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The Future of IT is Software-Defined

Why the Software-Defined Data Center is a Nexus of Business Possibility

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

By Pat Gelsinger

The $2 trillion Information Technology industry is in the early stages of a tectonic shift, as we transition from the previous Client-Server platform to the Mobile Cloud era. For the first time in history, we’re seeing dramatic changes driven by both the consumer and enterprise worlds. In many ways, everything is up in the air. At this critical juncture, the demands on IT are greater than ever. Whether you’re an individual consumer or a business leader, you want essentially the same thing: instantaneous access to the apps and data you care about, without hassles or hiccups, and with confidence and compliance.

As we make this massive shift from the PCs and servers of old to the Mobile Cloud era, we’re experiencing a fundamental restructuring of how IT value gets created and consumed. Simply put, software has usurped hardware as the place where value resides. This is driven largely by well-established laws of technology: software can be quickly adapted, programmed and automated. By contrast, hardware is inflexible, labor-intensive and specialized. As a guy who spent 30+ years in the hardware world, this is a difficult fact to acknowledge – yet it’s undeniable.

To wit, we have entered the age of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). The SDDC is a data center where everything has been virtualized and infrastructure can be delivered as software on demand. This software-defined approach will become the model for every leading data center in the world because it represents a radical and powerful change agent for the enterprise. At its core, the SDDC empowers IT to move at the speed of the business, by rapidly delivering apps and services as they are needed.

The technical argument for the Software-Defined Data Center is airtight: Virtualize all components, abstract the functionality, pool the resources and automate the processes. In this model, hardware becomes increasingly invisible – seen solely through a layer of dynamic, scalable and agile software. Many of the core elements of this approach have been pioneered by companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. But while they’ve accomplished a great deal, their implementations have been specifically designed for their specialized environments. Now is the time for us, as an industry, to take these valuable learnings and apply the software-defined approach for the benefit of all businesses – and all the millions of applications that power our economy.

Next Step: Virtualize Your Network

Compute virtualization was just the opening act of the SDDC story. According to VMware’s analysis, by virtualizing roughly 70 percent of our customers’ compute workloads over the past decade, businesses saved billions of dollars and in the process, they accomplished something else: They made it easy to spin up new applications in literally seconds. This, in turn, exposed a frustrating reality: As app provisioning has sped up exponentially, we have discovered that the operating model of the network is simply not equipped to keep pace. In fact, the network is now a barrier to achieving the full benefits of virtualization, because the movement of all of these dynamic apps is now severely constrained by the limitations of the physical network. The fact is today’s network is operationally intensive, requiring significant manual intervention and vendor-specific expertise at every turn.

The answer to this challenge is to virtualize your network. This represents the next chapter in our industry’s inevitable move to a software-defined approach to IT.  Network virtualization takes the fast and fluid operational model of a virtual machine (VM) and extends that across your network. It advances networking with new levels of automation, programmability, and management by leveraging the power of software. Network virtualization also transforms the economics of networking within the data center by reducing the need for costly, proprietary networking hardware. As we build virtual networks we are strengthening the foundations of the hybrid cloud, which gives businesses the ability to move valuable apps and data seamlessly between public and private cloud environments.

Charting the Course to a Software-Defined Future 

Modern business is here today. It’s global, competitive, collaborative, and extremely dynamic.  But too often, the technology infrastructure supporting these businesses is limping along – slow, inefficient, brittle, and generally incapable of keeping up. The best companies in the world are charting a path to a software-oriented model of IT where infrastructure drives strategic advantage. IT professionals with the courage to embrace this new reality – and let go of the hardware-centric models of the past – will change the landscape of business forever. The future is bright. Let’s move forward.

