VMware has unveiled updates to its software-defined data centre (SDDC) and hybrid cloud offerings, including new releases of its Virtual SAN (VSAN) distributed storage platform and vRealize cloud management suite. The latter now allows customers to use licences for on-premise or public cloud virtual machine instances.
The new offerings revolve around VSAN 6.2, which now forms part of a Hyper-Converged Software (HCS) platform for SDDC appliances, and vRealize Suite 7, which has been simplified and repackaged into three editions intended to reflect the stage of a VMware customer's journey towards a full DevOps-ready infrastructure.
vRealize Suite 7 also introduces more flexible licensing in the shape of the somewhat awkwardly named Portable Licence Unit. This enables customers to take licences and use them to operate workloads on-premise as normal, or use the same licence for virtual machines running in the cloud, even on non-VMware platform such as Amazon Web Services, according to the firm.
"This is in response to what we're seeing with customers moving to consume cloud resources, so you can take your purchased licence of vSphere or vRealize Suite or vCloud Suite, and use that to license a single CPU in the traditional way, or up to 15 operating system instances you are consuming from AWS, from vCloud Air, or anything else, allowing you flexibility in your deployment options," said Rory Choudhuri, VMware's director of product marketing for SDDC in EMEA.
This ratio was chosen simply because 15 is the largest number of virtual machines that VMware expects customers to operate on a single CPU, and the firm wanted them to be able to run a comparable number of public cloud instances with the same licence, Choudhuri explained.
The vRealize Suite 7 is now organised into Standard, Advanced and Enterprise editions (see image above). Standard targets firms moving from plain virtualisation of workloads to what VMware dubs the Intelligent Operations level, while Advanced is for firms that are fully automating their infrastructure with self-service provisioning.
The Enterprise edition is for companies that have gone beyond this and are now ready for a full DevOps implementation, according to Choudhuri, which is "very few firms outside the US right now".
All the editions include vRealize Operations and vRealize Business, along with VMware's Log Insight log analysis tool. The Advanced edition adds vRealize Automation, while the Enterprise edition adds vRealize Application Monitoring on top of this.
VSAN has now been updated to version 6.2, which offers deduplication, compression and erasure coding as standard, as well as new quality of service features. Taken together, these deliver a 10 times improvement in the performance and availability of the storage layer, and make it possible for customers to build an all-flash infrastructure for as little as $1 per usable gigabyte, Choudhuri claimed.
Meanwhile, VMware is also getting more flexible with its hyperconverged strategy, aiming to be less proscriptive in the hardware specifications it imposes on vendor partners delivering integrated solutions using components such as VSAN. This follows feedback from customers that wanted more configuration options than were initially available.
"We are repositioning our approach to the hyperconverged infrastructure market, and trying to clarify what was a bit of disparate portfolio with VSAN and EVO and other approaches," Choudhuri said.
"We were somewhat proscriptive in iteration one, so we're stepping back a bit from that and focusing on we do best, which is the software, and working with a number of partners to have them deliver the things they do best, which is the hardware," he said.
The result is an HCS stack composed of existing components such as vSphere for virtualisation, vCenter for management and not least VSAN for software-defined distributed storage.
"The value that we see in this is that VSAN is deeply integrated into the hypervisor layer, which has a number of benefits starting with performance, so that for most workloads it has less than a four percent impact on the CPU, and it scales easily and is easy to automate, which is something customers are struggling with," Choudhuri explained.
Customers will now have the choice of deploying the HCS stack for themselves onto certified VSAN Ready Nodes from server vendors, or getting it pre-installed onto ready-made engineered appliances.
Beyond this is VMware's EVO SDDC platform, which is aimed at large-scale infrastructure and has all the same software pieces but adds the EVO SDDC Manager, the NSX software-defined networking capability and vRealize. This is expected to be available sometime in Q3, according to Choudhuri.
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