A New Era: Broadcom’s Streamlined Approach to VMware’s Product Lineup and Licensing

A New Era: Broadcom’s Streamlined Approach to VMware’s Product Lineup and Licensing

Krish Prasad, VMware Cloud Foundation division General Manager, published this blog a few hours ago: https://news.vmware.com/company/vmware-by-broadcom-business-transformation

He announced a massive simplification of the VCF division’s product portfolio, which should help customers get more value for their investment in VMware solutions. To summarize Krish’s announcement:

  • There are going to be two primary standardized offers only from now on: vSphere Foundation and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)
  • End of sale of perpetual licenses and Support and Subscription (SnS) renewals
  • Bring-your-own-subscription license (BYOL) option, which provides portability to VMware-validated hybrid clouds running VMware Cloud Foundation

Disclaimer: This blog should provide customers and partners with a summary and some additional information from Krish’s announcement. There is also a chance that some of my understanding is incomplete or wrong. This article reflects my personal opinion and understanding, not Broadcom’s.

I will update the blog over the next few days and weeks.

vSphere Editions

The primary vSphere edition moving forward is called “vSphere Foundation”:

The new VMware vSphere Foundation delivers a more simplified enterprise-grade workload platform for our mid-sized to smaller customers. This solution integrates vSphere with our intelligent operations management to provide the best performance, availability, and efficiency with greater visibility and insights.

In other words, from now on vSphere customers get Aria Operations Advanced (formerly known as vRealize Operations) and Aria Operations for Logs (formerly known as vRealize Log Insight) together with vSphere (which has vCenter and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid included).

vSphere Essentials Plus Kit

Components:

  • vSphere Essentials Plus
  • vCenter Essentials
  • Per 96-core Kit (3 host max. / 6 CPU limit / 192-core limit; a host can have either 1x 64 cores or 2x 32 cores max.)
  • Includes Production Support

vSphere Standard

Components:

  • vSphere Standard
  • vCenter Standard
  • Includes Production Support

vSphere Foundation (VVF)

Components:

  • vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • vCenter Standard
  • Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG)
  • vSAN Enterprise 100 GiB free (see FAQ below)
  • Aria Suite Term Standard
    • Includes Aria Operations Advanced and Aria Operations for Logs
  • Includes Production Support
  • Plus Available Add-ons

Add-on Offerings

VMware vSAN Enterprise (add-on for VCF and vSphere Foundation only)

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery / Ransomware Recovery  (add-on for VCF and vSphere Foundation only)

Site Recovery Manager Enterprise

VMware Advanced Load Balancer (aka Avi)

VMware Firewall (add-on for VCF only), aka NSX Distributed Firewall

VMware Firewall with Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) (add-on for VCF only)

Tanzu Intelligence (details not clear yet)

Tanzu Mission Control (SaaS and self-managed)

Tanzu Application Platform / Spring Runtime (details not clear yet)

More add-ons coming in future (for example Private AI Foundation)

VMware Cloud Customer Journey

Existing VCF or future vSphere Foundation customers would go for the new VMware Cloud Foundation now, which can now be considered a true full-stack private and hybrid cloud stack:

VMware Cloud Foundation, our flagship enterprise-class hybrid cloud solution for customers to run their business critical and modern applications – in a secure, resilient and cost efficient manner. To allow more customers to benefit from this solution, we’ve reduced the previous subscription list price by half and added higher support service levels including enhanced support for activating the solution and lifecycle management.

Very important in case you missed that from the vSphere Foundation section above: Moving forward, VMware Cloud Foundation only includes NSX for network virtualization (overlay), with no more micro-segmentation or distributed firewalling (DFW) capabilities.

In other words, customers who need NSX’s DFW (VMware Firewall add-on) capabilities, need a VCF subscription first, which includes NSX.

Note: Currently, all new licensing bundles are coming in a “disconnected” fashion (no VMware Cloud connectivity)

While Krish mentioned BYOL and license portability in the future, there seem to be no immediate changes about the VMware Cloud and other hyperscaler offerings.

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)

Components:

  • vSphere Enterprise Plus
    • Includes TKG and vCenter Standard
  • vSAN Enterprise per TiB per X amount of cores
  • Aria Suite Enterprise
    • Aria Operations Enterprise (includes Aria Operations for Logs)
    • Aria Automation
  • NSX Networking for VCF
  • HCX Enterprise
  • Aria Operations for Networks Enterprise (formerly known as vRealize Network Insight)
  • SDDC Manager
  • Includes Select Support
    • Includes SRE (customers must deploy SDDC Manager to be entitled to SRE)
  • Add-ons: See above

Note: Going forward, standalone offerings are being EOA-ed (end of availability) – no more VCF components “a la carte”

VMware Cloud on X

We can expect that long-term these VMC or hyperscaler subscription offerings will converge to VCF.

Final Comments

Look, I do not have all the answers and information yet, because it is a lot to unpack. That is all I can share with you right now. Be patient. 🙂

But, this announcement from Broadcom (Krish) was an unexpected surprise since almost everyone was expecting price increases after the acquisition. Instead, Broadcom is cutting the subscription pricing in half!