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VMware Sweeps Virtualization Review’s Reader’s Choice Awards and Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

We love end-to-end solutions. We work with many of our partners to help customers achieve a simplified, more efficient, flexible, cost-effective, service-oriented IT environment with products from across the range of VMware offerings. So we couldn’t have been more excited (and honored!) to learn that VMware topped nine different categories in this year’s 2014 Virtualization Review Reader’s Choice Awards and Ultimate Buyer’s Guide. The awards strive to identify “who’s better and who’s best among the growing list of cloud and virtualization companies and products.” As Virtualization Review’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Domingo puts it, “VMware had a busy year innovation-wise, and it shows in this year’s results.”

In the end-user computing category, three VMware products were chosen over the competition as Reader’s Choice Winners in the “Application Virtualization,” “Desktop Virtualization and VDI,” and “Mobile Virtualization and BYOD” categories. VMware EUC solutions dominated the end-user computing category with wins and it’s a testament to our continued commitment to technology innovation and ongoing customer engagement. The categories and winning products for EUC include:

To really drive the awards home for VMware, Virtualization Review named us Reader’s Choice Award Winners in several other product categories, showcasing the breadth, depth, quality and innovation VMware is known for. Products were featured from various VMware product groups including Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud Management, Networking and Security, and Storage and Availability. The categories and winning products include:

The competition was fierce, and we can’t agree more with Virtualization Review’s Michael Domingo: “It’s a testament to a vibrant market that continues to generate innovations, improvements and evolutions in technology that are helping enterprises make data more accessible, mobile, cost-effective and secure.” Thanks to everyone who voted. We’re looking forward to an even more innovative 2014!

VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 is Generally Available Today!

By Bill Roth, Group Product Marketing Manager, VMware

We’re pleased to announce the release of VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5, which includes new features for enterprise readiness, and support for an additional range of enterprise log sources. You can download the latest software from the VMware Product Evaluation Center (after logging in) here: https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=log-insight.

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New Releases of VMware’s Cloud Management Solutions Now Available

Today, I’m thrilled to announce the general availability of new and enhanced releases of the industry-leading portfolio of cloud management solutions (read the press release). The products available today include VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0, VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8, and VMware IT Business Management Suite. It is very gratifying to be delivering to the market the products we originally unveiled at VMworld 2013 Europe in Barcelona in October (press release).

This GA marks a major milestone in VMware’s mission to help our customers on their journey to IT as a Service (ITaaS) and their adoption of the cloud.  It covers the whole of our cloud management portfolio with critical new capabilities – a user friendly self-service portal for agile service delivery, management of physical storage devices as well as business critical applications providing health and performance visibility across the service stack, automated cost comparisons of infrastructure services across private and public clouds, just to name a few.

Designed specifically for dynamic virtualized and cloud environments, VMware’s management solutions simplify and automate how IT is managed across multiple clouds and platforms. The new enhancements and product to the VMware cloud management portfolio include:

  • VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 offers a self-service catalog for requesting and managing all types of IT services across multiple clouds and platforms including now VMware vCloud Hybrid Service and OpenStack to provide customers with on-demand access to any service and reducing time to value.
  • VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 extends visibility and insight into the performance of applications running on Microsoft Hyper-V and Amazon Web Services, improved performance analytics for a broad range of storage arrays, and enhanced support for business critical applications including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • VMware IT Business Management Suite  ITBM Suite 1.0 Standard Edition is the newest member of the VMware family of management products enabling infrastructure and business stakeholders to quickly understand the cost and consumption of their virtual infrastructure across private and public cloud environments. VMware IT Business Management Suite 8.0 Advanced and Enterprise editions introduce additional persona-based dashboards tailored to the CIO, CFO of IT, IT project managers and line-of-business owners.

As customers progress to ITaaS, we believe that CIOs and IT organizations must evolve from being just builders of IT services to both builders and brokers of services. This means making strategic decisions of where to source services – whether internally on a private cloud, externally from a cloud service provider or both via the hybrid cloud. With this GA, we are further delivering on the critical capabilities required of a service broker:  on-demand access to any service, cost transparency, automated operations, and the ability to deliver and manage services on any cloud and any platform.

