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VMware Previews Cross-Cloud Services at VMworld

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted August 29, 2016


How does an organization manage policies and deployments of workloads running on Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure?

It's not an easy question to answer, but it's one VMware is now taking direct aim at with a new cross-cloud services approach being demonstrated today at the VMworld event by Guido Appenzeller, Chief Technology Strategy Officer at VMware.

Appenzeller told ServerWatch that what has happened in many organizations he has spoken with is the cloud has created new silos of workloads.VMware As such, there is a real challenge understanding and managing all workloads in a uniform way.

The new VMware cross-cloud services approach is an attempt to solve the challenge with a suite of services that enables organizations to manage workloads across disparate cloud resources.

The cross-cloud services approach can make use of VMware's NSX network virtutalization technology, enabling the deployment of multi-zone networks that span different physical footprints.

VMware is also leveraging technology gained from its June 2016 acquisition of Arkin to provide additional analytics to show organizations what's being used and what is running in the cloud.

Going a step further, the cross-cloud approach can also be fully encrypted, enabling a more secure approach for organizations making use of multiple sets of cloud resources.

One thing that the cross cloud doesn't do is a live migration of a running workload, in the same way that, for example, VMware's vMotion technology provides for workloads inside a data center. Appenzeller explained that while cross-cloud services will not enable a live migration, they will help organizations move workloads from one cloud to the other.

How VMware's Approach Differs from Previous Cross-Cloud Efforts

While there have been efforts in the past, including the Apache libcloud project and Cisco's intercloud, that attempt to enable cross-cloud management, Appenzeller emphasized that VMware's approach is somewhat different.

"It's not our goal to set ourselves between the developer and the cloud," Appenzeller said. "So from the developer's perspective, there is no change in how they use the cloud; our tools are squarely aimed at the IT team and operations."

As such with cross-cloud services, policies can be applied across multiple clouds, by an IT operations team, as an overlay on top of what developers are already doing.

Appenzeller noted he's also a fan of containers, as well as the various scheduling and orchestration tools such Kubernetes. The plan for cross-cloud services is to have scheduler integration to provide a complementary approach that can work with the emerging ecosystem of technologies for containers and micro-services.

"VMware is a big company and some people initially had the view that if the virtualization technology being used isn't vSphere, then it's competitive," Appenzeller said. "We have made a shift, and what we're doing is helping organizations to manage heterogenous infrastructure."

For example, VMware can already enable an organization to move a workload from an IBM server to a Dell server to an HP server with vMotion. With NSX, VMware enables organizations to overlay virtual networks across switches from Brocade, Cisco and others.

"So in the same way, why can't we help organizations move from Azure to Amazon and to Google?" Appenzeller said. "There is value we can add; there is a need and hunger from organizations to use the cloud more effectively."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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