VMware Explore Europe 2022 is history. This year felt different and very special! Rooms were fully booked, and people were queuing up in the hallways. The crowd had a HUGE interest in technical sessions from known speakers like Cormac Hogan, Frank Denneman, Duncan Epping, William Lam, and many more!
Compared to VMware Explore US, there were not that many major announcements, but I thought it might be helpful again to list the major announcements, that seem to be the most interesting and relevant ones.
VMware Aria Hub Free Tier
For me, the biggest and most important announcement was the Aria Hub free tier. I am convinced that Aria Hub will be the next big thing for VMware and I am sure that it will change how the world manages a multi-cloud infrastructure.
VMware Aria Hub is a multi-cloud management platform that unifies the management disciplines of cost, performance, configuration, and delivery automation with a common control plane and data model for any cloud, any platform, any tool, and every persona. It helps you align multiple teams and solutions on a common understanding of resources, relationships, historical changes, applications, and accounts, fundamental to managing a multi-cloud environment.
The new free tier enables customers to inventory, map, filter, and search resources from up to two of their native public cloud accounts, currently from either AWS or Azure. It also helps you understand the relationships of your resources to other resources, policies, and other key components in your public cloud and Kubernetes environments. WOW!
Many customers asked for it, it is coming! Tanzu Mission Control (TMC) will become available on-premises for sovereign cloud partners/providers and enterprise customers!
There is a private beta coming. Hence, I cannot provide more information for now.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.1
At VMware Explore US 2022, VMware announced Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) 2.0, and at Explore Europe 2022, they announced TKG 2.1, which adds support for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Additionally, it will now also have the option of leveraging VMs as the management cluster. Each will be familiar, but now they both support a single, unified way of cluster creation using a new API called ClusterClass.
VMware unveiled new enhancements for Tanzu Service Mesh (TSM) as well, which are going to bring new capabilities that would provide VM discovery and integration into the mesh, providing the ability to combine VMs and containers in the same service mesh for secure communications and to apply consistent policy.
VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal (VMC-E)
The last thing I want to highlight is the VMC-E announcement. It is a combination of VMware Cloud IaaS with Equinix Metal hardware as-a-service, which can be deployed in over 30 Equinix global data centers.
VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal is a great option for enterprises that want the flexibility and performance of the Public Cloud, where business requirements prevent moving data or applications to the public cloud. It offers full compatibility and consistency with on-premises and VMware Cloud operational models and policies and zero downtime migration
VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal is a fully managed solution by VMware (delivered, operated, managed, supported).
Everyone talks about multi-cloud and in most cases they mean the so-called big 3 that consist of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. If we are looking at the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure & Platform Services, one can also spot Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, IBM and Tencent Cloud.
VMware has a strategic partnership with 6 of these hyperscalers and all of these 6 public clouds offer VMware’s software-defined data center (SDDC) stack on top of their global infrastructure:
While I mostly have to talk about AWS, AVS and GCVE, I am finally getting the chance to attend a OCVS customer workshop led by Oracle. That is why I wanted to prepare myself accordingly and share my learnings with you.
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud dominate the cloud market, but Oracle has unique capabilities and characteristics that no one else can deliver. Additionally, Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has shown an impressive pace of innovation in the past two years, which led to a 16% increase on Gartner’s solution scorecard for OCI (November 2021, from 62% to 78%), which put them into the fourth place behind Alibaba Cloud!
What is Oracle Cloud VMware Solution?
Oracle Cloud VMware Solution or OCVS is a result of the strategic partnership announced by VMware and Oracle in September 2019. Like the other VMware Cloud solutions like VMC on AWS, AVS or GCVE, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution will enable customers to run VMware Cloud Foundation on Oracle’s Generation 2 Cloud Infrastructure.
Meaning, running an on-premises VMware-based infrastructure combined with OCVS should make cloud migrations easier and faster, because it is the same foundation with vSphere, vSAN and NSX.
Key Differentiator #1 – Different SDDC Bundles
Customers can choose between a multi-host SDDC (minimum of 3 production hosts) and a single-host SDDC, that is made for test and dev environments. Oracle guarantees a monthly uptime percentage of at least 99.9% for the OCVS service.