I am very proud of what our team has achieved with our Q4 Cloud Management Launch and GA. I am looking forward in the coming months to receiving feedback from you, our customers, on our new and updated offerings, and how they are helping you deliver services more quickly and efficiently to your own customers.

Ramin Sayar is senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management

VMware Weekly News Recap: November 22

VMware News

This week, VMware announced a new joint solution with partner Palo Alto Networks that will automate and accelerate the deployment of next-generation network security with centralized management across physical and virtual domains. On a related note, Rod Stuhlmuller of the NSX team talks about the importance of an often-overlooked feature set fundamental to VMware NSX -network security.

On Tuesday, the vCloud team announced  the vCloud Hybrid Service is opening a new data center in Dallas. For more information, read Mathew Lodge’s post on the vCloud blog.

Also this week, the vSphere team announced the general availability of Pivotal CF. Pivotal CF is Pivotal’s commercially supported hybrid Platform-as-a-Service solution built on Cloud Foundry technology, enabling customers to rapidly develop, deploy and scale applications. Pivotal CF is optimized to run on VMware’s proven and widely adopted vSphere platform.

Lastly in VMware news, 2013 marks 15 years since VMware was founded and this week we celebrated 15 years of VMware history with an infographic highlighting some important, impressive and even quirky milestones and stats from throughout VMware’s past.

Industry News

In industry news, CRN released its list of Top 100 Executives of 2013 and four VMware executives were included on the list:

  • Pat Gelsinger, Top 25 Most Influential
  • Frank Rauch, Top 25 Sales Leaders
  • Martin Casado, Top 25 Disruptors
  • Raghu Raghuram, Top 25 Innovators

SearchSDN’s Patrick Hubbard explores how VMware NSX will change the network admin role. “Remember your first exposure to VMware ESX? … VMware NSX will bring the same kind of change to the network admin role – bringing with it great career opportunities for those who stay ahead of the curve.”

Ellen Messmer of Network World covers the new joint solution from VMmware and Palo Alto Networks, writing, “[the] goal is to increase the security and efficiency of the virtualization process by adapting the Palo Alto VM-based NGFW, the VM-300-HV, to work under the management and security framework envisioned under NSX.”

InformationWeek’s Mark Melvin discusses problems that can occur when dealing with software-defined networking in his article “Can SDN Adoption Solve Real-World Problems?” Melvin writes, “If you think software-defined networking is all hype and no substance, think again. SDN deployments could potentially solve complex resource issues, especially in segments like healthcare and education.”

InformationWeek’s Charles Babcock reports on Pivotal’s announcement to launch a cloud app development platform, Pivotal One. He writes, “the release of Pivotal One marks the first time a supported, on-premises version has been made available, giving companies the option of using Cloud Foundry for in-house development.” Over at VentureBeat, contributor Jordan Novet explains why Pivotal believes data and cloud technology go together.

InformationWeek’s Sue Fogarty explains seven essentials to software-defined networking. She writes that while SDN “may be the technology du jour,” it is still largely conceptual. The article goes on to “boil SDN architectures down to the essentials, including OpenFlow, SDN APIs, and overlay networks.”

NetworkComputing’s Natalie Timms explains how software-defined networking can be secured. She writes, “With the emergence of software-defined networks (SDNs), security must become a core component of the network. Network security can no longer be an afterthought, or added with the assumption that it will ‘just work’ on top of an existing network.”

Lastly this week, Forbes contributor, Joe McKendrick details how cloud computing can save the government $20 billion a year, citing a new study that suggests adoption of cloud offerings — particularly Platform as a Service middleware and application development tools — can cut the cost of U.S. government application development costs to the tune of $20.5 billion a year.

VMware Weekly News Recap: November 8

VMware News

***Don’t miss our live Google Hangout on Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. PST to talk about the future of IT with futurologist Paul Saffo, along with a number of influential industry analysts and journalists.***

In VMware news, the network virtualization team attended the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong this week, where they announced advancement of our support for the OpenStack framework, expansion of our scope of contributions to include Compute, Networking and Storage and the delivery of OpenStack Neutron support for VMware NSX network virtualization.

