VMworld Europe 2018: VMware beefs up hybrid portfolio with Cloud Foundation 3.5 release

VMware building with arched glass front

VMware has beefed up its hybrid cloud offering, announcing the release of VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5 at its annual European conference VMworld Europe, along with updates to its Workspace ONE VDI platform and its VMware Cloud Verified programme.

Cloud Foundation 3.5 for multi-cloud complexity management

Designed to support hybrid cloud deployments, Cloud Foundation 3.5 introduces support for VMware's latest product versions, including the company's Kubernetes platform VMware PKS (through integration with VMware NSX-T 2.3), the latest version of vSphere, vRealize Automation 7.5 and vRealize Operations 7.0.

VMware's parent company Dell EMC is also taking the opportunity to announce a sneak peek at the Cloud Foundation software running on VxRail, the hyper-converged infrastructure appliance co-designed by the two companies.

It's unclear whether VxRail deployments will be supported by the time Cloud Foundation 3.5 launches (expected before the end of VMware's fiscal year in February), but it will be validated for use with Dell EMC's vSAN Ready Nodes running on the company's PowerEdge MX platform - Dell's recently-launched 'kinetic infrastructure' designed to support software-defined data centre projects.

It will also be heavily integrated with HPE's composable infrastructure, with customers able to manage hardware run by HPE Synergy Composer and OneView through VMware's SDDC Manager software. Customers can also deploy Cloud Foundation to the public cloud through some of VMware's many partners, including IBM and AWS, who VMware has just improved its partnerships with.

"Fundamentally, we see hybrid clouds as being driven largely by IT operations; proven infrastructure, production environments - and the public cloud are a range of consumers and more driven by developers and line of business," VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said during a keynote speech at the event.

"The VMware Cloud Foundation is essentially the full recipe for building a cloud environment. Virtualised compute, storage and networking with a layer of automation and operations - and as I describe it, the rule of the cloud: 'ruthlessly automate everything'. Every people operation becomes an automation solution."

Elsewhere, the company has also announced version 4.0 of its vRealize Network Insight product, with the ability to troubleshoot connectivity between apps in hybrid environments, as well as the connection between on-premise VMs and AWS EC2 instances. Support for Cisco ACI underlay and ASA firewall will also be coming in this new version (also set to release before February), alongside new visualisation features for NSX-T topology.

vRealise Operations will also be getting a new feature, in the form of Skyline Proactive Support. This automated support system uses gathered data to provide pre-emptive recommendations in order to keep customers' infrastructure ticking over smoothly, and also automates the process of uploading log files to VMware's technical support staff. Skyline Proactive support will be arriving early next year.

Endpoint device management with Workspace ONE

Workspace ONE has had a number of tweaks and tune-ups as well. Workspace ONE Intelligence, the analytics and automation component of VMware's VDI solution, has now been updated to support the creation of integrations with third-party systems like service desk platforms.

Workspace ONE also now supports Sensors for macOS, which allows Workspace ONE admins to query various details about Workspace ONE devices, like configuration, hardware and BIOS info. The feature initially supported Windows 10 devices when it was introduced earlier this year, but has now been expanded to support Macs as well.

Elsewhere, Workspace ONE's Boxer email client now supports G Suite email accounts, and Workspace ONe supports Samsung's DeX platform, meaning VMWare's VDI platform can be run on devices like the Galaxy S9 and Tab S4 while they're in desktop mode. Support for Flexera AdminStudio has been added too, allowing devs to export Win32 apps directly to their Workspace ONE catalogue.

"2018 has been a transformative year for our Workspace ONE platform," said the company's senior vice president and general manager for end-user computing, Shankar Iyer. "With today's announcement we continue to deliver new capabilities at a blistering pace that fully embrace the heterogeneity we see across customers in the industry today. And, we have no intention of slowing down."

VMware's virtual cloud on AWS

The conference was peppered with announcements regarding VMware's cloud partners, too. VMware Cloud on AWS deployments running the company's Horizon 7 endpoint virtualisation software now have support for Instant Clones and App Volumes, offering customers a maximum reduction in storage consumption of up to 80% and a spin-up time of around two seconds per virtual desktop instance.

VMware Cloud on AWS deployments of Horizon 7 will also be integrated with the company's Horizon Cloud Service for simplified monitoring and has teased that admins will soon be able to partially automate their installations of the software.

Finally, the company announced that the VMware Cloud Verified Partner programme has swelled from five companies last year to over 27 companies globally, including more than 12 in Europe. In addition, it is launching new VMware Validated Designs to help partners quickly deploy VMware-approved solutions and has announced the general availability of a number of previously-launched products. These include VMware Cloud Provider Pod, VMware vCloud Director 9.5, VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR, and VMware vCloud Usage Insight Service.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.