VMware trots out multi-cloud management, enhanced edge compute stack

VMware unveiled a series of upgrades to its cloud software portfolio at the VMware Explore 2022 expo. Its latest offerings most notably include a new multi-cloud management product and an enhanced managed edge solution.

The multi-cloud software, called VMware Aria, is designed to help enterprises manage the cost, performance, configuration and delivery of infrastructure and cloud-native applications.

To perform these functions, VMware Aria uses a graph-based data store – dubbed Aria Graph – that captures application resources in near-real time. This isn’t an easy task to accomplish on the granular level, according to Purnima Padmanabhan, SVP and general manager at VMware’s cloud management business.

“As you think about multi-cloud, there are many different clouds, cloud objects and many different relationships. Modeling all of them is hard,” she said at a media briefing ahead of VMware Explore. These cloud objects each have separate application programming interfaces (APIs) and datasets.

Some of VMware Aria’s other features include business insights that leverage AI and machine learning analytics, along with automated enforcement of networking, security and cost compliance.

“When it comes to multi-cloud, we are seeing adoption among our customers at a very strong pace,” said Padmanabhan. “Cloud native applications and public clouds are being adopted by our customers. But these customers now have new management needs, which are overarching while they have many clouds.”

Regarding the edge, VMware introduced an updated version of its Edge Compute Stack. The stack is based on VMware’s SD-WAN components and its ESXi hardware partitioner.

Upgrades include higher performance with GPU pass-through support, enabling AI and machine learning use cases. The stack will also offer support for smaller cluster sizes when running containers on smaller commercial off-the-shelf hardware.

“What is really critical for enterprises as they’re going through digital transformation…is that the edge compute has to work within the broader context of what’s happening in the local area network, what’s happening in the wide area network, and of course all of this from a security standpoint,” said Sanjay Uppal, SVP and general manager of VMware’s service provider and edge business.

VMware is also partnering with NTT to deploy Edge as-a-service with private 5G connectivity. This offering includes a beta version of VMware’s private mobile network, which is built on the Edge Compute Stack.

NTT’s role in the partnership is to allocate spectrum, conduct site planning as well as support network service-level agreements, Uppal explained. Meanwhile, VMware is providing its Edge Compute Stack along with security services, SASE points of presence and other cloud components.

Uppal added he expects NTT and VMware’s offering to be “extremely widely deployed, because it’s going to support both container workloads as well as virtual machines” for enterprises in the manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and retail sectors.

Taking Tanzu further

Further boosting cloud-native applications, VMware revealed a slate of updates for Tanzu, its Kubernetes-based cloud-native container platform. The upgraded Tanzu application – with newly-integrated support for Red Hat’s OpenShift platform – is expected to go to market later this year.

Ajay Patel, SVP and general manager for VMware’s modern apps and management business group, said Tanzu is designed to improve developer productivity and simplify DevSecOps delivery.

“We made a significant amount of investment in open-source delivery, like backstage adding streamlined pipelines or more importantly, now adding support for additional Kubernetes deployment platforms,” he said.

Developers can use the newer version of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, for instance, to create and manage clusters from a single location. This in turn helps enterprises extend their Kubernetes operating model across data centers and clouds.

Strengthening the Tanzu platform has been VMware’s key priority as it branches out its multi-cloud software, CEO Raghu Raghuram said last year.

Patel broke down Tanzu’s Kubernetes operations into three areas.

“We simplify platform operations, we deliver a secure platform for workload and infrastructure, we’re starting to provide the visibility you need to run and operate at scale in any modern distributed cloud,” he said.

As for boosting cloud operations in hybrid workspaces, VMware is rolling out Horizon Managed Desktop, a service that delivers fully managed virtual desktops and apps across on-premises, hybrid and public cloud environments.

Enterprises can connect to Horizon virtual desktops via a series of endpoint devices – including Google Chromebooks.

Additionally, VMware is extending its Freestyle Orchestrator support for mobile iOS and Android devices.

“This is our revolutionary drag and drop interface that we designed to make it easy for IT to truly build workflows that are transforming,” said Renu Upadhyay, VP of product marketing at VMware.

“There’s continuous innovation across the platforms that comprise the end user computing space, whether it’s iOS, Android,” she added. “We’re continuing to build on that to make it faster for IT to bring any changes on the platform into their management environment.”

Rounding out its tech upgrades, VMware today said it's extending its partnership with Microsoft, allowing customers to purchase Microsoft's Azure VMware Solution as part of VMware Cloud Universal, VMware's subscription program for multi-cloud services. 

Zia Yusuf, VMware's SVP of strategic ecosystems and industry solutions, noted in a statement customers using the program can adopt the Azure product to "speed cloud migration, simplify ongoing operations, modernize applications faster and achieve better economics."

VMware also inked an expanded partnership deal with IBM to collaborate on development and go-to-market strategies for new jointly engineered cloud solutions.