OCVS offers three different ESXi software versions and supports the following versions of other components:
The VMware Cloud offerings from AWS, Azure or Google are all vendor-controlled and customers get limited access to the VMware hosts and infrastructure components. With Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, customers get baremetal servers and the same operational experience as on-premises. This means full control over VMware infrastructure and its components:
SSH access to ESXi
Edit vSAN cluster settings
Browse datastores; upload and delete files
Customer controls the upgrade policy (version, time, defer)
Oracle has NO ACCESS after the SDDC provisioning!
Note: According to Oracle it takes about 2 hours to deploy a new SDDC that consists of 3 production hosts.
Customers can choose between Intel- and AMD-based hosts:
Two-socket BM.DenseIO2.52 with two CPUs each running 26 cores (Intel)
Two-socket BM.DenselO.E4.128 with two CPUs each running 16 cores (AMD)
Two-socket BM.DenselO.E4.128 with two CPUs each running 32 cores (AMD)
Two-socket BM.DenselO.E4.128 with two CPUs each running 64 cores (AMD)
Details about the compute shapes can be found here.
Key Differentiator #3 – Availability Domains
To provide high throughput and low latency, an OCVS SDDC is deployed by default across a minimum of three fault domains within a single availability domain in a region. But, upon request it is also possible to deploy your SDDC across multiple availability domains (AD), which comes with a few limitations:
While OCVS can scale from 3 up to 64 hosts in a single SDDC, Oracle recommends a maximum of 16 ESXi hosts in a multi-AD architecture
This architecture can have impacts on vSAN storage synchronization, and rebuild and resync times
Most hyperscaler only let you use two availability zones and fault domains in the same region. With Oracle it is possible to distribute the minimum of 3 hosts to 3 different availability domains. An availability domain consists of one or more data centers within the same region.
Note: Traffic between ADs within a region is free of charge.
Key Differentiator #4 – Networking
Because OCVS is customer-managed and can be operated like your on-premises environment, you also get “full” control over the network. OCVS is installed within a customers’ tencancy, which gives customer the advantage to run their VMware SDDC workloads in the same subnet as OCI native services. This provides lower latency to the OCI native services, especially for customers that are using Exadata for example.
Another important advantage of this architecture is capability to create VLAN-backed port groups on your vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS).
Key Differentiator #5 – External Storage
Since March 2022 the OCI File Storage service (NFS) is certified as secondary storage for an OCVS cluster. This allows customers to scale the storage layer of the SDDC without adding new compute resources at the same time.
And just announced on 22 August 2022, with Oracle’s summer ’22 release, OCVS customers can now connect to a certified OCI Block Storage through iSCSI as a second external storage option.
Block Storage provides high IOPS to OCI, and data is stored redundantly across storage servers with built-in repair mechanisms with a 99.99% uptime SLA.
Key Differentiator #6 – Billing Options
OCVS is currently only sold and supported by Oracle. Like with other cloud providers and VMware Cloud offerings, customers have different pricing options depending upon their commitment levels:
The rule of thumb for any hyperscaler says, that a 1-year commitment get around 30% discount and the 3-year commitments are around 50% discount.
The unique characteristic here is the monthly commitment option, which is caluclated with a discount of 16-17% depending on the compute shape.
Currently, OCI is available in 39 different cloud regions (21 countries) and Oracle announced five more by the end of 2022. On day one of each region, OCVS is available with a consistent and predictable pricing that doesn’t vary from region to region.
To compare: AWS has launched 27 different regions with 19 being able to host the VMware Cloud on AWS service. In Switzerland, AWS just opened their new data center without having the VMware Cloud on AWS service available, while OCVS is already available in Zurich.
While OCVS is a great solution for joint VMware and Oracle customers, it is not necessary for customers to using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure native solutions.
Data Center Expansion
As you just learned before, OCVS is a great fit if you want to maintain the same VMware software versions on-premises and in OCI. The classic use case here is the pure data center expansion scenario, which allows you to stretch your on-premises infrastructure to OCI, without the need to use their native services.
VMware Horizon on OCVS
As I mentioned at the beginning, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution is based on VMware Cloud Foundation and so it is no surprise that Horizon on OCVS is fully supported.
