VMware has officially unveiled the latest version of its vSphere virtualisation platform along with the release of its own build of the OpenStack cloud framework.
At the same time, the firm has updated its Virtual SAN storage layer and detailed plans to let organisations seamlessly bridge private and public clouds based on its platforms.
Set to be available this quarter, vSphere 6 is the first major release of the virtualisation platform that underpins VMware's cloud products in more than three years.
It includes over 650 revisions, delivering greatly increased scale, performance and availability for virtual machines, VMware said.
This includes the ability to support up to 2,048 virtual machines per physical host, and up to 8,000 per cluster. Memory support is increased to 12TB per host to back this, while each virtual machine can now have up to 4TB of virtual memory.
Also due this quarter, VMware Integrated OpenStack offers access to the increasingly popular OpenStack cloud application programming interfaces, while operating atop VMware's virtualisation, networking and storage platforms.
However, the key focus for VMware is the hybrid cloud, and the firm has announced vCloud Air hybrid networking services based on its NSX software-defined networking.
These will help customers bridge VMware's vCloud Air public cloud service and on-premise private cloud infrastructure based on VMware, the firm said.
Set to be phased in from the first half of 2015, vCloud Air hybrid networking services will enable customers to maintain hundreds of virtual networks spanning their private cloud and any vCloud Air infrastructure, all over a single wide area network link.
At the same time, these networks will share the same fine-grained "zero trust" security policies and network isolation for applications, VMware said.
VMware chief executive Pat Gelsinger said that businesses face huge change in the demands being placed on their IT infrastructure.
"Today, we are taking another leap forward in helping our customers meet these demands through a unified platform, defined in software, which will offer unmatched choice and extends our innovations across compute, networking and storage to deliver the hybrid cloud," he said.
Virtual SAN 6, an update of the firm's software-defined storage platform, introduces greater scalability and performance, including support for a two-tier all-flash architecture in which flash drives can be used for caching and persistent storage. This was previously announced as a beta at VMworld last year as VSan 2.
Also on the storage side, VMware announced vSphere Virtual Volumes, a set of storage APIs that the firm said will enable storage vendors to make their hardware aware of virtual machines and enable management via a common control plane.
Meanwhile, vSphere also now includes VMware's Instant Clone Technology, previewed last year as Project Fargo.
This makes it possible to clone and provision thousands of virtual machines within seconds, VMware claimed, providing a handy way to deploy entire application stacks on demand.
As promised, vSphere 6 also introduces Long-Distance vMotion, enabling administrators to live migrate running virtual machine vCenter instances, and even to data centres as far apart as New York and London, VMware said. This capability was also discussed at VMworld last year.
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