An update of the above content can be found here: VMware vSphere Foundation and VMware Cloud Foundation Overview

Additional Resources

Unofficial Licensing FAQ

  • Q: What if I am a vSphere Essentials customer?
    • A: I would recommend the vSphere Essentials Plus Kit
  • Q: What if I only need vSphere Enterprise Plus?
    • A: Your best option is vSphere Foundation. There are no more standalone products.
  • Q: Do I need VCF if I want NSX distributed firewall?
    • A: Yes, at the moment this seems to be the case that the “VMware Firewall” (distributed firewall aka micro-segmentation) add-on cannot be subscribed as a vSphere Foundation customer. The same is true of other features like security or gateway firewall.
  • Q: What if have/need vSphere for Desktop?
    • A: The recommended solution is vSphere Foundation
  • Q: What if I am a vCloud Suite customer?
    • A: VMware Cloud Foundation makes sense for vCloud Suite Enterprise and Advanced editions. If you have vCloud Suite Standard I recommend vSphere Foundation going forward.
  • Q: How many vCenters are included?
    • A: To my knowledge, it is one vCenter per core. So, one could say that this means “unlimited”.
  • Q: What happens to the Avi (NSX ALB) Basic edition?
    • A: It seems there will be no Avi Basic anymore. Customers need to go for the add-on.
  • Q: Do customers from now on need to deploy SDDC Manager as part of VMware Cloud Foundation?
    • A: No, they do not. But to be entitled to SRE, you need to deploy the full stack.
  • Q: How is Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Enterprise licensed?
    • A: Per protected 25-VMs
  • Q: What about the True Visibility Suite (TVS)?
    • A: These management packs will be enabled as part of the Aria Suites which are included in vSphere Foundation and VMware Cloud Foundation.
  • Q: What about (vSAN) ROBO licenses?
    • A: ROBO licenses are EOA as well, but all vSphere Foundation customers will receive vSAN Enterprise 100 GiB (for free) for every core purchased.
  • Q: What is included in the Tanzu Intelligence add-on?
    • A: Tanzu Guardrails (Advanced or Enterprise), Aria Operations for Apps (formerly known as Tanzu Observability (aka Wavefront)), Tanzu Application Catalog, Tanzu CloudHealth Enterprise, Tanzu Insights
  • Q: What happened to SaltStack Cionfig and SecOps?
    • A: Both are part of the Tanzu Guardrails Enterprise add-on
  • Q: Can customers mix perpetual and new offerings?
    • A: In general yes.
  • Q: Can you tell me more about the vSAN free tier included with vSphere Foundation?
    • A: It seems you are going to be entitled to a maximum of 100GiB per core in the vSAN storage cluster. Example: 4 hosts with 32 cores each * 100GiB = 12.8TiB (without paying for any vSAN add-on!).
      • Important: This feature will be available in one of the upcoming releases. Hopefully in vSphere 8.0U3 🙂
VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 – Technical Overview

VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 – Technical Overview

This technical overview supersedes this version, which was based on VMware Cloud Foundation 5.0, and now covers all capabilities and enhancements that were delivered with VCF 5.1.

What is VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)?

VMware Cloud Foundation is a multi-cloud platform that provides a full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) that is made for modernizing data centers and deploying modern container-based applications. VCF is based on different components like vSphere (compute), vSAN (storage), NSX (networking), and some parts of the Aria Suite (formerly vRealize Suite). The idea of VCF follows a standardized, automated, and validated approach that simplifies the management of all the needed software-defined infrastructure resources.

This stack provides customers with consistent infrastructure and operations in a cloud operating model that can be deployed on-premises, at the edge, or in the public cloud.

What software is being delivered in VMware Cloud Foundation?

Update February 16th, 2024: Please have a look at this article to understand the current VCF licensing. I will publish an updated version of this blog as soon as VMware Cloud Foundation 5.2 has been released.

The BoM (bill of materials) is changing with each VCF release. With VCF 5.1 the following components and software versions are included:

 

Software Component

Version

Date

Build Number

Cloud Builder VM

5.1

07 NOV 2023

22688368

SDDC Manager

5.1

07 NOV 2023

22688368

VMware vCenter Server Appliance

8.0 Update 2a

26 OCT 2023

22617221

VMware ESXi

8.0 Update 2

21 SEP 2023

22380479

VMware vSAN Witness Appliance

8.0 Update 2

21 SEP 2023

22385739

VMware NSX

4.1.2.1

7 NOV 2023

22667789

VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle

8.14

19 OCT 2023

22630473

  • VMware vSAN is included in the VMware ESXi bundle.
  • You can use VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle to deploy VMware Aria Automation, VMware Aria Operations, VMware Aria Operations for Logs, and Workspace ONE Access. VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle determines which versions of these products are compatible and only allows you to install/upgrade to supported versions.
  • VMware Aria Operations for Logs content packs are installed when you deploy VMware Aria Operations for Logs.
  • The VMware Aria Operations management pack is installed when you deploy VMware Aria Operations.
  • You can access the latest versions of the content packs for VMware Aria Operations for Logs from the VMware Solution Exchange and the VMware Aria Operations for Logs in-product marketplace store.

What’s new with VCF 5.1?

Important changes mentioned in the release notes:

  • Support for vSAN ESA.vSAN ESA is an alternative, single-tier architecture designed ground-up for NVMe-based platforms to deliver higher performance with more predictable I/O latencies, higher space efficiency, per-object based data services, and native, high-performant snapshots.
    VCF 5.1 vSAN ESA
  • vSphere Distributed Services engine for Ready nodes. AMD-Pensando and NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPUs are now supported. Offloading the Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS) and NSX network and security functions to the hardware provides significant performance improvements for low latency and high bandwidth applications. NSX distributed firewall processing is also offloaded from the server CPUs to the network silicon.
  • Mixed-mode Support for Workload Domains​. A VCF instance can exist in a mixed BOM state where the workload domains are on different VCF 5.x versions. Note: The management domain should be on the highest version in the instance.
    VCF 5.1 Mixed Mode
  • Support for mixed license deployment. A combination of keyed and keyless licenses can be used within the same VCF instance.
  • VMware vRealize rebranding. VMware recently renamed vRealize Suite of products to VMware Aria Suite. See the Aria Naming Updates blog post for more details.
  • Increased GPU scale. VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 provides increased support for VMs to be configured with up to 16 GPU devices.
    VCF 5.1 GPU Scale

What are the VMware Cloud Foundation components?