The Horizon deployment on OCVS works a little bit different compared to the on-premises installation and there is no feature parity yet:
Note: The support of NSX Advanced Load Balancer (Avi) is still a roadmap item
VMware Tanzu for OCVS
Since April 2022 it is possible for joint VMware and Oracle customers to use Tanzu Standard and its components with Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. Tanzu Standard comes with VMware’s Kubernetes distribution Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) and Tanzu Mission Control, which is the right solution for multi-cloud, multi-cluster K8s management.
With TMC you can deploy and manage TKG clusters on vSphere on-premises or on Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. You can even attach existing Kubernetes clusters from other vendors like RedHat OpenShift, Amazon EKS or Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
VMworld is now VMware Explore and is currently happening in San Francisco! This is a consolidated of the announcements from day 1 (August 30th, 2022).
VMware Introduces vSphere 8, vSAN 8 and VMware Cloud Foundation+
VMware today introduced VMware vSphere 8 and VMware vSAN 8—major new releases of VMware’s compute and storage solutions.
vSphere 8 – vSphere 8 introduces vSphere on DPUs, previously known as Project Monterey. In close collaboration with technology partners AMD, Intel and NVIDIA as well as OEM system partners Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo, vSphere on DPUs will unlock hardware innovation helping customers meet the throughput and latency needs of modern distributed workloads. vSphere will enable this by offloading and accelerating network and security infrastructure functions onto DPUs from CPUs.
vSphere 8 will dramatically accelerate AI and machine learning applications by doubling the virtual GPU devices per VM, delivering a 4x increase of passthrough devices, and supporting vendor device groups which enable binding of high-speed networking devices and the GPU.
vSAN 8: vSAN 8 introduces breakthrough performance and hyper-efficiency. Built from the ground up, the new vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) will enhance the performance, storage efficiency, data protection and management of vSAN running on the latest generation storage devices. vSAN 8 will provide customers with a future ready infrastructure that supports modern TLC storage devices and delivers up to a 4x performance boost.
VMware Cloud Foundation+ – VMware introduces a new cloud-connected architecture for managing and operating full stack HCI in data centers. Built on vSphere+ and vSAN+, VMware Cloud Foundation+ will add a new cloud-connected architecture for managing and operating full-stack HCI in our data center or co-location facility.
VMware Cloud Foundation+ will deliver new admin, developer and hybrid cloud services through a simplified subscription model and keyless entitlement. VMware Cloud Foundation 4.5 will enable VMware Cloud Foundation+ by adding vSphere+ and vSAN+, plus a cloud gateway that provides access to the VMware Cloud Console as part of the full stack architecture.
VMware Cloud for Hyperscalers
VMC on AWS – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) I4i instances for I/O-intensive Workloads: Powered by 3rd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors (Ice Lake), Amazon EC2 instances help deliver better workload support and delivery, lower TCO, and increased scalability and application performance. Compared to I3, the I4i instances provide nearly twice the number of physical cores, twice the memory, three times the storage capacity, and three times the network bandwidth.
Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP Integration Availability – as a native AWS cloud storage service that is certified as a supplemental datastore for VMware Cloud on AWS, FSx for ONTAP offers fully managed shared storage built on the familiar NetApp ONTAP file system trusted by VMware customers running on premises today. Customers can now use FSx for ONTAP as a simple and elastic datastore for VMware Cloud on AWS, enabling them to scale storage up or down independently from compute while paying only for the resources they need.
VMware Cloud Flex Storage Availability – A new VMware-managed and natively integrated cloud storage and data management solution that offers supplemental datastore-level access for VMware Cloud on AWS. With just a few clicks in the VMware Cloud Console, customers can scale their storage environment without adding hosts, and elastically adjust storage capacity up or down as needed for every application. Customers also benefit from a simple, pay-as-you-consume pricing model. Together with VMware vSAN, VMware Cloud Flex Storage offers flexibility and customer value in terms of resilience, performance, scale, and cost in the cloud.
