UPDATED 08:00 EDT / FEBRUARY 04 2021


VMware’s Cloud Foundation gets support for persistent data storage

Virtualization software giant VMware Inc. today updated its popular VMware Cloud Foundation offering with new improvements centered on storage, networking and management for virtual machine- and container-based applications.

VMware Cloud Foundation is the company’s hybrid cloud platform for managing VMs and orchestrating software containers, which are used to host the components of modern, agile applications. It’s an integrated software stack that bundles VMware’s vSphere virtualization software with vSAN for storage virtualization, NSX for network virtualization and vRealize for cloud management.

The single platform can be deployed on-premises as a private cloud, or alternatively run as a service within a public cloud, and merge compute, storage, network provisioning and cloud management operations for application deployments.

The latest version, VMware Cloud Foundation 4.2, is the first to include the new vSAN Data Persistence platform that comes with plug-ins for Cloudian HyperStore and MinIO Object Storage. VMware says it’s meant to act as a unified, hybrid cloud-ready storage platform for both modern and traditional apps that’s simple to use and provides greater operational consistency.

VSAN Data Persistence provides a framework for technology partners to integrate their offerings with VMware’s infrastructure to support modern applications that require stateful services such as object storage, NoSQL databases and event streaming services for persistent data.

VMware said that with availability of the platform, customers can now manage S3-compatible object storage for unstructured data via partners such as Cloudian Inc. and MinIO Inc. They can use the Kubernetes application programming interface to provision and scale object storage on demand and also leverage “service-aware” infrastructure operations to enable higher availability of their apps during maintenance and lifecycle management. Customers will benefit from increased agility, lower total cost of operations and simplified operations and management, VMware said.

Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Steve McDowell told SiliconANGLE that object storage is an important consideration because it’s rapidly becoming the technology of choice for unstructured data.

“The stateless and transactional nature of object storage reduces the complexity for the managing that storage, and HCI is all about simplicity,” McDowell said. “VMware has chosen its partners well. Cloudian and Minio are two of the more exciting players in object storage, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Other notable updates in VMware Cloud Foundation 4.2 include vSAN HCI Mesh, which delivers a new software-based approach for disaggregating compute and storage resources. According to VMware, it will help customers to reduce their capital expenditure by sharing capacity across vSAN clusters, and lower operational expenditures by reducing the number of storage resources they need to manage.

McDowell said the introduction of vSAN HCI Mesh management capabilities is the most interesting new feature in this release.

“HCI Mesh is a technology that allows an IT administrator to scale a vSAN cluster by leveraging or borrowing resources from other vSAN clusters,” the analyst explained. “This allows for a vSAN cluster to be quickly and flexibly reconfigured to meet unexpected demands. There’s nothing an IT administrator wants more than the flexibility to use all of the available resources to solve a problem.”

Also new is VMware’s NSX-T 3.1 Federation offering, which provides networking, security, automation and operational simplicity for cloud-native applications that run in bare metal server, multihypervisor and public cloud environments. This been updated with more centralized management, networking and policy configuration tools, VMware said.

Finally, there’s a new version of VMware’s vRealize suite of cloud management tools for enterprises to play with. VMware said vRealize comes with improvements to data-driven infrastructure automation and boosts security for artificial intelligence-powered operations, among other things.

VMware’s vRealize suite is used by enterprises to manage and provision workloads such as compute, storage, network and application services at scale in hybrid cloud environments. The platform provides management capabilities for software-defined data centers and multiple-cloud setups. That helps customers address three crucial business use cases, namely intelligent operations, automated information technology and DevOps-ready IT that combines development and operations staff for more efficient application development.

The vRealize suite is composed of several different products, including VMware vRealize Operations and VMware vRealize Automation. VRealize Operations is used to monitor, troubleshoot and manage the health and capacity of virtual environments, while vRealize Automation is an infrastructure automation platform that enables self-service multicloud environments. Together, these platforms are aimed at enabling self-driving operations for applications and infrastructure so customers can more easily plan and scale up private and hybrid clouds.

The latest iteration of vRealize Automation adds performance gains that reduce the time it takes to deploy a virtual machine by enabling customers to process up to 16,000 requests in 45 minutes, a two-times improvement, VMware said. It also adds new property groups, security properties and NSX-V to NSX-T migration capabilities.

As for vRealize Operations and vRealize Operations Cloud, they gain new data security standards and VMware cloud configuration maximums, the company said. In addition, VMware says, its vRealize Network Insight tools have gained more enhanced network visibility and troubleshooting capabilities.

McDowell said he was positive about the new release overall. “It’s not a long list of features, but they really will make a difference for IT shops using the product,” he said.

Photo: Robert Hof/SiliconANGLE

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