To manage the logical infrastructure in the private cloud, VMware Cloud Foundation augments the VMware virtualization and management components with VMware Cloud Builder and VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager.

VMware Cloud Foundation Component Description
VMware Cloud Builder VMware Cloud Builder automates the deployment of the software-defined stack, creating the first software-defined unit known as the management domain.
SDDC Manager

SDDC Manager automates the entire system life cycle, that is, from configuration and provisioning to upgrades and patching including host firmware, and simplifies day-to-day management and operations. From this interface, the virtual infrastructure administrator or cloud administrator can provision new private cloud resources, monitor changes to the logical infrastructure, and manage life cycle and other operational activities.

VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager Dashboard

vSphere

vSphere uses virtualization to transform individual data centers into aggregated computing infrastructures that include CPU, storage, and networking resources. VMware vSphere manages these infrastructures as a unified operating environment and provides you with the tools to administer the data centers that participate in that environment.

The two core components of vSphere are ESXi and vCenter Server. ESXi is the virtualization platform where you create and run virtual machines and virtual appliances. vCenter Server is the service through which you manage multiple hosts connected in a network and pool host resources.

vSAN

vSAN aggregates local or direct-attached data storage devices to create a single storage pool that is shared across all hosts in the vSAN cluster. Using vSAN removes the need for external shared storage, and simplifies storage configuration and virtual machine provisioning. Built-in policies allow for flexibility in data availability.

NSX NSX is focused on providing networking, security, automation, and operational simplicity for emerging application frameworks and architectures that have heterogeneous endpoint environments and technology stacks. NSX supports cloud-native applications, bare-metal workloads, multi-hypervisor environments, public clouds, and multiple clouds.
vSphere with Tanzu By using the integration between VMware Tanzu and VMware Cloud Foundation, you can deploy and operate the compute, networking, and storage infrastructure for vSphere with Tanzu, also called Workload Management. vSphere with Tanzu transforms vSphere to a platform for running Kubernetes workloads natively on the hypervisor layer. When enabled on a vSphere cluster, vSphere with Tanzu provides the capability to run Kubernetes workloads directly on ESXi hosts and to create upstream Kubernetes clusters within dedicated resource pools.
VMware Aria Suite

VMware Cloud Foundation supports automated deployment of VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle. You can then deploy and manage the life cycle of Workspace ONE Access and the VMware Aria Suite products (VMware Aria Operations for Logs, VMware Aria Automation, and VMware Aria Operations) by using VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle.

VMware Aria Suite is a purpose-built management solution for the heterogeneous data center and the hybrid cloud. It is designed to deliver and manage infrastructure and applications to increase business agility while maintaining IT control. It provides the most comprehensive management stack for private and public clouds, multiple hypervisors, and physical infrastructure.

VMware Cloud Foundation Architecture

VCF is made for greenfield deployments (brownfield not supported) and supports two different architecture models:

  • Standard Architecture
  • Consolidated Architecture

VMware Cloud Foundation Deployment Options

The standard architecture separates management workloads and lets them run on a dedicated management workload domain. Customer workloads are deployed on a separate virtual infrastructure workload domain (VI workload domain). Each workload domain is managed by a separate vCenter Server instance, which allows autonomous licensing and lifecycle management.

VMware Cloud Foundation Single Site Deployment

Note: The standard architecture is the recommended model because it separates management workloads from customer workloads.

Customers with a small environment (or a PoC) can start with a consolidated architecture. This allows you to run customer and management workloads together on the same workload domain (WLD).

Management Domain

The management domain is created during the bring-up process by VMware Cloud Builder and contains the VMware Cloud Foundation management components as follows:

  • Minimum four ESXi hosts

  • An instance of vCenter Server

  • A three-node NSX Manager cluster

  • SDDC Manager

  • vSAN datastore
  • One or more vSphere clusters each of which can scale up to the vSphere maximum of 64

VI Workload Domains

You create VI workload domains to run customer workloads. For each VI workload domain, you can choose the storage option – vSAN, NFS, vVols, or VMFS on FC.

VMware Cloud Foundation Storage Options

A VI workload domain consists of one or more vSphere clusters. Each cluster starts with a minimum of three hosts and can scale up to the vSphere maximum of 64 hosts. SDDC Manager automates the creation of the VI workload domain and the underlying vSphere clusters.

For the first VI workload domain in your environment, SDDC Manager deploys a vCenter Server instance and a three-node NSX Manager cluster in the management domain. For each subsequent VI workload domain, SDDC Manager deploys an additional vCenter Server instance. New VI workload domains can share the same NSX Manager cluster with an existing VI workload domain or you can deploy a new NSX Manager cluster. VI workload domains cannot use the NSX Manager cluster for the management domain.

What is a vSAN Stretched Cluster?

vSAN stretched clusters extend a vSAN cluster from a single site to two sites for a higher level of availability and inter-site load balancing.

VMware Cloud Foundation Stretched Cluster

Does VCF provide flexible workload domain sizing?

Yes, that’s possible. You can license the WLDs based on your needs and use the editions that make the most sense depending on your use cases.

VMware Cloud Foundation Flexible Licensing

How many physical nodes are required to deploy VMware Cloud Foundation?

A minimum of four physical nodes is required to start in a consolidated architecture or to build your management workload domain. Four nodes are required to ensure that the environment can tolerate a failure while another node is being updated.

VI workload domains require a minimum of three nodes.

Can I mix vSAN ReadyNodes and Dell EMC VxRail deployments?

No. This is not possible.

What about edge/remote use cases?

When you would like to deploy VMware Cloud Foundation workload domains at a remote site, you can deploy so-called “VCF Remote Clusters”. Those remote workload domains are managed by the VCF instance at the central site and you can perform the same full-stack lifecycle management for the remote sites from the central SDDC Manager.