Industry News

In Industry news, InformationWeek’s Charles Babcock reports on VMware’s announcement to partner with Mirantis to help customers build OpenStack private clouds on top of their vSphere virtualized servers. Boris Renski, executive VP and co-founder of Mirantis, calls the VMware deal “a strategic partnership” that illustrates how both Mirantis and VMware “are trying to uphold customer choice.”

ITWorld.com’s Nancy Gohring also reports on VMware’s announcement to partner with OpenStack. Gohring writes, “Mirantis says that VMware has now demonstrated its commitment to the community with its significant code contributions to OpenStack… Given that so many enterprises are VMware shops, it benefits Mirantis to have its OpenStack distribution run nicely in VMware environment.”

In other networking news, Alex Barrett of SearchServerVirtualization writes an in-depth piece on the nitty-gritty of VMware NSX. “With server virtualization, VMware revolutionized how organizations deliver compute services. Now, [VMware] says it can do the same thing to networking with VMware NSX.” Barrett goes on to answer three important questions that customers might have about NSX.

Forbes’ Ben Kepes highlights recent conversations with executives from Microsoft and VMware that discussed both companies’ plans to become “cloud powerhouses.” In the article “In The Face Of Armageddon, Microsoft and VMware Get A New Religion,” Kepes writes: “Despite an arguably slow start, [Microsoft and VMware are] both pushing hard against the AWS hegemony. There’s a need for both of them to move further away from the FUD and more into real world benefits their platforms can bring.” Kepes notes, “both companies are innovating and delivering real value to customers and that gives them an odd-on chance of surviving the tectonic shifts to come.”

The VAR Guy’s Elliot Markowitz reports on a recent Cisco study that indicates virtualization’s room for growth, although new statistics show that the technology is currently making significant inroads within SMBs. Markowitz muses that every year seems to be the year of virtualization, with industry pundits predicting that most organizations will finally adopt server, PC, operating systems or application virtualization in a major way. Citing the study, Markowitz declares, “Well, it’s safe to say we finally crossed the chasm… 77 percent of all respondents said they already have some sort of virtualization technology in place. Even further, 71 percent of these said they expect to allocate more budgeted dollars for virtualization to the tune of 20 percent.”

eWeek’s Jeffrey Burt reports on a recent survey by Dell’Oro that predicts the software-defined networking market will grow by six-fold over the next five years. According to Burt, Dell’Oro analysts say they expect Ethernet switches and network security appliances to make up the bulk of the space. “They will account for 75 percent of SDN sales revenue in 2013, according to the analyst firm.”

InfoWorld’s Eric Knorr discusses nine predictable trends for 2014 and beyond. He writes, “We’re at one of those rare junctures when a bunch of trends have begun to crystallize – and I’m pretty sure many of them will persist for more than 12 months.” The nine predictions span a range of technologies, with “Cloud is the new hardware” taking the number one spot.

Lastly, Farah Mohamed of Huffington Post reports that as revelations about the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance continue to trickle out, cloud companies are feeling the fallout. Mohamed writes, “[Public cloud company] growth is threatened by revelations like one in a recent Washington Post article, that the NSA has been tapping into the cloud company databases of Google and Yahoo. When users’ data is stored far away from them in the cloud, privacy is paramount — and stories about threats to that privacy could hurt cloud companies’ bottom line.” She goes on to talk about how some big technology companies are reacting to the new information.

Stay tuned for our Weekly News Recap next Friday and be sure to follow @VMwareNews and subscribe to the VMware Company Blog to stay up to date with all VMware news and announcements throughout the week.

