Last week VMware announced great Q4 quarter results to top off what has been already very positive 2016. Particularly interesting was to hear that both vSAN and NSX doubled their customer base to 7,000+ and 2,400+ customers respectively. Truly remarkable results that speak volumes about the level of maturity of these technologies and the value that our customers recognize in them. From a big picture stand point, this is even more exciting because it means SDDC is becoming a reality for many of our customers.
Making SDDC mainstream..
While the value of SDDC is been proven, for some moving to it is no cake walk. Because it is foundational infrastructure software that we are talking about, the transition requires extensive planning and careful execution. Not everyone has the resources, skillset or time to do it on their own. From many conversations with customers, it is clear that there is significant demand for solutions that, out of the box, deliver complete, enterprise grade software-defined infrastructure without the overhead of having to stand it up yourself.
It is with this goal that last September we introduced VMware Cloud Foundation 2.0 (VCF). The idea behind this new platform is actually straightforward: combine the power of vSphere, vSAN and NSX into a single stack with built-in lifecycle automation (new SDDC Manager) that makes it easy is build and operate a SDDC in both the private and the public cloud.
Cloud Foundation: a fast-track to SDDC
A big part of value of Cloud Foundation is obviously tied to the native capabilities of vSphere, vSAN and NSX – no differences with what we are used on that side -, but because it isn’t just a mere packaging exercise that we are looking at there is much more to it. VCF adds several unique aspects that truly make it an SDDC platform:
- Integrated stack – with VCF the VMware virtualization components (ESXi, vSAN, NSX) and the core virtualization management software (vCenter, LogInsight, SDDC Manager) are combined into a single cloud infrastructure platform, eliminating the need to rely on complex interop matrixes
- Standardized design – virtualization and management components are automatically deployed and configured according to a validated datacenter architecture based on best practices and engineered for scalability. This eliminates lengthy planning cycles and allows for predictable elastic scalability of each deployment
- Lifecycle management automation – SDDC Manger provides built-in capabilities to automate the bring up, configuration, provisioning and patching/upgrades of the cloud infrastructure for drastically simpler day 0 to day 2 operations.
2016: off to the races…
The customer response to the introduction of Cloud Foundation and our partnership announcements with IBM and AWS to offer it as-a-service has been extremely positive. VCF first quarter of sales far exceeded our expectations with several customers making multi-million dollars investments – most commonly as part of datacenter consolidation/modernization initiatives or for private cloud/IaaS deployments along with vRealize Suite (we’ll share their stories in the weeks to come).
From an engineering stand point, in late December we shipped the second release (VCF 2.1) release that improved a number of aspects, most noticeably lowering the minimum starting point for a deployment to as little as 4 vSAN Ready Nodes. To learn about the complete feature set of VCF 2.1 read here.
Looking ahead to 2017…
Needless to say, we have a very ambitious product development agenda for 2017. Our engineering team has already begun working on several interesting features that will become available in upcoming releases. Directionally, here are few examples of what we are working about:
- Further optimiz the architecture to make the most efficient use of hardware resources particularly when scaling to multi-rack and multi-datacenter deployments
- Extend the SDDC Manager automation capabilities beyond IaaS and VDI to new use cases and to other components of the VMware stack when used in conjunction with VCF
- Expand the hardware compatibility list adding new qualified options for vSAN Ready Nodes, network switches and integrated systems
- Grow the ecosystem of cloud service providers that will be able to offer Cloud Foundation as a service
Very exciting and this isn’t even the complete picture! Stay tuned to hear more in the upcoming months, but in the mean time tell us what you think and what you’d like to see.