VMware Cloud Foundation Remote Cluster

Prerequisites to deploy remote clusters can be found here.

Note: If vSAN is used, VCF only supports a minimum of 3 nodes and a maximum of 4 nodes per VCF Remote Cluster. If NFS, vVOLs or Fiber Channel is used as principal storage, then VCF supports a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 nodes.

Important: Remote clusters and remote workload domains are not supported when VCF+ is enabled.

How many resources does the VCF management WLD need during the bring-up process?

We know that VCF includes vSphere (ESXi and vCenter), vSAN, SDDC Manager, NSX and eventually some components of the vRealize Suite. The following table should give you an idea what the resource requirements look like to get VCF up and running:

VMware Cloud Foundation Resource Requirements

If you are interested to know how many resources the Aria Suite (formerly vRealize Suite) will consume of the management workload domain, have a look at this table:

VMware Cloud Foundation Resource Requirements vRealize

Does VCF support HCI Mesh?

Yes. VMware Cloud Foundation 4.2 and later supports sharing remote datastores with HCI Mesh for VI workload domains.

HCI Mesh is a software-based approach for disaggregation of compute and storage resources in vSAN. HCI Mesh brings together multiple independent vSAN clusters by enabling cross-cluster utilization of remote datastore capacity within vCenter Server. HCI Mesh enables you to efficiently utilize and consume data center resources, which provides simple storage management at scale.

Note: At this time, HCI Mesh is not supported with VCF ROBO.

Important: HCI Mesh can be configured with vSAN OSA or ESA. HCI Mesh is not supported between a mix of
vSAN OSA and ESA clusters.

Does VMware Cloud Foundation support vSAN Max?

At the time of writing, no.

How is VMware Cloud Foundation licensed?

Currently, VCF is sold as part of VMware Cloud editions.

How can I migrate my workloads from a non-VCF environment to a new VCF deployment?

VMware HCX provides a path to modernize from a legacy data center architecture by migrating to VMware Cloud Foundation.

VMware Cloud Foundation HCX

Can I install VCF in my home lab?

Yes, you can. With the VLC Lab Constructor, you can deploy an automated VCF instance in a nested configuration. There is also a Slack VLC community for support.

VCF Lab Constructor

Note: Please have a look at “VCF Holodeck” if you would like to create a smaller “sandbox” for testing or training purposes

VCF Holodeck Toolkit 

Where can I find more information about VCF?

Please consult the VMware Cloud Foundation FAQ for more information.

VMware Explore 2023 – Major Announcements

VMware Explore 2023 – Major Announcements

After Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to attend VMware Explore 2023 in Barcelona as well. This article gives you an overview of some of the major announcements. In case you missed the announcements from Las Vegas in August 2023, have a look here: https://www.cloud13.ch/2023/08/22/vmware-explore-2023-us-day-1-announcements/

VMware Sovereign Cloud

Today, VMware announced new innovations and technology partnerships that will help accelerate sovereign digital innovation and enhance security for customers around the world. Today, more than 50 VMware Sovereign Cloud providers in 33 countries are part of a powerful, interconnected, and diverse ecosystem that supports customers’ sovereign cloud requirements. Together, VMware and VMware Sovereign Cloud partners are helping organizations unlock the innovative power of their data while remaining compliant with data privacy regulations.

Details can be found here: https://news.vmware.com/releases/vmware-explore-2023-barcelona-sovereign-cloud 

Software-Defined Data Center

Since VMware announced vSphere 8.0 U2 and vSAN 8.0 U2 in Las Vegas, and NSX 4.1.2 in October 2023, we only heard about the future VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 release in Barcelona.

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)

VMware announced VCF 5.1 with the following BOM:

VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 BOM

Here is a list with other enhancements:

  • VCF Support for vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA)
  • Networking and Security Enhancements
  • vSphere Distributed Services Engine for VCF environments (support for DPUs)
  • GPU Enhancements for Performance and Scale (up to 16 GPUs/vGPUs per VM)
  • Mixed-mode Support for Workload Domains (run VCF 5.x workload domains of different versions)
  • Terraform Provider for VMware Cloud Foundation
  • Run VCF 5.x workload domains of different versions (key-based & keyless licensing options for brownfield deployments)

VCF Mixed Mode

Note: VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1 is now available for perpetual deployments, subscription environments will be supported with VCF 5.1 at a later date.

Ransomware

VMware announced the upcoming launch of VMware Live Recovery, a new solution that provides protection against ransomware as well as disaster recovery across VMware Cloud in one unified console. VMware Live Recovery is designed to help organizations protect their VMware-based applications and data from a wide variety of threats, including ransomware attacks, infrastructure failure, human error, and more. By bringing together the functions of established products VMware Site Recovery Manager and VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery with Ransomware Recovery – and combining them under a unified, flexible, and SaaS-based console – customers can realize comprehensive enterprise protection within a single solution.

VMware Live Recovery provides:

  • Secure Cyber Recovery. VMware Live Recovery will enable organizations to recover from ransomware attacks confidently and quickly.
  • Unified Protection. VMware Live Recovery will provide a single console to manage ransomware and disaster recovery functionality, simplifying administration across the enterprise.
  • Simplified Consumption. VMware Live Recovery will offer flexible licensing across use cases and clouds, making it easy for organizations to get the protection they need.