VMware Weekly News Recap: October 18

VMware News

This week, VMworld 2013 wraps up in Barcelona, where more than 8.500 attendees heard from Pat Gelsinger and his team how VMware is helping customers move from the client-server era to the mobile-cloud world. In the day one keynote, Pat and the VMware team made several key announcements in the areas of End User Computing, IT Management, and Hybrid Cloud:

In End User Computing news, the Horizon Suite was updated with new releases to further enable a mobile workforce. Pat was joined on stage by EUC SVP Sanjay Poonen to announce VMware acquired Desktone, a pioneer and industry leader in desktop-as-a-service (DaaS).

IT management is a critical component of the software-defined data center and at the show we announced several new additions to our cloud management portfolio. The day two keynote featured president and COO Carl Eschenbach, Principal Engineer Kit Colbert and EMEA CTO Joe Baguley demonstrating how traditional IT management practices are giving way to automation. This is enabling IT teams to move faster by embracing a self-service model for delivering IT services and highlights the business value of cloud management tools.

As the hybrid cloud gains traction in the enterprise, Bill Fathers and the vCloud team announce the vCloud Hybrid Service is expanding to Europe, beginning with a data center in the UK. This continues the general availability momentum from VMworld San Francisco and the recently announced expansion of vCloud Hybrid Service to new data centers in the US.

This week also means VMworld 2013 has officially come to a close, but also starts the next step of bringing all these news products and services to VMware customers around the world.

Industry News

Around the industry this week we heard from Brian Madden who highlights this week’s End User Computing news in his post “VMware announces plans for Horizon View 5.3. Here are 4 new features I love!” Brian highlights his four favorite features of the new product and concludes, “It looks like View 5.3 should be pretty good… it has some great new features (and a bunch of minor new features which I didn’t mention), so I’m looking forward to it.”

Over at Forrester David Johnson recaps the Desktone acquisition and how it will positively affect both Desktone and VMware customers. Noting a rising interest in DaaS over the past two years, David sees the market accelerated in part because Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers can use DaaS to monetize their existing infrastructure investments.

At eWEEK, Eric Lundquist writes that the Desktone acquisition further rounds out VMware’s strategy to shift from a virtualization provider to offering a range of cloud-based services to the enterprise. Eric writes that the ability of VMware to bring those capabilities to enterprise customers would be welcomed by organizations struggling to manage mobile workforces operating in varied locations and using various devices.

Brandon Butler of Network World covers VMware’s expanded support for management tools, noting, “the moves reflect VMware’s desire to be a central management platform for multiple types of workloads in an IT shop.” IDC analyst Mary Turner is quoted in the article, “Increasingly there is a recognition that the future of cloud and enterprise data centers is going to be hybrid. The fact that VMware is investing to support a range of cloud platforms makes a lot of sense in terms of what the market wants.”

Tony Kontzer of Network Computing highlights the newly launched management capabilities in “VMware Adds Public Cloud Management Tools.” He writes “VMware touts the tools as boosting IT’s position in an environment where it’s so easy for business units to sign up for public cloud applications that it threatens to make IT irrelevant.”

Matthew Finnegan of Computerworld UK covers the expanding vCloud hybrid service, writing “VMware has expanded its public cloud offering with the launch of its beta vCloud Hybrid Service in the UK, as it aims to challenge the dominant Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) players.” He notes that “according to IDC analyst Spencer Izard, the VMware public cloud offers an interesting option to enterprise customers which are happy to implement VMware across their organization, with ease of transition between internal and external workloads seen as a major plus for companies.”

Lastly, Maria Deutscher of SiliconANGLE covers the vCHS rollout to Europe in “VMware Brings vCloud Hybrid Service to Europe with First UK Location.” In the article, Maria highlights the debut of the vCloud Hybrid Service Online Marketplace, integration with vCloud Automation Center 5.2 and 6.0 and the complementary vSphere Web Client plugin that allows admins to manage their ESXi hosts and public cloud environments from a single interface.

Be sure to follow @VMwareNews and subscribe to the VMware Company Blog to stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from VMware.