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Cross-cloud ties IT environments together

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Kathy Gibson reports from VMworld 2016 in Barcelona – Vmware has launched what it calls the next stage in the software-defined data centre (SDDC) journey, going one step beyond hybrid cloud with its Cross-Cloud Architecture.
The Cross-Cloud Architecture brings compute, network and storage together, letting IT departments run, manage, connect and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment.
The new architecture delivers consistent deployment models, security policies, visibility, and governance for all applications, running on-premises and off-premises, regardless of the underlying cloud, hardware platform or hypervisor.
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger explains that the Cross-Cloud Architecture gives customers the freedom to innovate in multiple clouds, and is delivered through VMware Cloud Foundation and a new set of Cross-Cloud Services. These are VMware Cloud Foundation, which delivers hyper-converged infrastructure for building private clouds combining VMware’s highly scalable hyper-converged VMware vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN with the VMware NSX network virtualisation platform.
VMware vSphere 6.5 simplifies the customer experience with automation and management, as well as adding built-in security and support for new application types including containers. This means vSphere 6.5 is effectively a universal application platform that supports traditional and modern applications.
The new release will feature:
* VMware vCenter Server Appliance – delivering a simplified building block for vSphere environments that gives users an easy deploy and manage approach that reduces operational complexity by embedding key functionality into a single virtual appliance. The appliance will offer customers simplified patching, upgrading, backup and recovery, high availability and more, including a 2x increase in both scale and performance of their vCenter Server environments.
* REST APIs – will improve both the IT and developer experience by enabling greater control and automation of virtual infrastructure for modern applications via new REST-based APIs. \
* VMware vSphere Client – based on HTML5, the new vSphere Client will simplify the administrative experience via a modern, native tool that meets the performance and usability needs and expectations of users for day-to-day operations.
* VM Encryption – new virtual machine-level encryption will protect against unauthorized data access safeguarding data at rest as well as virtual machines that are vMotioned.
* Secure Boot – new feature will prevent the tampering of images as well as the loading of unauthorized components into vSphere environments.
* VMware vSphere Integrated Containers – will allow IT operations teams to provide a Docker compatible interface to their app teams enabling vSphere customers to transform their businesses with containers without re-architecting their existing infrastructure.
Adding to the hyperconverged capabilities, Virtual SAN 6.5 will improve total cost of ownership (TCO) savings an additional 50% by adding support for containers and physical workloads. VMware has also enabled iSCSI support, eliminating networking hardware costs from two-node remote office/branch office (Robo) configurations, and adding all-flash hardware support to Virtual SAN Standard Edition.
VMware Virtual SAN 6.5 will deliver:
* iSCSI Support – will enable VSAN storage to be presented as an iSCSI target for external physical workloads including clustered applications such as Microsoft SQL Server with Failover Clustering on a limited number of physical servers.
* Container Support – VMware Virtual SAN will provide persistent data layer for containerised applications via VMware vSphere Integrated Containers.
* Two-node Direct Connect – new functionality will eliminate the need for routers/switches between VSAN systems in Robo sites helping customers lower costs by 15% to 20% per site.
* REST APIs and Expanded PowerCLI – will help customers to accelerate responsiveness with enterprise-class automation that brings cloud-like flexibility and management to Virtual SAN environments.
* 512e Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives (SSDs) – support for 512-byte emulated disk drives allows high capacity drives to be supported and help advance the adoption of all-flash hyper-converged infrastructure.
VMware also plans to update the packaging for Virtual SAN Standard Edition to introduce support for basic all-flash configurations.
The cloud management platform has also be enhanced with vRealize Automation and vRealize Log Insight.
VMware vRealize Automation 7.2 will introduce out-of-the box support for Microsoft Azure as well as new container management capabilities. IT and DevOps practitioners will be able to use unified service blueprints to simplify the delivery of integrated multi-tier applications. Application-centric networking and security has been extended to Microsoft Azure, as well as currently supported clouds including Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware vCloud Air and the vCloud Air Network.
The latest release of VMware vRealize Automation 7.2 will feature Admiral, a scalable and lightweight container management platform to deploy and manage containers to Docker hosts. Developers will be able to provision container hosts from the vRealize Automation 7.2 service catalogue.
They will have the choice of modeling containerized applications using unified service blueprints or Docker Compose.
VMware is also introducing vRealize Log Insight 4.0 and vRealize Operations 6.4.
The log management and analysis solution will feature enhanced alert management functionality and a redesigned, easy-to-use interface.
VMware vRealize Operations 6.4 will deliver improved alert management and metric grouping for faster troubleshooting and new dashboards customised to specific user personas that span infrastructure, application and cloud teams.
Both vRealize Log Insight 4.0 and vRealize Operations 6.4 will also include new and enhanced integrations with the newly announced vSphere 6.5 and the broader vRealize product portfolio. They will also include new and enhanced integrations with the newly announced vSphere 6.5 and the broader vRealize product portfolio.