Modern Applications

Have a look at this blog to understand the enhancements made to Tanzu Hub and Tanzu Intelligence Services: https://tanzu.vmware.com/content/blog/tanzu-hub-integrations-explore-2023 

Tanzu Application Platform 1.7

If you are interested in TAP, have a look at this blog: https://tanzu.vmware.com/content/blog/tanzu-application-platform-1-7-release-news

Tanzu Application Service 5.0

Should you be looking for the TAS 5.0 announcement, have a look at this blog: https://tanzu.vmware.com/content/blog/tanzu-application-service-5-release-news 

Tanzu Application Catalog

After Tanzu Application Catalog was renamed to VMware Application Catalog in November 2021, it now seems to be called Tanzu Application Catalog again. 😀

I think the same is true for Tanzu Data Services, which was renamed to VMware Data Services, which now seems to be known as Tanzu Data Services.

Tanzu Data Services

VMware announced the next major release for Data Services Manager (DSM) and two new partnerships.

Data Services Manager 2.0 (DSM)

VMware vision is to make data easy to store, manage, and consume on any VMware cloud.

The upcoming release of Data Services Manager will be tightly integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation, with built-in database visibility and resource controls accessible through vSphere UI and APIs. Data Services Manager 2.0 will also support enhanced automation for data services lifecycle management, including non-disruptive patching and upgrades. Finally, it will deliver cloud-native self-service capabilities for application teams through tools of their choice, with support for VMware Aria Automation and Kubernetes. Last but not least, with version 2.0, Data Services Manager will become a platform for managing different data services, based not only on data engines that come from VMware (currently Tanzu SQL), but also engines from 3rd parties.

That is why they announced the initial key partnerships with Google Cloud for AlloyDB Omni and MinIO for Object Storage on VMware Cloud Foundation. All managed by DSM with the same features, workflows, and user experience. This includes deeper integration with vSphere as well as VMware vSAN with data path optimizations and the use of features like snapshots and clones.

VMware Data Services Manager 2.0

Note: Expected GA date is January 2024

Anywhere Workspace

The end-user computing related announcements are summarized in this blog: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2023/11/whats-new-in-anywhere-workspace-at-vmware-explore-barcelona-2023.html 

VMware Explore 2023 – The Bigger Picture

VMware Explore 2023 – The Bigger Picture

I was in Las Vegas last week to attend VMware Explore 2023 and I heard great discussions about multi-cloud and generative AI, and the future of VMware. There were also interesting opinions and some concerns about the Tanzu and Aria product lines – a few Aria products have been moved to the Tanzu portfolio and VMware rebranded four Aria products as Tanzu Intelligence Services. I understand that a portion of these announcements and changes might be confusing for customers and partners, and some people say everything which has been announced last week has something to do with the alignment to Broadcom’s strategy.

VMware Tanzu Doo

While a part of the above guesses/speculation might be true, I see a lot of potential, new opportunities, and enhancements. Yes, the future seems to be about multi-cloud and generative AI, but there is more than meets the eye.

Less Complexity

If you want to get subscriptions for vSphere, vSAN or VMware Cloud Foundation, there are different vSphere/VCF editions, HCI kits, and vCloud Suite editions (combination of the VMware Aria suite with vSphere) available – around 20 choices I would guess. That is why VMware announced five prescriptive VMware Cloud editions to reduce complexity and provide customers with more flexibility. The Aria Universal Suite can be found in all editions (essentials, standard, pro, advanced, enterprise). The VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) components (vSphere, vSAN, NSX) are included in the VMware Cloud Advanced edition and above.

Do not forget: The whole VMware Cloud aka VMware Cloud Anywhere story builds upon VMware Cloud Foundation.

Operational Efficiency

With VMware Cloud Foundation and a VMware Cloud approach, customers and their IT teams can become cloud providers for their business and internal customers. It was mentioned during the general session and one of the solution keynotes and the whole crowd laughed and clapped after:

Recently, VMware announced VCF 5.0, which was a very big step forward. It took a while, but again, it is a very big step forward! Previous major VCF version upgrades required full migrations and upgrades can now be done three times faster. VMware also mentioned a 60% increase in workload capacity scale per VCF instance.

VMware One Click

This tells me that customers can soon build their own hyperscaler cloud on-premises and that VMware makes the life of partners like AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud easier for their own VCF-based implementation (VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Solution, Google Cloud VMware Engine).

VMware Cloud Foundation finally gets closer to the enterprises-readiness to become the “new vSphere”.

Compute

So far only been announced as early availability, VMware also wants to provide simpler ESXi fleet management, which focuses on benefits like:

  • Standardization across vCenters and data centers
  • Faster upgrades and reduced overall maintenance windows
  • Higher chances for upgrade success
  • Better guidance (e.g., knowledge base articles) and faster resolution with telemetry and logs
  • Reduction of potential security breaches (patching)

ESXi Fleet Mgmt

With the upcoming release of vSphere 8 Update 2, VMware provides significant improvements to several areas of maintenance to reduce the need for downtime and make those maintenance changes/improvements less disruptive.

Storage

Last year, with the release of vSphere/vSAN 8, VMware introduced the new vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) as the next generation of hyperconverged infrastructure software. vSAN ESA enables new levels of performance, scalability, resilience, and simplicity with high-performance storage devices.

Note: This new architecture promised RAID-5/6 to perform equal to RAID-1!

With the announcement of the upcoming release of vSAN 8 Update 2, VMware introduced vSAN Max as the new (optional) solution for disaggregated storage deployment models.

Note: Disaggregation is about the non-linear scaling of compute and storage

vSAN Max

Customers get the ability to provision a vSAN cluster to be used as shared storage for vSphere-based (aka compute-only) clusters. Therefore, one can expect better scale-out scenarios and better cost efficiency.

Note: Storage disaggregation with vSAN ESA has been introduced with vSAN 8 Update 1 already.

What is the difference compared to vSAN 8 Update 2? Better scalability (capacity), better performance, and simpler operations with a single interface across the entire environment.

Networking – First-Ever Enterprise-Grade VPC for Private and Multi-Cloud

Starting with NSX 4.1.1, VMware introduces “NSX Virtual Private Clouds” (VPCs), which is an abstraction layer that simplifies setting up self-contained VPC networks within an NSX project to consume networking and security in a self-service model.

