VMware has given enterprises the tools to build cloud-native applications and adopt multi-cloud environments, where apps and data run on-premises and across multiple public clouds. Now, the company wants to help organizations solve the management challenge that results from it.
The company on Tuesday announced VMware Aria, a software portfolio that enables data center operators to centrally manage the cost, performance, security and the configuration and delivery of infrastructure and cloud-native apps across their distributed environments.
“You have a single pane of glass of management across all clouds and across all platforms – VMs and Kubernetes,” said Purnima Padmanabhan, VMware’s senior vice president and general manager of cloud management, in a media briefing. “VMware Aria is about driving business agility with solutions that make multi-cloud complexity invisible.”
VMWare introduced Aria among many product announcements at its VMware Explore 2022 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, including major updates to its vSphere server virtualization and vSAN storage virtualization software, new edge computing software and network and security improvements.
The company on Tuesday announced that VMware vSphere 8 with support for data processing units (DPUs) will be available by October. Previously announced as Project Monterey two years ago, vSphere support for DPUs offloads network and security functions off of CPUs, resulting in faster application performance and improved security.
With Aria, VMware hopes to make inroads into an emerging multi-cloud management market. As enterprises migrate to a multi-cloud architecture with distributed, containerized apps, they need integrated tools to monitor and proactively manage their internal data centers, private clouds and public cloud environments, analysts say.
The market for multi-cloud management tools is still emerging, and there’s not one vendor that has come up with an all-in-one solution yet, so VMware has a huge market opportunity with Aria, said Matt Kimball, a senior data center analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
“VMware is tackling a really big problem. It’s about managing a modernized compute environment, which is private cloud, the edge, the legacy stuff in your core data center,” Kimball said. “You have applications built in and optimized for Azure, AWS, Google or Oracle. Before you know it, you have this hodge-podge of an environment with no centralized control, so security is compromised, control is absolutely compromised and costs are skyrocketing through the roof.”
VMware’s competition in the space includes IBM Red Hat with its OpenShift management tools and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which offers a combination of its HPE OneView IT infrastructure management software and its HPE Ezmeral software platform, which includes container orchestration, he said.
Other competitors include Oracle, Microsoft, LogicMonitor, Morpheus, NetApp and OpsRamp, says Roy Illsley, chief architect of IT ecosystem and operations at Omdia.
Analysts say the market potential is huge and that VMware can capitalize on it.
“The market is fragmented, and VMware has the brand equity that can provide a solid footprint in this space,” says Paul Nashawaty, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
VMware's Aria Wants to Streamline Access to Your Multi-Cloud Data
The goal of VMware Aria is to simplify multi-cloud management and enable IT organizations to monitor and manage costs, monitor and troubleshoot the performance of applications, manage consistent security policies and speed up and automate the configuration and delivery of applications, Padmanabhan said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.
Today, every public cloud provider offers its own set of management tools, and every discipline, such as cost management and performance management, has their own tools as well, she said.
If customers want to understand the cost and performance tradeoffs of an application that has some elements in the cloud and on premises, they would need to use about 10 tools to find the answer, she said.
In contrast, VMware Aria – which will be available in beta by October and ship by January 2023 – provides a unified multi-cloud management solution with two key technology pieces:
- VMware Aria Hub, which provides centralized views and controls to manage the multi-cloud environment.
- VMware Aria Graph, a graph-based data store that aggregates in near real-time all the events, configurations and relationships of workloads across a multi-cloud environment.
All the data is stored through a common definition, providing users with a single source of truth, the company said.
“It’s like an engine under the covers. It’s about ingesting a lot of data, capturing the relationships between the data and letting people query it,” said IDC analyst Gary Chen.
Analyst: Multi-Cloud Trend Calls for 'Orchestration and Management Layer'
Padmanabhan said VMware Aria combines existing VMware’s management solutions – VMware vRealize, CloudHealth by VMware and VMware Tanzu Observability software – with three new tools:
- VMware Aria Automation Guardrails, which allows IT staff to set and automatically enforce policies for security, cost, configuration, performance and networking.
- VMware Aria Migration, which simplifies and helps automate the migration of workloads, from one on-premises location to another on-premises location or on-premises to the cloud or vice versa.
- VMware Aria Business Insights, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning analytics to provide organizations business insights. For example, the tool can alert data center operators that their application latency is increasing because of an infrastructure problem.
Chen, the IDC analyst, said VMware has a lot of competition in the multi-cloud management market, but it has the potential to succeed because of its large installed base of vSphere customers.
“It’s really about capturing the customers they already have. VMware can say to them, ‘you can manage the VMware environment plus your multi-cloud with the same stuff.' That could be appealing to a lot of people – the ability to consolidate tools,” Chen said.
Illsley, the Omdia analyst, agreed. VMware customers that use the company’s existing management tools like VMware vRealize can easily transition to Aria, according to Padmanabhan.
“VMware has recognized the world is going multi-cloud and that needs an orchestration and management layer,” Illsley said. “End users will like it as it builds on existing skills and that means its administrators can now do more without having to re-train.”