VMware Cloud Flex Compute – “Preview” of a new cloud compute model that will help customers get started faster with VMware Cloud on AWS. With this new model, VMware introduces a “resource-defined” cloud compute model in place of “hardware-defined” compute instance model which will provide customers higher flexibility, elasticity, and speed to better meet cost and performance requirements of enterprise applications. It will help customers get started faster with VMware Cloud on AWS by using smaller consumable units.
Oracle Cloud VMware Solution – New features and capabilities with VMware Tanzu Standard Edition and introduced support for single host SDDCs for non-production workloads.
VMware Cloud Management – VMware Aria
VMware unveiled a multi-cloud management portfolio called VMware Aria, which provides a set of end-to-end solutions for managing the cost, performance, configuration, and delivery of infrastructure and cloud native applications.
VMware Aria is a new brand for the vRealize components, Tanzu Observability by Wavefront and CloudHealth unified under one umbrella, one name.
The VMware products and services within the VMware Aria portfolio are:
VMware Aria is anchored by VMware Aria Hub (formerly known as Project Ensemble), which provides centralized views and controls to manage the entire multi-cloud environment, and leverages VMware Aria Graph to provide a common definition of applications, resources, roles, and accounts.
VMware Aria Graph provides a single source of truth that is updated in near-real time. Other solutions on the market were designed in a slower moving era, primarily for change management processes and asset tracking. By contrast, VMware Aria Graph is designed expressly for cloud-native operations.
VMware Aria provides features and functions that span management disciplines and clouds to deliver unique value for multi-cloud governance, cross-cloud migration, and actionable business insights. In addition, there are three new end-to-end management services built on top of VMware Aria Hub and VMware Aria Graph:
VMware Aria Guardrails – Automate enforcement of cloud guardrails for networking, security, cost, performance, and configuration at scale for multi-cloud environments with an everything-as-code approach
VMware Aria Migration – Accelerate and simplify the multi-cloud migration journey by automating assessment, planning, and execution in conjunction with VMware HCX
Project Northstar – Project Northstar is a SaaS-based network 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.
DPU-based Acceleration for NSX – Formerly known as Project Monterey, VMware announced that starting with NSX 4.0 and vSphere 8.0, customers can leverage DPU-based acceleration using SmartNICs. Offloading NSX services to the DPU can accelerate networking and security functions without impacting the host CPUs, addressing the needs of modern applications and other network-intensive and latency-sensitive applications.
Project Trinidad – Available as tech preview, Project Trinidad extends VMware’s API security and analytics by deploying sensors on Kubernetes clusters and uses machine learning with business logic inference to detect anomalous behavior in east-west traffic between microservices.
Project Watch – VMware unveiled Project Watch, a new approach to multi-cloud networking and security that will provide advanced app-to-app policy controls to help with continuous risk and compliance assessment. In technology preview, Project Watch will help network security and compliance teams to continuously observe, assess, and dynamically mitigate risk and compliance problems in composite multi-cloud applications.
VMware Edge Compute Stack 2.0 – VMware announced the VMware Edge Compute Stack v1.0 last year and is now adding more features and functionalities optimized for different use cases at the enterprise edge – shipped with vSphere 8 and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.0. VMware, for the first time, will introduce initial support for non-x86 processor-based specialized small form factor edge platforms to simultaneously run IT/OT workloads and workflows on a single stack.
VMware Private Mobile Network (Beta) – Delivered by service providers, this new managed service offering provides enterprises with private 4G/5G mobile connectivity in support of edge-native applications. VMware will empower partners with a single PMN orchestrator to operate multi-tenant private 4G/5G networks with an enterprise-grade solution.
Modern Applications (VMware Tanzu)
Tanzu Application Platform – VMware pre-announced new Tanzu Application Platform (TAP) 1.3 capabilities like the availability on RedHat OpenShift or the support for air-gapped installations for regulated and disconnected environments.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid – With the release of TKG 2.0, VMware now includes a unified experience for applications running on any cloud. In the near future, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.0 should support both Supervisor-based and VM-based management cluster models. On vSphere 8, both Supervisor-based and VM-based models will be supported, and VM-based management clusters will continue to be available on previous versions of vSphere and public clouds. This means in other words, that VMware continues with their “TKGS” and “TKGm” flavors.