NSX VPC

The idea is to hide the complexity of the underlying NSX infrastructure, network topology, networking objects, and IP address management from the application owners.  Meaning, that changes made within VPC environments have no impact on other tenants.

With these changes and enhancements in vSphere, vSAN, and NSX, VMware is moving in the right direction to provide a superior cloud stack.

Multi-Cloud and Generative AI

The main topic of the general session at VMware Explore was about the next generation of applications that are powered by generative AI. As always, VMware is far ahead and most customers are still struggling with the right multi-cloud approach before they can take care of this generative AI beast.

All of the major public cloud providers are VMware partners and the VMware Cloud (or supercloud) approach is gaining momentum.

After multi-cloud, one of the next trends is generative AI and VMware partners up with Nvidia to provide a so-called VMware Private AI Foundation that provides solutions for concerns and challenges like:

  • Data Access and Control
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Data Sovereignty
  • Data Privacy
  • Ethical Considerations
  • (Vendor) Lock-In
  • Third-Party Dependencies

Addressing these concerns involves a combination of different vendors and cloud providers.

BildThe Future

I first thought that VMware’s announcements were not very groundbreaking, but I can see the bigger picture now. Just needed more time to digest all the information.

It is about reducing complexity, increasing flexibility, making the consumption of VMware products easier, and preparing for the future (besides correcting mistakes). And it looks like the future of VMware is less about abstraction layers and more about providing control planes with the right platforms underneath.

If Broadcom can further improve the core products together with VMware and continues to work on workload mobility and application portability-related topics, I see golden times for VMware! And sunshine, unicorns and rainbows for all of you! 😉

More to come in November 2023 at VMware Explore Europe. 🙂

PS: In case you would like to read more about all the VMware Explore 2023 announcements, have a look at this article.

 

VMware Explore 2023 US – Day 1 Announcements

VMware Explore 2023 US – Day 1 Announcements

VMware Explore 2023 US is currently happening in Las Vegas and I am onsite! Below you will find an overview of the information that was shared with us during the general session and solution keynotes.

Please be aware that this list is not complete but it should include all the major announcements including references and sources.

VMware Aria and VMware Tanzu

Starting this year, VMware Aria and VMware Tanzu form a single track at VMware Explore and VMware introduced the develop, operate, and optimize pillars (DOO) for Aria and Tanzu around April 2023.

VMware Tanzu DOO Framework

The following name changes and adjustments have been announced at VMware Explore US 2023:

  • The VMware Tanzu portfolio includes two new product categories (product family) called “Tanzu Application Platform” and “Tanzu Intelligence Services”.
  • Tanzu Application Platform includes the products Tanzu Application Platform (TAP) and Tanzu for Kubernetes Operations (TKO), and the new Tanzu Application Engine module.
  • Tanzu Intelligence Services – Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth, Aria Guardrails, Aria Insights, and Aria Migration will be rebranded as “Tanzu” and become part of this new Tanzu Intelligence Services category.
    • Tanzu Hub & Tanzu Graph
    • Tanzu CloudHealth
    • Tanzu Guardrails
    • Tanzu Insights (currently known as Aria Insights)
    • Tanzu Transformer (currently known as Aria Migration)
  • Aria Hub and Aria Graph are now called Tanzu Hub
  • VMware Cloud Packs are now called the VMware Cloud Editions (more information below)

Note: VMware expects to implement these changes latest by Q1 2024

The VMware Aria and Tanzu announcement and rebranding information can be found here.

Tanzu Mission Control

After the announcement that Tanzu Mission Control supports the lifecycle management of Amazon EKS clusters, VMware announced the expansion to provide lifecycle management capabilities of Microsoft AKS clusters now as well. 

Tanzu Application Engine (Private Beta)

VMware announced a new solution for the Tanzu Application Platform category.

VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Operations is introducing Tanzu Application Engine, enhancing multi-cloud support with lifecycle management of Azure AKS clusters, and offering new Kubernetes FinOps (cluster cost) visibility. A new abstraction that includes workload placement, K8s runtime, data services, libraries, infra resources, with a set of policies and guardrails.

The Tanzu Application Engine announcement can be found here.

VMware RabbitMQ Managed Control Plane

I know a lot of customers who built an in-house RabbitMQ cloud service.

VMware just announced a beta program for a new VMware RabbitMQ Managed Control Plane which allows enterprises to seamlessly integrate RabbitMQ within their existing cloud environment, offering flexibility and control over data streaming processes.

What’s New with VMware Aria?

Other Aria announcements can be found here.

What’s New with VMware Aria Operations at VMware Explore

Next-Gen Public Cloud Management with VMware Aria Automation

VMware Cloud Editions

What has started with four different VMware Cloud Packs, is now known as “VMware Cloud Editions” with five different options:

VMware Cloud Editions

Here’s an overview of the different solutions/subscriptions included in each edition:

VMware Cloud Editions Connected Subscriptions

More VMware Cloud related announcements can be found here.

What’s New in vSphere 8 Update 2

As always, VMware is working on enhancing operational efficiency to make the life of an IT admin easier. And this gets better with the vSphere 8 U2 release.

In vSphere 8 Update 2, we are making significant improvements to several areas of maintenance to reduce and in some cases eliminate this need for downtime so vSphere administrators can make those important maintenance changes without having a large impact on the wider vSphere infrastructure consumers.

These enhancements include, reduced downtime upgrades for vCenter, automatic vCenter LVM snapshots before patching and updating, non-disruptive certificate management, and reliable network configuration recovery after a vCenter is restored from backup.

More information about the vSphere 8 Update 2 release can be found here.

