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The needle has moved and the paradigm has shifted for many businesses today.  Innovation is no longer just a cool thing to be seen doing – it’s now a necessity for maintaining relevance in an ever-changing consumer driven world.  Within the last decade we have seen an increasing number of large well-known companies and industries quietly disappear and close their doors – their products and services being superseded by faster, cheaper technology driven alternatives

Organisations right now need a level of flexibility and agility with how they manage their business applications.  These systems typically are a mixture of traditional virtual machines and modern container-based applications.  The Cloud offers the agility they need, at a premium price, as long as the T-shirt fits.  From a VMware perspective, traditional vSphere-based platforms offer IT teams a level of control and governance they don’t always get with the cloud, but provisioning times and change requests hamper their abilities to be responsive to the changing needs of the business.

VMware Cloud Foundation provides what we love about the cloud, together with all of the familiar benefits of running a vSphere-based on-premises solution – and that is only just the beginning!

So here are five reasons why vSphere alone is not enough, and why your organisation needs Cloud Foundation:

 

Understand the Value of a Full Software Defined Infrastructure

 

vSphere has come a very long way in 20 years by virtualizing compute.  It has shaped the whole IT industry, but at the end of the day it is still just virtualized compute which doesn’t address all of the elements of the data centre.

The challenges with traditional vSphere based 3-tier infrastructure is that they are still largely dependent upon the hardware that it runs upon.  Physical hardware often needs to be reconfigured when moves, adds and changes need to be made at a storage, networking or security level are required.  These hardware changes are often manual, time consuming and risky and result in scheduled maintenance windows which queue in ticketing systems and slow down ITs ability to best serve the needs of the business

Cloud Foundation delivers a completely integrated software defined stack which virtualizes ALL elements of the data centre.  vSphere compute together with vSAN storage and NSX (networking and security) is virtualized which removes the physical dependencies of infrastructure away from hardware. While hardware is still required, the way that it is configured is abstracted which allows for moves, adds and changes to be managed flexibly with software management and policy.  The underlying hardware that sits underneath Cloud Foundation is standardized, low cost and repeatable allowing it to be scaled and repurposed minimizing wasted capacity and driving greater levels of consolidation.  Integrated management ensures applications are configured for optimal performance and capacity is optimized.  Cloud Foundation then tops this off by automating the build, scale and life cycle management of the entire platform.

All of this has allowed many VMware customers to realistically achieve a cloud-like operating model deployed as an on-premises solution.

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Provide the Infrastructure Developers Need for Modern Applications

 

One of the biggest challenges many organizations face is with modern application development.  The tools which development teams use are built upon separate platforms to traditional infrastructure which can be costly to setup and maintain.  Developers need a platform they can use to quickly deploy their applications which traditional data centres and IT teams aren’t adequately setup to provide

For this reason, Developer teams have typically chosen to run modern applications on public cloud platforms with API access.  This is because most traditional on-premises data centres are not adequately setup to meet their demands.

Cloud Foundation 4.0 now allows customers to run containers as first class citizens utilizing “vSphere with Kubernetes”

This allows IT teams who typically manage virtual environments to provision and manage infrastructure for development teams to run their modern container applications.  Cloud Foundation’s full software defined capability means that IT teams can provide developers with the infrastructure they need quickly when they need it. Cloud Foundation contains inbuilt automation to deploy Tanzu Kubernetes Grid on top of vSphere and integrate it together with NSX and vSAN to provide a complete flexible developer-ready infrastructure for running containerized applications

With Cloud Foundation 4.0, Developers can access their services through the Kubernetes CLIs and APIs within the data centre with the added benefit of enterprise governance and control provided by IT.  Namespaces and Kubernetes Clusters are now visible as first class citizens inside of vCenter and are built to leverage the benefits of software defined networking and security with NSX and persistent volumes with vSAN

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Build and Operate a True Hybrid Cloud

 

VMware Cloud Foundation is very broadly deployed with multiple options to enable a true hybrid cloud.

