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VMware EVO SDDC: An Insider’s View

VMware was the first to paint a vision of the Software-Defined Datacenter as the architecture for hybrid cloud. In an SDDC all infrastructure resources and services (compute, storage and networking) are virtualized and more flexibly provisioned and managed through a policy-based, application centric approach.

VMware customers have recognized the value of SDDC and are asking us for ways to get there faster. At VMworld 2015, we launched VMware EVO SDDC an innovative software solution that allows VMware partners to deliver a new class of integrated systems designed to jump-start the process and complete the transformation to SDDC with the easiest path.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Raj Yavatkar, VMware Fellow and Lead Development Architect of EVO SDDC, to get the inside scoop on the product goals, design principles and unique characteristics. I thought it’d be cool to share the highlights of our conversation with broader VMware community.


Raj, what was the motivation that led to EVO SDDC?

Slide05At the highest level the goal of EVO SDDC is to drastically accelerate the transformation of enterprise IT through SDDC. Enterprise CIOs recognize that SDDC is the only way IT can address the ever-increasing pressure from the LoBs (Lines of Businesses) for greater agility and improved economics without compromising compliance, security and resiliency.


Building an SDDC on your own, however, is a non-trivial exercise because it requires each customer to integrate numerous pieces of software (server virtualization, software-defined storage, network virtualization, management and automation tools, etc.) while dealing with multiple vendors and variations of hardware configurations and resources. It can be done, but not everyone has the resources and the expertise.


So how does the EVO SDDC team plan to address these challenges?

We want to simplify all aspects of procuring, building, managing, and operating an SDDC. Today customers are wasting a ton of resources and time to integrate and maintain infrastructure software and hardware. One of the reasons that make cloud services so interesting is that all the complexity of setting up, configuring and updating infrastructure is taken care of for you by the cloud service provider. The goal is to unlock the same level of efficiency also for the enterprise datacenter. We think we can achieve this with a new class of integrated systems that deliver a turnkey solution for a complete SDDC.


Interesting. Integrated systems aren’t necessarily a new concept, what’s special about the ones powered by EVO SDDC?

Slide06Today people associate integrated systems primarily with converged infrastructure solutions. EVO SDDC powered integrated systems are very different, though.

For starter, EVO SDDC based systems are built from the ground-up to be software-defined with all infrastructure components – compute, storage and networking – natively virtualized and delivered from the hypervisor on scale out x-86 building blocks.

The entire software and hardware stack of an EVO SDDC system has been pre-qualified by VMware and our partners. Partners will deliver pre-racked systems with pre-installed SDDC software that simply need to be connected to power and network – we refer to it as “rack-and-roll”.

Last but not least, EVO SDDC powered systems offer a much simpler operational experience thanks to the new capabilities we deliver through the EVO SDDC Manager software.

Slide10EVO SDDC Manager is a new management component that is uniquely available on EVO SDDC powered systems. It provides end-to-end system automation and single pane of glass management. For example, EVO SDDC manager automates all the steps involved in standing up the physical (switches, servers, storage) and virtual (vSphere, vCenter, VSAN, NSX, vRealize Ops, vRealize LogInsight) infrastructure, reducing the system bring up time to just a few hours. Even more interestingly – EVO SDDC Manager automates the lifecycle management across both hardware (servers, switches, firmware/BIOS, switch OS) and VMware software including scheduled upgrades and asynchronous patches based on critical bug fixes or security advisories


You mention EVO SDDC powered systems are based on HCI which is a very hot topic these days. Why did you choose HCI as a architecture for EVO SDDC?

Traditional enterprise IT operation is organized around silos of compute, storage, and network administration with statSlide09ic boundaries of individual policies and workflows. As a result, provisioning new capacity or workload may require an elaborate, lengthy process of service requests that may take days to weeks. HCI breaks these silos and allows for a more agile model managed by a single admin. HCI is fundamentally simpler, more elastically scalable and more budget friendly grow as you go model. While most HCI solutions out there primarily focus on converging compute and storage, with EVO SDDC we are taking things to the next level and also converge networking leveraging NSX.


So with such a distributed architecture how do you manage provisioning and monitoring?

Slide16EVO SDDC offers a new logical abstraction called Workload Domain that can be used to allocate a sub-set of physical resources to a specific use case with network and management isolation. The Admin specifies the needs of an application such as capacity, availability, performance, and security and EVO SDDC Manager automatically allocates physical resources to meet those requirements. In the process it sets up the vCenter instance, virtual networks, storage cluster allocation, micro-segmentation rules, etc.

 From a monitoring standpoint, EVO SDDC manager centralizes the reporting of events and alerts based on policy thresholds and infrastructure errors across both physical and virtual infrastructure so that events/alerts can be correlated and policies specified for automatic remediation


This sounds really great! When will a VMware customer be able to get their hands on the product?

At VMworld 2015 in San Francisco we made our official marketing announcement. We have several early field trials happening as we speak and found tremendous interest in our customer base, but work remains. Additional trials will continue throughout the remainder of 2015. We expect EVO SDDC to become available in H1 2016.


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