What’s New in vSAN 8 Update 2

At VMware Explore 2022, VMware announced the new vSAN 8.0 release which included the new Express Storage Architecture (ESA), which even got better with the recent vSAN 8.0 Update 1 release.

VMware vSAN Max – Petabyte-Scale Disaggregated Storage

VMware vSAN Max, powered by vSAN Express Storage Architecture, is a new vSAN offering in the vSAN family delivering
petabyte-scale disaggregated storage for vSphere. With its new disaggregated storage deployment model, vSAN customers can scale storage elastically and independently from compute and deploy unified block, file, and partner-based object storage to maximize utilization and achieve lower TCO.

VMware vSAN Max

vSAN Max expands the use cases in which HCI can provide exceptional value. Disaggregation through vSAN Max provides flexibility to build infrastructure with the scale and efficiency required for non-linear scaling applications, such as storage-intensive databases, modern elastic applications with large datasets and more. Customers have a choice of deploying vSAN in a traditional model or a disaggregated model with vSAN Max, while still using a single control plane to manage both deployment options.

The vSAN Max announcement can be found here.

VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware announced a VMware Cloud on AWS Advanced subscription tier that will be available on i3en.metal and i4i.metal instance types only. This subscription will include advanced cloud management, networking and security features:

  • VMware NSX+ Services (NSX+ Intelligence, NDR capabilities, NSX Advanced Load Balancer)
  • vSAN Express Storage Architecture Support
  • VMware Aria Automation
  • VMware Aria Operations
  • VMware Aria Operations for Logs

Note: Existing deployments (existing SDDCs) will be entitled to these advanced cloud management, networking and security features over time

The VMware Cloud on AWS Advanced Subscription Tier FAQ can be found here

Introduction of VMware NSX+

Last year, VMware introduced Project Northstar as technology preview:

Project Northstar is a SaaS-based networking and security offering that will empower NSX customers with a set of on-demand multi-cloud networking and security services, end-to-end visibility, and controls. Customers will be able to use a centralized cloud console to gain instant access to networking and security services, such as network and security policy controls, Network Detection and Response (NDR), NSX Intelligence, Advanced Load Balancing (ALB), Web Application Firewall (WAF), and HCX. It will support both private cloud and VMware Cloud deployments running on public clouds and enable enterprises to build flexible network infrastructure that they can spin up and down in minutes.

This year, VMware announced the initial availability of the NSX+ service. VMware NSX+ is a fully managed cloud-based service offering that allows networking, security, and operations teams to consume and operate VMware NSX services from a single cloud console across private and public clouds.

NSX+ Architectural Diagram

The following services are available:

  • NSX+ Policy Management: Provides unified networking and security policy management across multiple clouds and on-premises data centers.
  • NSX+ Intelligence (Tech Preview only): Provides a big data reservoir and a system for network and security analytics for real-time traffic visibility into applications traffic all the way from basic traffic metrics to deep inspection of packets.
  • NSX+ NDR (Tech Preview only): Provides a scalable threat detection and response service offering for Security Operations Center (SoC) teams to triage real time security threats to their data center and cloud.

There are three different NSX+ and two NSX+ distributed firewall editions available:

  • NSX+ Standard. For organizations needing a basic set of NSX connectivity and security features for single location software-defined data center deployments.
  • NSX+ Advanced. For organizations needing advanced networking and security features that are applied to multiple sites. This edition also entitles customers to VMware NSX+ Advanced Load Balancer Cloud Services.
  • NSX+ Enterprise. For organizations needing all of the capability NSX has to offer. This edition also entitles customers to VMware NSX+ Advanced Load Balancer Cloud Services.
  • NSX+ Distributed Firewall. For organizations needing implement access controls for east-west traffic within the network (micro-segmentation) but not focused on Threat detection and prevention services.
  • NSX+ Distributed Firewall with Threat Prevention. For organizations needing access control and select Threat prevention features for east-west traffic within the network. 

An NSX+ feature overview can be found here.

Note: Currently, NSX+ only supports NSX on-premises deployments (NSX 4.1.1 or later) and VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware announced a few innovations for H2 2023, which includes the support for Distributed Service Engine (DSE aka Project Monterey), vSAN ESA support, and NSX+.

 

Generative AI – VMware Private AI Foundation with Nvidia

VMware and Nvidia’s CEOs announced VMware Private AI Foundation as the result of their longstanding partnership. 

Built on VMware Cloud Foundation, this integrated solution with Nvidia will enable enterprises to customize models and run generative AI applications, including intelligent chatbots, assistants, search, and summarization.

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Anywhere Workspace Announcements

At VMware Explore 2022, VMware shared its vision for autonomous workspaces.

Autonomous workspace is a concept (not an individual product) that is our north star for the future of end-user computing. It means going beyond creating a unified workspace with basic automations, to analyzing huge amounts of data with AI and machine learning, to drive more advanced, context aware automations. This leads to a workspace that can be considered self-configuring, self-healing, and self-securing. 

VMware continued working on the realization of this vision and came up with a lot of announcements, which can be found here.

Other Announcements

Please find below some announcements that VMware shared with us during the SpringOne event or before and after the general session on August 22nd, 2023:

Momentum in the Cloud: Crafting Your Winning Strategy with VMware Cloud

Momentum in the Cloud: Crafting Your Winning Strategy with VMware Cloud

The time is right for VMware Cloud! In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern business, embracing the cloud has become essential for organizations seeking to stay competitive and agile. The allure of increased scalability, cost-efficiency, and flexibility has driven enterprises of all sizes to embark on cloud migration journeys. However, the road to a successful cloud adoption is often coming with challenges. Slow and failed migrations have given rise to what experts call the “cloud paradox,” where the very technology meant to accelerate progress ends up hindering it.

