VMware today announced partnerships with Intel and IBM to make it easier for enterprises to build and deploy AI applications on-premises so they can better meet their data privacy and security requirements.
At its VMware Explore Barcelona conference, VMware said it is collaborating with Intel to provide a jointly validated AI stack that combines VMware Cloud Foundation software with Intel’s existing AI software suite, Intel Xeon processors with built-in AI accelerators and Intel Max Series GPUs.
In a separate announcement, VMware and IBM said they will pair VMware Cloud Foundation with Red Hat OpenShift and the IBM Watsonx AI and data platform, which will enable enterprises to build generative AI applications on-premises.
Optimizing AI for Enterprises
For both initiatives, IBM and VMware will create validated reference architectures – or a set of blueprints – that allow enterprises to optimize and properly use existing Intel or IBM technology with existing VMware software to develop and deploy AI models.
The partnerships with Intel and IBM expand on VMware’s Private AI concept and comes on the heels of VMware’s recent announcement of VMware Private AI Foundation with Nvidia, a new product that integrates Nvidia AI Enterprise with VMware software for building generative AI apps.
VMware two months ago introduced Private AI, an architectural approach that allows organizations to train and tune their AI models where their data is, whether it’s in internal data centers, the edge or the public cloud, which helps with the privacy and security of data.
VMware’s initial Private AI focus is on enterprises who want to do AI in-house, but it does allow them to leverage VMware-based public clouds if they have data off-premises, a VMware spokesman said.
IDC analyst Gary Chen said VMware is partnering with the chip and software makers to make it easier for its large installed base of enterprise customers to adopt AI. While AI work is being done in the cloud, VMware envisions that its private AI offerings will be in demand for the many enterprises that house their most sensitive data in-house, he says.
“There’s not a lot of AI expertise out there available to enterprises, so VMware is looking to put together these certified, more turnkey solutions,” Chen told Data Center Knowledge in an interview.
Underlying the Private AI effort with Intel, IBM and Nvidia is VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware’s cloud management platform that combines compute, storage and networking and allows enterprises to run, manage and secure their workloads on-premises in core and edge data centers and across multiple public clouds.
VMware expects jointly validated VMware Private AI reference architectures with Intel and IBM to be available before the end of 2023, a VMware spokesman said.
Meanwhile, VMware Private AI Foundation with Nvidia, which is a new product and integrates a mix of new and existing software, is expected to be available in early 2024, according to Chris Wolf, vice president of VMware AI Labs.
“VMware is quickly expanding its open ecosystem to enable flexibility and choice in adopting Private AI,” Wolf said in a media briefing.
Broadcom’s Acquisition of VMware Delayed
Broadcom’s delayed acquisition of VMware hangs over the VMware Explore Barcelona conference this week. Broadcom had expected to close the deal last week, October 30, but the company is still awaiting China’s approval. Broadcom last week said it still expects the acquisition to close “soon” and before the merger agreement expires on Nov. 26.
“I think they were expecting that VMware Explore Barcelona would be the coming out party for the new Broadcom and VMware,” said Chen, the IDC analyst.
“I think they hoped the deal was going to close, so they could start talking about what’s going to happen post-acquisition. But because it hasn’t officially closed, they will be limited in what they can say.”
New Updates to VMware Cloud Foundation, Tanzu and Edge Solutions
While the acquisition is in limbo, VMware today made a flurry of other product announcements.
The company is making several updates to VMware Cloud Foundation including a new version of its Data Services Manager, which includes integration with Google Cloud AlloyDB Omni, a PostgreSQL-compatible database, and integration with MinIO Object Store.
Google Cloud AlloyDB Omni is a database that can run anywhere, including in on-premises private clouds, offers built-in support for generative AI and can be used to deploy modern applications, the company said.
VMware also announced improved security features in VMware Cloud Foundation, including Intelligent Threat Detection, a new capability in technology preview that uses behavioral analysis to identify ransomware before data gets encrypted.
The company also introduced new developer, data and security services for VMware Sovereign Cloud providers, which are cloud service providers that must adhere to data sovereignty requirements of the jurisdictions they operate in.
VMware has partnered with Thales to provide Sovereign customers with Bring Your Own Key Management Systems. That gives customers more control over data encryption by allowing them to create and hold their own keys to their data, VMware said.
Finally, the company also introduced new capabilities to its Software Defined Edge Solutions, including new VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator telemetry capabilities for better visibility of edge workloads. It also announced new updates to its Tanzu Kubernetes platform, including the integration of VMware Spring Runtime into the Tanzu Application Platform.