VMware’s VMworld starts to roll – with SDDC the goal

It’s the big virtualiser’s annual bash this week, with Software Defined Datacentres and what you can do with them, as the central theme.

Having been an early player in the move towards the Software Defined Datacentre (SDDC), and having used last year’s VMworld conference and exhibition as the launch pad for a range of products designed to help implement it, this year’s VMworld sees virtualisation giant, VMware, setting out on the road to make SDDC a working reality.

According to Roy Choudhuri, the company’s Senior Product Manager for Infrastructure in EMEA, users are now seeking a Google-like man-machine interfacing, but coupled with enterprise-quality requirements.

“We are now in the mobile cloud era,” he said, “with millions of applications and the automation and virtualisation of everything. Users now look for the deployment of applications at the speed of business, and the deployment of workloads anywhere, to any user, on any device, all automatically.”

This, he suggested, is the background to the need for SDDC, where all infrastructure is virtualised and delivered as a service. He added that users are turning towards it because of the reduction it offers in terms of both Capex and Opex, though it can be argued that this argument has so far failed to generate any significant swing towards cloud services adoption despite the longest and most severe bout of financial austerity most pundits can ever remember.

It is, however, an argument that should still hold true, and may in fact be about to `have its day’ as more users move to hybrid cloud environments where they are increasingly selective over what applications and services need to be run on bare metal – and why – while the rest of the applications and services workload is increasingly moving to `the cloud’, which in practice will mean virtualised infrastructures and platforms.

“It also brings greater business agility, which brings with it an increase in productivity,” he said. “It has been shown to increase IT productivity by 67 percent.”

This year’s VMworld, held this week in San Francisco, is expected to attract some 21,000 attendees. It will see some new technology from the company, including VMware NSX, VMware Virtual SAN, VMware vCloud Suite 5.5 and VMware vSphere with Operations Management 5.5.

vCloud Suite 5.5 features a comprehensive, integrated private cloud infrastructure solution that is designed to simplify IT operations. It features new and enhanced product functionality as well as broad product integrations. It enables customers to build and operate a vSphere-based private cloud using the SDDC architecture, providing virtualised infrastructure services with built-in intelligence to automate on-demand provisioning, placement, configuration and control of applications based on policies.

The Suite is built on the foundation of VMware vSphere, and the latest iteration of this - vSphere 5.5 - introduces vSphere App HA to detect and recover from application or operating system failure. To further improve the response time of latency-sensitive applications, it also introduces a low-latency sensitivity feature, and enables configurations 2x the previous physical CPU, memory and NUMA node limits.

With its Big Data Extensions, customers can now run Apache Hadoop and Big Data workloads on vSphere 5.5, alongside other applications, to achieve greater resource utilisation, reliability and agility. In addition, it now supports next-generation Intel Xeon and Atom processors.

The vCloud Automation Center and VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite capabilities have been added to all vCloud Suite 5.5 editions, with the aim of providing the agility customers are seeking plus the control they require, through a flexible solution for automating the delivery of IT applications and services.

The vCenter Operations Management Suite offers integrated, proactive performance, capacity and configuration management capabilities for dynamic cloud environments. vCloud Suite 5.5 also features new releases of vCloud Connector, vCloud Director, vCloud Networking and Security, and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager.

VMware NSX is a network virtualisation platform that delivers the entire networking and security model in software, decoupled from networking hardware. By virtualising the network, VMware NSX delivers a new operational model for networking that breaks through current physical network barriers and enables datacentre operators to achieve orders of magnitude better speed and agility, while reducing costs. This allows users to programmatically create, provision and manage the underlying physical network for simple IP connectivity, and so treat physical networks as a pool of transport capacity that can be consumed and repurposed on-demand.

The company sees the new Virtual SAN as a breakthrough technology that extends VMware vSphere to pool compute and direct-attached storage. It delivers a virtual data plane that clusters server disks and flash to create high-performance, resilient shared storage designed for virtual machines, and unlocks a new tier of converged infrastructure that enables rapid and granular scaling of compute and storage resources.

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