As businesses navigate through this paradox, finding the right strategy to harness the full potential of the cloud becomes paramount. One solution that has emerged as a beacon of hope in this complex landscape is VMware Cloud. With its multi-cloud approach, which is also known as supercloud, VMware Cloud provides organizations the ability to craft a winning strategy that capitalizes on momentum while minimizing the risks associated with cloud migrations.

The Experimental Phase is Over

Is it really though? The experimental phase was an exciting journey of discovery for organizations seeking the potential of multi-cloud environments. Companies have explored different cloud providers, tested a variety of cloud services, and experimented with workloads and applications in the cloud. It allowed them to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each cloud platform, assess performance, security and compliance aspects, and determine how well each cloud provider aligns with their unique business needs.

The Paradox of Cloud and Choice

With an abundance of cloud service providers, each offering distinct features and capabilities, decision-makers can find themselves overwhelmed with options. The quest to optimize workloads across multiple clouds can lead to unintended complexities, such as increased operational overhead, inconsistent management practices/tools, and potential vendor lock-in.

Furthermore, managing data and applications distributed across various cloud environments can create challenges related to security, compliance, and data sovereignty. The lack of standardized practices and tools in a multi-cloud setup can also hinder collaboration and agility, negating the very advantages that public cloud environments promise to deliver.

Multi-Cloud Complexity

(Public) Cloud computing is often preached for its cost-efficiency, enabling businesses to pay for resources on-demand and avoid capital expenditures on physical infrastructure. However, the cloud paradox reveals that organizations can inadvertently accumulate hidden costs, such as data egress fees, storage overage charges, and the cost of cloud management tools. Without careful planning and oversight, the cloud’s financial benefits might be offset by unexpected expenses.

Why Cloud Migrations are Slowing Down

Failed expectations. The first reasons my customers mention are cost and complexity.

While the cloud offers potential cost savings in the long run, the initial investment and perceived uncertainty in calculating the total cost of ownership can deter some organizations from moving forward with cloud migrations. Budget constraints and difficulties in accurately estimating and analyzing cloud expenses lead to a cautious approach to cloud adoption.

One significant factor impeding cloud migrations is the complexity of the process itself. Moving entire infrastructures, applications, and data to the cloud requires thorough planning, precise execution, and in-depth knowledge of cloud platforms and technologies. Many organizations lack the in-house expertise to handle such a massive undertaking, leading to delays and apprehensions about potential risks.

Other underestimated reasons are legacy systems and applications that have been in use for many years and are often deeply ingrained within an organization’s operations. Migrating these systems to the cloud may require extensive reconfiguration or complete redevelopment, making the migration process both time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Reverse Cloud Migrations

While I don’t advertise a case for repatriation, I would like to share the idea that companies should think about workload mobility, application portability, and repatriation upfront. You can infinitely optimize your cloud spend, but if cloud costs start to outpace your transformation plans or revenue growth, it is too late already.

Embracing a Smart Approach with VMware Cloud

To address the cloud paradox and maximize the potential of multi-cloud environments, VMware is embracing the cloud-smart approach. This approach is designed to empower organizations with a unified and consistent platform to manage and operate their applications across multiple clouds.

VMware Cloud-Smart

  • Single Cloud Operating Model: A single operating model that spans private and public clouds. This consistency simplifies cloud management, enabling seamless workload migration and minimizing the complexities associated with multiple cloud providers.
  • Flexible Cloud Choice: VMware allows organizations to choose the cloud provider that best suits their specific needs, whether it is a public cloud or a private cloud infrastructure. This freedom of choice ensures that businesses can leverage the unique advantages of each cloud while maintaining operational consistency.
  • Streamlined Application Management: A cloud-smart approach centralizes application management, making it easier to deploy, secure, and monitor applications across multi-cloud environments. This streamlines processes, enhances collaboration, and improves operational efficiency.
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance: By adopting VMware’s security solutions, businesses can implement consistent security policies across all clouds, ensuring data protection and compliance adherence regardless of the cloud provider.

Why VMware Cloud?

This year I realized that a lot of VMware customers came back to me because their cloud-first strategy did not work as expected. Costs exploded, migrations were failing, and their project timeline changed many times. Also, partners like Microsoft and AWS want to collaborate more with VMware, because the public cloud giants cannot deliver as expected.

Customers and public cloud providers did not see any value in lifting and shifting workloads from on-premises data centers to the public. Now the exact same people, companies and partners (AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle etc.) are back to ask for VMware their support, and solutions that can speed up cloud migrations while reducing risks.

This is why I am always suggesting a “lift and learn” approach, which removes pressure and reduces costs.

Organizations view the public cloud as a highly strategic platform for digital transformation. Gartner forecasted in April 2023 that Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is going to experience the highest spending growth in 2023, followed by PaaS.

It is said that companies spend most of their money for compute, storage, and data services when using Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure. Guess what, VMware Cloud is a perfect fit for IaaS-based workloads (instead of using AWS EC2, Google’s Compute Engine, and Azure Virtual machine instances)!

Who doesn’t like the idea of cost savings and faster cloud migrations?

Disaster Recovery and FinOps

When you migrate workloads to the cloud, you have to rethink your disaster recovery and ransomware recovery strategy. Have a look at VMware’s DRaaS (Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service) offering which includes ransomware recovery capabilities as well. 

If you want to analyze and optimize your cloud spend, try out VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth.

Final Words

VMware’s approach is not right for everyone, but it is a future-proof cloud strategy that enables organizations to adapt their cloud strategies as business needs to evolve. The cloud-smart approach offers a compelling solution, providing businesses with a unified, consistent, and flexible platform to succeed in multi-cloud environments. By embracing this approach, organizations can overcome the complexities of multi-cloud, unlock new possibilities, and set themselves on a path to cloud success.

And you still get the same access to the native public cloud services.