Tech Deep Dives

VMworld 2020: 5 Areas Worth Digging Into Deeper

It’s a wrap. And while it was different than any other VMworld, I believe continuing to connect as a community, especially now, is really important. That’s because in our collective role, as technologists, we are the ones our organizations are counting on to help boost business resiliency at this challenging time. And because my focus, and really passion, is helping teams modernize apps and infrastructure—safely and quickly—there’s lots to unpack in the VMworld announcements we made.

So let’s get to it. Here’s my take on what we announced and why it’s worth learning more.

1.    Project Monterey: Another Giant Step on Our Modern Apps Journey

This is one of the announcements that excites me most. In my recent Modern Apps article series, I outlined all the reasons our software-defined architecture with built-in support for Kubernetes provides the greatest flexibility and choice for any app and any cloud. Yet the modern apps we have helped bring to life on the VMware Cloud Foundation platform through Project Pacific are increasingly stressing their underlying hardware. And while we have seen a rise in specialized hardware accelerators to help address performance issues, often they lead to new manageability challenges. So in the same way we needed a new software architecture for hybrid cloud, we now also need a new hardware architecture for hybrid cloud. That’s exactly what Project Monterey delivers.

Why It’s Worth Learning More

Every app has hardware requirements. Yet modern apps have greater hardware requirements which are putting added pressure on CPUs. Project Monterey takes advantage of a new technology called SmartNIC to offload many computationally intensive tasks, such as storage and network I/O processing as well as security services, to run on SmartNIC. This innovation both improves the performance of those tasks and free up server CPU cycles to boost application performance. It also simplifies manageability as VMware Cloud Foundation handles the underlying needs, allowing apps to leverage the hardware resources they need while admins and users control that usage through policies.

Project Monterey is clearly a team effort. We have a broad ecosystem of SmartNIC providers and OEMs backing this effort to improve:

  • Network performance – Moving network processing to SmartNIC enables line-rate bandwidth with reduced latency and jitter. This is essential as NIC speeds go from 10G to 25, 40, and eventually 100!
  • Security – Project Monterey enhances a zero-trust, defense-in-depth security posture through hardware-enforced isolation. Running security services on SmartNIC delivers comprehensive application security without compromising performance.
  • Management and operations – SmartNIC enables VMware Cloud Foundation to support bare metal workloads, bringing consistent infrastructure and operations to bare metal.  

We believe Project Monterey will lower TCO, a big win for cost-constrained organizations. It will also improve security while providing many new capabilities, such as support for bare metal.

2.    New Architecture Bringing AI to Every Enterprise: VMware and NVIDIA

Building on our Project Monterey news, we have a tremendous, new strategic partnership with NVIDIA that will unleash the power of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) apps on our hybrid cloud architecture. Whether it’s deeply integrating the A100 card into VMware Cloud Foundation or enabling the NVIDIA GPU Cloud to run seamlessly on VMware Tanzu, we are giving you the best of both worlds—the raw compute power of NVIDIA hardware with the simpler management and automation of VMware Cloud Foundation environments.

Our partnership will help organizations to train new models in their data centers or clouds, then perform inference at the edge (e.g., hospital clinics, retail stores, factory floors, or anywhere else it is needed).

I can imagine how the power of this partnership will enable many different industry sectors that are inundated with customer data—healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, just to name a few—to more efficiently uncover insights that transform customer and business outcomes.

Both of these announcements—Project Monterey and our NVIDIA partnership—are possible because of the exciting work we’ve been doing with our Tanzu portfolio. It’s truly the most comprehensive software stack for developing modern apps and updating existing apps and infrastructure.

3.     Easing Multi-Cloud Adoption

The Azure VMware Solution is now generally available, further delivering on our multi-cloud commitment. VMware Cloud Foundation is now integrated with every major public cloud—Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Oracle. And we announced new capabilities with several of these hyperscalers, too.

Increasing IT confidence and greater success with hybrid cloud has organizations considering a game-changing move: giving developers and application teams the freedom to choose the right cloud for the right workload. This can really increase IT agility, which also will speed app modernization. And we are all for it—giving you consistent infrastructure on the cloud of your choice with consistent operations in one cloud management solution, so there’s less IT complexity and no need for staff retraining.

That reminds me, if you consider hybrid cloud a part of multi-cloud like I do, then you’ll also appreciate our VMware vRealize announcement. What we’ve done with vRealize Cloud Universal is simplify management by giving you just one subscription license for both SaaS and on-premises software management. It also includes new federation capabilities. Check it out.

If you’re not familiar with our Future Ready Cloud effort to help organizations respond, adapt, and actually accelerate innovation during this unprecedented time, I encourage you to read more about it. We are helping IT teams across industries rapidly migrate apps, scale IT on demand, and modernize app portfolios—all while optimizing cloud spend and ensuring security across all cloud environments.

4.    Taking Networking and Security Into the Future

There’s no question risk is on every business and IT leader’s mind. That’s why we introduced the VMware SASE Platform. It brings essential network and security services closer to your employees and customers.

It’s actually a huge announcement from a networking and security infrastructure perspective, given the erosion of the traditional security perimeter model (e.g., build a moat around the data center). Now as applications are distributed across on-premises, cloud, and edge, our SASE platform provides organizations with a much-needed new networking and security model.

What’s unique about our platform approach is that it leverages our SD-WAN technology—2,700 cloud service nodes across 130 points of presence and counting—along with a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Secure Web Gateway (SWG) in collaboration with Menlo Security, our NSX Stateful L7 Firewall, edge network intelligence, and more in a powerful solution with end-to-end software-defined security capabilities!

And what’s great for IT teams is that this was just one of our Future Ready Network innovation and security announcements. We have end-user security news, too.

5.    Protecting Distributed Work

Because people are at the heart of organizations and cyber criminals are working overtime, we have been working hard to strengthen endpoint protection without compromising employee experience. The big news on this front is the integration of VMware Workspace ONE Horizon and VMware Carbon Black Cloud. It’s now a single solution using behavioral detection to protect against ransomware and file-less malware.

We’ve also anticipated the need for continued remote operations across the world, providing integrated endpoint management, endpoint security, and remote IT for physical Mac and Windows 10 devices. VMware Workspace Security Remote has so much built in that your team can use it to manage antivirus, audit and remediation, security, detection and response, analytics, device health, orchestration, and more. I, for one, am very excited about how we continue to ensure our entire portfolio intelligently manages and secures access to any app, on any cloud, delivered to any device.

There’s still much to talk through and explore from VMworld 2020. I look forward to continuing to do that in future articles and with you when we talk next. If you’re interested, my colleague Chris Wolf provides another good overview of the technologies we announced at VMworld 2020 as we move flexibility and agility to the forefront as sound IT design principles. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with specific questions.