Last week at VMware Explore Europe, during the day one general session, we announced a new service called VMware Cloud™ on Equinix Metal®. VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram and Equinix CEO Charles Meyers briefly shared details of the expanding global cloud services partnership. There is significant excitement surrounding this big announcement, and people are undoubtedly looking for more information. This blog will share a little more background, perspective, and a peek into future possibilities.
VMware Cloud on AWS in 2017 was the first implementation of VMware’s multi-cloud vision. Over the next five years, VMware expanded VMware Cloud to all hyperscalers and other cloud providers, i.e., Azure, Google, Alibaba, IBM, Oracle & Dell. However, we are now at an inflection point in the industry where current solutions cannot optimally address the needs of mission-critical applications.
A significant portion of on-premise enterprise applications experience unmet needs, such as:
- On-premises cloud (security/control) blended with the value of public cloud (as-a-service operational model)
- Regulatory and geopolitical sovereignty requirements, including neutrality from any cloud provider
- Data velocity and gravity in emerging use cases making applications move closer to data, i.e., prime business centers
- Global footprint of cloud locations for consistent <20ms latency for performance-critical applications
- Fence critical data but have on-demand networking to native services of any hyperscaler
- Digital transformation and the emergence of the new distributed enterprise edge (where any workload unable to run in a public cloud for reasons outlined below will be termed as edge)
We realized that these mission-critical enterprise applications have not moved to public cloud because of latency, data locality, or residency requirements. To move these applications, we needed to create a cloud solution that possesses a combination of key attributes:
- Low Latency and High Bandwidth for performance-critical workloads where data locality matters, including demanding legacy applications and emerging edge applications
- Security and Compliance, including residency, sovereignty, single tenancy, and security controls
- Multi-Cloud Consistency and Flexibility for application portability across clouds and connectivity to cloud-native services
- Cloud Operating Model for on-demand scaling, pay-as-you-go, and fully managed
- Far and Near Edge use cases. The digital transformation of enterprises is accelerating the adoption of sensor-driven automation for all workflows. Anything that can be automated — will be automated, which, when coupled with emerging hybrid ML/AI infrastructure, pushes more and more compute closer to the generation of data.
By working closely with Equinix, we determined that we could extend the VMware Cloud portfolio to uniquely address ALL these requirements in a single offering.
Integrating VMware Cloud multi-cloud software with Equinix Metal digital infrastructure services
VMware Cloud™ on Equinix Metal® is a new jointly engineered as-a-service offering by VMware and Equinix. It combines the best-of-breed virtual infrastructure for any cloud with the best-of-breed physical infrastructure to deliver global connectivity across 240+ locations to all customers and all hyperscalers in a simple, integrated, cost-effective cloud service.
Technically, VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal has two major components. Equinix Metal is the physical infrastructure underlay available at Equinix data centers and delivered as hardware-as-a-service (no more procurement, racking, or cabling) at global scale with hyperscaler class supply chain. Layered and Integrated with Metal, VMware cloud will provide SDDC-as-a-managed-service at the click of a button with best-of-breed compute, network, and storage capabilities. VMware Cloud service is battle-tested and provides industry-leading isolation, security, performance, and availability. With its built-in vSAN, NSX networking, and Hybrid Link Mode capabilities, we enable customers to simply and cost-effectively extend their on-premises assets.
The benefits of VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal
Combining best-of-breed virtual and physical infrastructure was the goal, but what are the key benefits? VMware Cloud unifies all environments with consistent operations and security, delivering the enterprise reliability, resiliency, and governance organizations require. VMware Cloud enables 59% recurring savings on infrastructure and operations and up to 71%1 savings in operations and training. Equinix’s 240+ locations are not far from most global enterprises. That physical proximity provides network benefits but, more importantly, keeps your data (your choice) sovereign and locally and within a short hop, can be moved from/to hyperscalers or your data center. DC assets will also experience the benefit of flexible expansion or shrinking.
This new partnership also provides network and physical proximity while reducing TCO for networking costs. While ingress is free, egress is expensive. With this new solution, you will see manageable network costs while bringing the network closer to you. Equinix Fabric offers direct connectivity to your workloads running in the public cloud via fast, low-latency interconnection links such as Azure ExpressRoute, AWS Direct Connect, and Google Cloud Interconnect. Equinix Fabric offers improved performance with low-latency private connections running over a Layer 2 network and reduces security threats and attack surface by bypassing the public internet. And with this solution, egress costs are 40% cheaper.
Increasingly data sovereignty and, in many cases, the volume of data and the size of data forces infrastructure or compute to be close to the source or residency of data. We bring infrastructure-as-a-service closer to the geographical, regulatory, and increasingly to the source of data while delivering on operational cost-effectiveness. This could lead to further consolidation, lower TCO, and more resilient and locally available infrastructure to service edge environments.
The past was all about on-premises and public cloud. The present now offers a VMware-powered cloud on all public clouds as a cloud-managed service. We now fast-forward to VMC-E as a physical and network co-located VMware-managed cloud that meets your future needs and provides more flexibility for innovating to support business outcomes. This platform will continue to be jointly engineered and enable:
- Hybrid ML/AI use cases: Where we bring the cloud operating model while preserving the latency and data sovereignty, flexibility, and choice to enable new workloads and business outcomes.
- Platform hardware innovations jointly with Equinix hardware configurations to deliver unique hardware capabilities like SmartNIC-based networking, memory, and other technologies like ML/AI and confidential computing in the Linux Foundation Open19 Project brick form factor.
- Edge – Managed infrastructure as a service closer to the data or the customer or, as it is often called, distributed enterprise edge.
This year-long co-innovation endeavor between VMware and Equinix was the outcome of an incubation initiated by VMware’s Office of the CTO, in close partnership with the Cloud Infrastructure Business Group. This is yet another excellent example of how VMware continues to co-engineer the future of cloud.
1 Equinix pricing for egress is 5c/GB vs 8c/GB with AWS/Azure