At Inaugural VMware Explore, VMware Pushes Orgs To Get 'Cloud Smart'
For almost 20 years, VMware's marquee event, attracting thousands of attendees in person and, lately, online, was VMworld. This year, VMware made a strategic pivot, leaning more into its multicloud portfolio than before. VMworld, too, has rebranded; the event is now called VMware Explore, indicating a more collaborative, less proprietary VMware.
The inaugural VMware Explore event kicked off this week in San Francisco with a keynote on Tuesday that stressed multicloud advances in all areas of VMware's product strategy.
One of the biggest product announcements in the keynote was the launch of VMware Aria, which CEO Raghu Raghuram described as "a brand-new multicloud management solution" that's at the core of VMware's multicloud strategy.
Powering Aria is the Aria Graph data store, which surfaces data from across a user's entire multicloud environment, providing insight into cloud costs, performance levels, security issues and configuration changes. "We have created a graph of all your cloud assets," Raghuram said during the keynote. "Using this graph, we can do all sorts of management and security tasks and automation." (More details of the VMware Aria announcement are in this Virtualization & Cloud Review article, "VMware Debuts New Single Offering for Multi-Cloud Management: Aria.")
Aria's promise of easy multicloud management is a critical element of what Raghuram called in his presentation "cloud smart." Cloud smart, according to Raghuram, is the third and final stage of an organization's journey to the cloud. It follows the "cloud first" stage, which he described as the move by an organization to "re-platform" its front office and beyond; and the "cloud chaos" stage, which is marked by security and operations fragmentation, application sprawl and a lack of skills.
In contrast, the cloud-smart stage is characterized by "an architected and planned approach to digital transformation and multicloud," Raghuram said in the keynote. He described three principles of cloud smart that differentiate it from cloud chaos:
- Accelerated application development (as opposed to disparate development, operations and security).
- Consistent enterprise architecture (as opposed to siloed cloud infrastructure).
- Frictionless experience (as opposed to fragmented application-access experience).
Next-Gen vSphere and vSAN
To facilitate organizations' journeys toward becoming cloud smart, VMware is touting its Cross-Cloud Services portfolio, which it first launched at last year's VMworld event. The portfolio includes the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes platform, the VMware cloud and VMware Workspace ONE, as well as cloud management, networking and security capabilities.
During Tuesday's keynote, VMware executives debuted a raft of new product updates tied to the Cross-Cloud Services platform. Generating the biggest round of applause from the audience was the announcement of Version 8 of both VMware vSphere and VMware vSAN. According to VMware's press release, vSphere 8 will mark "a new era of heterogeneous computing by bringing DPUs (Data Processing Units) into the fold along with CPUs and GPUs -- making the future of modern infrastructure accessible to all enterprises," while vSAN 8 will deliver "breakthrough performance and hyper-efficiency" via "a next-generation storage platform optimized for modern hardware with hyperconverged infrastructure."
Together, vSAN 8 and vSphere 8 will "set the next decade of modern computing," including AI and machine learning apps, according to Raghuram.
For industry watchers, the elephant in the room during Tuesday's keynote was the looming Broadcom-VMware deal.
According to an agreement announced in May, chipmaker giant Broadcom is set to acquire VMware for $61 billion, which, in terms of value, would put the deal behind only Dell's $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2016 and Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this year. Barring objections from regulators, the deal is expected to be finalized in Broadcom's 2023 fiscal year, which starts this November.
Raghuram addressed the Broadcom deal only briefly during the keynote. He thanked Broadcom CEO Hock Tan, who was in the live audience, for attending, then said, "We are headed for an exciting journey."
Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.