWS? Couple these two with NSX Hybrid Connect and you can now move workloads across clouds enabling a true hybrid cloud experience.

Cloud Automation

Several noteworthy announcements this year was around cloud and automation. Over the last year, VMware has been hard at work building out its cloud-based services. VMware announced Cloud Assembly. If you are familiar with vRealize Automation, this is a similar offering except it is SaaS based. This is great news as it provides a much faster time-to-value than deploying a production ready instance of vRealize Automation in an on-premises environment. This means more time can be spent adding new services and capabilities to your service catalog rather than worrying about the infrastructure required to run vRA.

In addition to Cloud Assembly, VMware announced VMware Service Broker delivering self-service catalogs of multi-cloud infrastructure and applications with governance and policy enforcement for available resources. Also new this year is the SaaS-based cloud configuration security and compliance tool called VMware Secure State (public beta) which aims to model, map services, and track changes to expose new vulnerabilities as a result of these changes.

By far, the most exciting announcement was the CloudHealth acquisition. If you aren’t familiar with CloudHealth, the company offers a cloud management platform that helps many organizations manage their cost, governance, and usage across AWS, Azure, and GCP environments. VMware and CloudHealth are both key technology partners for Kovarus. The ability to combine the VMware portfolio to build and manage hybrid clouds with the value that CloudHealth brings to managing and optimizing clouds is simply brilliant. It’s the cornerstone of Kovarus cloud managed services where we help our customers navigate cost savings, resource optimization, visibility and reporting for AWS, Azure, and GCP environments all from one comprehensive platform. I see nothing but great things ahead for CloudHealth and its integration with VMware.

VMware Cloud on AWS continues to expand its global footprint and grow its ecosystem of services. VMware Cloud on AWS is now available in five regions worldwide with more to come. Other developments for VMware Cloud on AWS includes integration with Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) allowing customers to scale storage without the need to add compute resources and a lower entry price with a 3-node cluster for the price of two. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) will soon be available to run in an on-premises data center giving the same experience and feature sets as RDS running in AWS.

Application Delivery

Wavefront received a lot of attention this year. It’s a compelling product and I’m looking forward to seeing more Wavefront in the future as cloud native architectures continue to mature. Key Wavefront takeaways:

  • Kubernetes support now provides detailed metrics and insight into Kubernetes clusters. Deeper integration with Pivotal Container Service (PKS) has also been added.
  • Wavefront has proven to be massively scalable by ingesting data and metrics from 100,000 containers running concurrently.
  • Serverless application monitoring with AWS Lambda SDK allows Lambda metrics to be sent directly to Wavefront without the need to collect metrics from Cloudwatch.

To sum it all up, it’s clear that VMware is investing heavily in its cloud strategy by expanding its portfolio to support infrastructure and services across any cloud including cloud native architectures. To see some of these exciting technologies in action, join us at our Kovarus Proven Solutions Center (KPSC) for a preview on how these technologies work together and could integrate with your environment.