Support for customer-owned enterprise certificate authority through integration with Venafi
Improved security with enterprise-approved container image registries, data services support, external services support
and a global SLO dashboard that allows developers and site-reliability engineers to view all managed service SLOs, helping with capacity planning, troubleshooting, and understanding the health of their applications.
VMware unveiled how it is advancing self-configuring, self-healing and self-securing outcomes across four key technology areas that are delivered by the Anywhere Workspace platform:
VDI and DaaS
Digital Employee Experience
Unified Endpoint Management
VMware is introducing a next generation of VMware Horizon Cloud that will enable multi-cloud agility and flexibility. This new release represents a major update to Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure that can dramatically simplify the infrastructure that needs to be deployed inside customer environments, reducing infrastructure costs in some cases by over 70% while increasing scalability and reliability of VMware’s DaaS platform.
Workspace ONE support for Windows OS multi-user mode is now available in Tech Preview for Azure Active Directory-based deployments; and it will soon be extended to Active Directory-based deployments.
VMware also announced the coming tech preview of Workspace ONE Cloud Marketplace, which will feature dashboards, widgets, reports, Freestyle Orchestrator workflows, and other resources that can be imported to help customers adopt additional solutions.
Horizon Managed Desktop – I am very excited about this announcement, because it will provide a managed service offering that takes care of lifecycle services, support, and more, on top of a customer-provided infrastructure. This will help customers that don’t have in-house experts get to value with VDI faster.
VMware Cloud Foundation+, VMware vSphere 8, VMware vSAN 8 and VMware Edge Compute Stack 2.0 are all expected to be available by October 28, 2022 (the close of VMware’s Q3 FY23). VMware Private Mobile Network is expected to be available in beta in VMware’s Q3 FY23.
Not bad for the first day, right? Stay tuned for more exciting VMware Explore announcements!
VMware announced the availability of VMware Realize Cloud Universal (vRCU) back in September 2020. vRCU is a SaaS management suite of different products like vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight or vRealize Automation than can be consumed as managed cloud services, but VMware still gives you the option to use those subscription licenses for the on-premises products of the vRealize Suite.
This flexible licensing and delivery models enable customers to move at their own pace and give them the flexibility and choice to decide, what makes most sense for them.
I see three different use cases where vRealize Cloud Universal makes the most sense for customers:
“I don’t want to deploy and maintain vRealize products”
Company with a lot of edge locations and no more global/regional data centers
If you would like to know where the VMware Cloud services are hosted/available, click here.
How can I connect my environment to vRealize Cloud?
To collect and monitor data from your on-prem data center or cloud (VMC on AWS, Azure VMware Solution, Google Cloud VMware Engine) you need to deploy cloud proxies. They are one-way collectors (outbound connection initiated from the cloud proxy over TCP/433) that upload your data to vRealize Operations Cloud for example.
Note: It seems that you currently have to deploy separate cloud proxies for vRealize Operations Cloud and vRealize Log Insight Cloud for example. But you can use an existing proxy if it’s vRealize Log Insight Cloud, vRealize AI Cloud or vRealize Automation Cloud.
vRealize Cloud Subscription Manager – Metering and Usage
vRealize Cloud Subscription Manager is a cloud service that integrates with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager to collect data for your on-premises deployed products. It also monitors the subscription licenses usage for your SaaS products and visualizes the consumption of all vRealize Cloud components.
vCloud Suite Subscription
What about existing vCloud Suite customers that also bought vSphere Enterprise Plus? For those customers VMware offers a combination of vCloud Suite Subscription, which is a combination of vRealize Cloud Universal and term license of vSphere Enterprise Plus. vCloud Suite subscription comes in three different editions:
If you are interested in standalone vSphere subscription licensing, have a look at vSphere Advantage.
Upgrades and Add-ons
Standalone vRealize products and vRealize Suite customers can upgrade to vRealize Cloud Universal or vCloud Suite Subscription through the Subscription Upgrade Program (SUP). You can also upgrade the versions within the product.
To summarize your options:
You can get the standalone vRealize Cloud Universal offering
If you add a vSphere Enterprise Plus license to a vRCU edition (Std, Adv, Ent), it is called vCloud Suite Subscription