Kathy Gibson reports from VMware Explore – The technology hype today is all around artificial intelligence, data mining and advanced analytics.

But what makes all these advances possible is a rock-solid platform foundation.

The continued development of VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is critical to future applications and workload, which is why customers continue to deploy it.

Indeed, VCF enjoys 31% year on year growth, says Purnima Padmanabhan, GM and senior vice-president: modern applications and management business group at VMware. “And there is a reason for this: VCF is very cost-effective, it provides a highly-secure and resilient solution, and meets data privacy needs.”

At VMware Explore in Barcelona, the company announced a number of critical enhancements to its core cloud platform, with VCF 5.1 now offering a 2x GPU capacity to accelerate AI and increase the performance of applications.

New functionality on the core VCF platform include data services, private AI, security, ransomware and disaster recovery, and application platform services.

The next generation of VMware Data Services Manager, designed to support today’s data-driven innovation by making data services as easy to consume as what VMware has achieved for virtualised compute, storage, and networking. VMware Data Services Manager will deliver best-in-class management for a wide range of data services, not just databases, as a natively integrated experience for VMware Cloud Foundation customers, serving the needs of IT admins, data teams, and developers alike.

These capabilities, along with new data services partnerships with Google Cloud and MinIO, and new VMware Cloud advancements, will deliver developer-ready infrastructure to accelerate modern app innovation, provide multi-cloud flexibility and agility, and enable more secure and resilient organizations.

VMware Cloud Foundation delivers innovations from VMware’s on-premises and public cloud software offerings in a unified stack to enable a consistent and more secure environment across any on-premises, hyperscaler cloud, or partner cloud environments.

VMware Cloud Foundation is the underpinning for VMware Private AI and yields benefits for modern AI/ML and generative AI workloads such as simplified management, enhanced scalability, improved security, and optimized resource usage. VMware Cloud Foundation is delivered as a service by hundreds of Cloud Services Providers (CSPs), including those delivering VMware Sovereign Clouds.

VMware will empower IT to consistently and more securely manage databases, object stores, streaming, warehouse, caching, and querying solutions running on VMware Cloud Foundation. This strategy will help customers accelerate their digital transformation by building, deploying, and operating a diverse and growing data estate. With VMware Data Services Manager, IT administrators will benefit from the native VMware infrastructure management experience for data services, including full control of infrastructure policies.

Data teams and database administrators will maintain full control over data policies and be able to deliver a self-service offering for databases and other best in class data services on-premises to their lines of business, enabling rapid innovation for developers

VMware also announced that Google Cloud AlloyDB Omni will be the first third-party PostgreSQL-compatible database natively integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation through VMware Data Services Manager and VMware vSAN. With AlloyDB Omni, customers will have access to an enterprise-ready PostgreSQL-compatible database, with Google Cloud support, on reliable, scalable, and highly secure VMware Cloud Foundation environments. With AlloyDB Omni running on VMware vSAN customers can experience more than 2x the transactional performance and up to 100x the analytical performance of standard PostgreSQL across a wide range of queries and workloads.

Additionally, VMware announced that MinIO Object Store will be the first third-party object storage natively integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation through Data Services Manager. MinIO is a highly performant and resilient object store offering active-active replication for mission-critical production environments. Running on VMware Cloud Foundation and managed through Data Services Manager, MinIO will be an ideal solution for data lake implementations and large-scale AI/ML use cases.

Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated as the data from companies becomes more lucrative. To help organisations combat this evolving threat landscape, VMware has announced new solutions and technologies that enable organisational resilience.

Intelligent Threat Detection is a new capability in technology preview that will deliver proactive AI/ML-powered encryption prevention and response, allowing customers to see more to stop more and recover faster. Customers will be able to identify modern ransomware prior to encryption using aggressive behavioral analysis of powered-on workloads in a cloud-based isolated environment and detect encryption events across protected workloads by analysing file system metadata, data change rates, and entropy.

VMware Live Recovery is a new offering that provides cyber and data resiliency for VMware Cloud. VMware Live Recovery delivers unified protection, secure cyber recovery and simplified consumption. Customers benefit from unified management of ransomware and disaster recovery across on-premises and public clouds, confident and accelerated recovery from modern ransomware, and flexible licensing for changing business needs and threats.

New VMware Cloud Foundation advancements include:

* Enhanced networking and security with support for the vSphere Distributed Services Engine (DSE), modernizing data centers by offloading full stack infrastructure functions from CPUs to Data Processing Units (DPUs).

* Enhanced support for NVMe storage platforms with new support for vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) that enables customers to deploy next generation servers that deliver higher performance, more scalability, and improved efficiency.

* Unified experience and fast issue resolution delivered by VMware Aria Operations with updates that include the ability to understand sustainability posture across data center footprints as well as meaningful grouping of alerts enabled by AI to help manage alert storms and improve troubleshooting capabilities.

Completing the VCF platform, VMware Tanzu is the solution for enhancing application delivery, simplifying the process of developing, operating and optimising applications, Padmanabhan explains.

“Enhancements include the Tanzu Application Platform, with a developer portal, secure supply chain, and Kubernetes operations – and these are now joined by the Tanzu Application Engine, which helps to automatically package and run applications.”

Intelligence is key, and VMware has added all of its intelligence services with CloudHealth, Insights, Guardrails and an Application Catalogue.

“So the core Tanzu application platforms are now surrounded by data services and intelligence services,” says Padmanabhan.

Anchoring the VCF value proposition is Spring, which has recorded 50% growth year over year. “And VMware is committed to investing in Spring, and has added new enhancements,” Padmanabhan adds.