Unified cloud, integrated OpenStack, vSphere 6 and other major announcements at PEX 2015

San Francisco, CA – Any application running on any device.  That’s the vision that VMware presented at its Partner Exchange (PEX) 2015 event today in downtown San Francisco, CA.

The company made major software announcements that aim to seamlessly integrate different cloud environments as well as expand upon the functionality and compatibility of existing platforms.

Bridging public and private clouds

A key pain point that VMware has been trying to address is the need for IT to juggle private and public cloud environments.

Expanding upon its integration efforts including building the NSX network virtualization platform into its vCloud Air public cloud offering, VMware announced today vCloud Air hybrid networking services that will bridge the public cloud offering with vSphere-based private clouds into a single, secure network domain.

“We can extend hybrid cloud resources that we think connect and extend peoples’ private clouds through the VMware vCloud Air public cloud and allow them to see this as a literal extension of their private cloud data centre,” said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer of VMware, who explained that there would be no changes to a customer’s internal network.

“They’re using standard protocols that they run today in their network but now they’re able to have this gateway to the public cloud that allows them to have hundreds of virtual networks through a single LAN connection that enables them to have this be seen as an extension of their on-premise data centre,” he said.

He further emphasized that these solutions would enable zero-trust security.  According to the company, the services would be released through phases in the first half of this year.

OpenStack integration

VMware also announced a complete OpenStack distribution free to over half of its client base, including all new and existing vSphere Enterprise Plus, vSphere with Operations Manager Enterprise Plus and vCloud Suite customers.

This news is aimed at organizations both familiar with and new to OpenStack, as the company has committed to not only packaging, testing and supporting all components of the distribution, including the open source OpenStack code, but also providing customers access to professional services to help them implement the platform.

“We’re taking the power and flexibility of these OpenStack APIs, this bubbling cauldron of innovation in the industry and embracing it with the best ingredients at the compute, storage, and networking level,” said Gelsinger.

Major vSphere update

In what Gelsinger called the “biggest ever” release of vSphere 6, the company announced that over 650 new features would be coming to the company’s flagship virtualization solution.

Among them were instant cloning for containers, 3D support for graphics and VDI capabilities (VMware also announced a new partnership with Nvidia), native fault tolerance directly on the platform, scale improvements at the management level, big data support for Apache Hadoop, and long-distance vMotion for moving running workflows aross data centres across the country.

Gelsinger further highlighted scale performance improvements, namely double the number of hosts per cluster from 32 to 64, as well as four times the VMs per host and four times the virtual ram per VM to four terabytes.

He added that this would allow environments such as SAP HANA to be run by all customers 100 per cent of the time.

A simpler virtual storage

Where vSphere functionality is expanding, VMware’s Virtual SAN is being simplified.

The company announced version 6 of its vSAN solution, which will feature a two-tier all-flash architecture, giving it more than four times increased I/O per node compared to vSAN 5.5.  Furthermore it also has added rack-awareness capabilities, and as with vSphere, scalability for vSAN has also increased to 64 nodes per cluster.

“It is just so easy to manage, deploy, provision storage within a v-centric environment now,” said Gelsinger.  He touted that over 1,000 customers have purchased Virtual SAN in the nine months following release.

Lastly, VMware announced vSphere Virtual Volumes, a set of storage APIs that enable application-centric, policy-based automation of third party and external storage arrays.

“This allows you to have the same flexibility, that same management and profile being realized by external and third party storage arrays,” said Gelsinger.

He showed off third party support for the technology from companies including Dell, EMC, HP, NetApp, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Symantec.

All newly announced products with the exception of vCloud Air hybrid networking services will be available Q1 2015.

“We expect that in the course of 2015, all the storage industry will deliver vVol-capable products in the marketplace,” Gelsinger said. “What a way to start 2015 with this comprehensive set of new product technologies.”

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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