Bill Fathers speaking at VMworld 2014 VMware
Bill Fathers speaking at VMworld 2014

VMware Makes Major Updates Across Data Center Software Portfolio

Enhances hybrid cloud, virtual networking and storage, launched own OpenStack distro

VMware announced major updates to some of its core data center software products Monday.

The company has made it easier to move live workloads from data center to data center over long distances – from New York to London, for example – and added more capabilities for melding clients’ in-house VMware environments with its public cloud services.

VMware also launched VMware Integrated OpenStack, its own distribution of the popular open source cloud architecture it announced open beta for last year. The distro will be integrated with the company’s own cloud management software, which customers will be able to use to manage their OpenStack clouds.

The vendor has made big additions in storage management and storage virtualization software. Its hypervisor now has native VM awareness of a range of third-party storage systems, and its virtual SAN now supports all-flash architecture and substantially larger virtual storage clusters.

“Every traditional industry across the globe is being transformed by software,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement. “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.”

Fleshing Out Hybrid Cloud Technology

The data center software vendor first announced its intentions to become a public Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider in May 2013, entering a competitive market dominated by Amazon Web Services, and, to a much lesser extent, by Microsoft, IBM, and Google, among a handful of others.

The pitch for the services, first called vCloud Hybrid Service and later renamed vCloud Air, was that companies with existing VMware deployments in their data centers will find it easy to simply extend those existing environments into the public cloud, giving them a degree of scalability and elasticity they did not have.

Given VMware’s ubiquity across enterprise data centers, the promise made it a serious contender for enterprise cloud market share. In January it unveiled vCloud Air networking services that enable this integration and Monday’s announcement built on that.

The integration is enabled through VMware NSX, the company’s network virtualization platform. Delivered as a service, the capabilities include network traffic isolation, dynamic routing. VMware is planning to make the services available sometime in the first half of the year.

Long-Distance Workload Migration

The new long-distance live workload migration capabilities are part of the latest vSphere 6, the company’s flagship server virtualization software. VMware is promising “zero-downtime” migration with multi-processor fault tolerance to ensure large VMs stay up during migration.

One of the other major additions in vSphere 6 is “instant clone technology,” which makes it possible to quickly replicate and provision thousands of container instances and VMs for rapid scalability.

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