Cloud Foundation can be deployed in the data centre, at the edge, it can be run in a VMware service provider or it can be run in VMware public clouds such as VMware Cloud on AWS

These four deployment options all use the same VMware SDDC software stack.  They are built upon consistent infrastructure, allowing for consistent operations on or off premises in a true hybrid cloud.  VMware HCX allows customers the option to migrate workloads between these different environments seamlessly and non-disruptively.

Customers can choose where to best place their applications and have the flexibility of being able to move or scale them at any time.  A hybrid cloud infrastructure allows customers the flexibility to run workloads where they want without the traditional constraints of running them in a particular location over a long period of time.

The ability to abstract compute as well as storage, networking and security from hardware allows applications to move between environments without many of the challenges associated with a typical hardware platform migration

Use Automation to Optimise Operations and Save Time

 

Many IT Admins agree that they spend far too much time ‘keeping the lights on.’ A lot of their time is consumed in managing a seemingly never ending list of change requests, life cycle management, patching and upgrades.

Automating many of these repetitive tasks mitigates risk and allow IT teams more time to explore new and innovative ways of improving service levels and adding business value.

Cloud Foundation is built upon a full software defined infrastructure with inbuilt automation for rapid deployment, scale and day 2 operations. It is deployed and can be running as a small footprint in just a matter of hours with predefined pre-requisites in-place. This enterprise-ready platform can be scaled up and down easily using automated workflows which are built into SDDC Manager. New dedicated logical SDDC instances called workload domains can be spun up to support a variety of different use cases. Each workload domain has its own vCenter server, dedicated storage and isolated networking and security. Patching and upgrade operations are automated and can be applied at a per cluster level. Edge cluster deployment, password and certificate management is also automated along with inbuilt support for Kubernetes workload management. All of these capabilities are automated through the SDDC Manager UI and are also accessible with the API.

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Drive Down the Costs of Running your IT Infrastructure

 

IT Silos have over the years become the norm for many organizations and are an expensive way to manage and run any infrastructure. Silos of new IT infrastructure are often built on a per project basis and are pre-sized for capacity to cater to 3 – 5 year budget cycles aligned to maintaining and refreshing them. Silos often consist of different hardware platforms, running different hypervisor versions within different data centers or clouds, managed by a variety of different tools and skilled technicians.

Many organizations today are targeted at driving down costs and doing more with less. Our customers who have adopted Cloud Foundation as a platform have not only benefited operationally from all of the in-built automation but have also seen some significant costs savings in adopting this software defined approach.

Every customer is unique and therefore every customer outcome is going to be different.

While virtualized compute is an important first step in driving down data center costs, the real savings only become obvious once all elements of infrastructure are virtualized.

Data center infrastructure savings continue to improve over time with Cloud Foundation.

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Summary

 

VMware is well positioned to address many of the challenges our customers see within their IT environments. An industry leading portfolio of integrated technologies spans all aspects of a modern infrastructure, well beyond the capabilities of vSphere alone.

Cloud Foundation as a platform provides an opportunity for customers running manually operated vSphere-based silos.  It allows them an extension to hybrid cloud while maintaining a common operating model.

Being software defined allows new applications and services to be spun up quickly on-demand.  It ensures resiliency and high availability and is elastically scalable and re-purposable to cater to changing needs.

Cloud Foundation is built upon standardized and repeatable hardware and allows customers to utilize what they love about the cloud operating model in their own data center

Cloud Foundation automates the deployment of a full SDDC platform integrating vSphere, vSAN and NSX.  It automates day 2 operations, life cycle management, patching and upgrades.

Our Cloud Foundation customers have seen the benefits of an integrated software defined platform.  Infrastructure becomes more agile which minimizes disruption and improves service levels.  Automation reduces complexity and minimizes risk which saves time.   A standardized repeatable architecture minimizes wastage, driving up utilization. Ease of patching and upgrades further complements these benefits maximizing our customer’s return on investment.

To find out more about VMware Cloud Foundation please go to the VMware website or take a look at the videos and simulators on the VMware Cloud Foundation Resource Center. You can also follow VMware Cloud Foundation on Twitter and LinkedIn.