One Platform, Any Application – and Getting There with Cloud-Native

Today’s an exciting day for VMware as we hold our biggest launch ever for a plethora of new products. While Pat and Ben are unveiling all the new features, I wanted to give the Cloud-Native Apps perspective.  As you guys know, our focus is on helping customers develop next-gen applications and operate them in production. It’s about helping our customers get applications to market faster.  VMware’s recent product announcements provide key technology building blocks to realizing this goal.

VMware’s already released vRealize Code Stream – an exciting new product that provides governance and automation of build, test, and deploy pipelines for applications. Ultimately it allows our customers to get newly tested, proven application updates to market as quickly as possible. Last month, VMware followed up with vCloud Air OnDemand, which enables both dev and ops folks to provision infrastructure on the fly for new apps. Now all you need is a credit card to instantly provision cloud infrastructure that’s fully compatible with and connected to your on-prem data center. This compatibility is key: it enables our customers to release new features quickly, and to continue securely operating and managing their updated apps.

And then we have today’s announcements.  First is vSphere 6, a big release many years in the making.  One of the most exciting features for us in Cloud-Native Apps is the new Instant Clone capability (a tech preview previously known as “Project Fargo”).  Instant Clone enables a running VM to be cloned, such that a new VM is created that is exactly identical to the original. This is powerful because you can get a new, running, booted up VM in less than a second.  Moreover, the “forked” VM is tiny from a resource perspective as it shares all its memory with the original.  We’ve blogged before about how lightweight VMs are nowadays, but Instant Clone takes the lightweight VM concept to a new level.  We’ve even started kicking around the term “nano-virtualization”, as Instant Clone VMs are so resource efficient.

So how will Instant Clone be leveraged for Cloud-Native Apps? A few different ways.  First, Instant Clone can be used for traditional use cases where developers provision VMs to run fleets of containers.  Instant Clone enables developers to spin up VMs and containers together instantly.  But a second and more interesting concept is that Instant Clone makes VMs so lightweight that we can potentially run one container per VM.  Each time a container needs to be started, a VM can be instant cloned to provide the runtime environment for that container.  We all know VMs are great because of the hardware level isolation and security they provide.  Using Instant Clone for a one-container-per-VM model means you get VM-level security for containers, yet with instant provisioning and very low overhead.  It’s an exciting win-win and is a great example of the “containers without compromise” direction we took at VMworld last year.

Finally, today we announced a new version of VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO).  VIO is powerful because it provides the best of both worlds: the flexibility and API-driven nature of OpenStack with the maturity and power of VMware products.  Customers are looking at OpenStack because of the promise of automating infrastructure provisioning and management, and in the end, of moving faster.  VIO enables all these great values on the proven vSphere infrastructure our customers already have.

Today’s announcements feature tons of innovation, and it’s just the beginning in terms of Cloud-Native Apps.  We’re busy building on the innovations announced today, and working on a bunch of cool updates. Stay tuned.  In the meantime, check out the great products above and please give us any feedback/thoughts you have at microservices@vmware.com or @cloudnativeapps.

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