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VMware Previews Project Enzo: A Next Generation Hybrid Cloud Architecture Designed to Transform Virtual Workspaces

If you could start from scratch and develop an innovative, bold new solution that could transform the way IT deploys and manages virtual workspaces with greater speed, flexibility and cost savings, what would it look like?

That was the question we asked ourselves on the VMware End-User Computing team, which led the team to develop a brand new set of technologies that we are featuring today as a technology preview called Project Enzo.

[Read more: Introducing VMware Horizon Air Hybrid-Mode]

Project Enzo is a new hybrid cloud-scale architecture that is designed to combine the economic benefits of cloud-based VMware virtual desktops and application technology, with the simplicity of hyper-converged infrastructure to transform the IT experience.

Today, deploying virtual desktops and applications can be a rigorous process if organizations are not using the right tools. Among the best run IT organizations, setting up a complete VDI environment can take several days and sometimes weeks with multiple servers/VMs to be installed and configured, networking policies implemented and applications and desktops managed. The pain is not a one-time thing – ongoing management of multiple moving parts means long maintenance windows and a lot of time needs to be set aside to design and scale the environments. Almost all environments are over-provisioned, leading to higher costs.

VMware Project Enzo represents a new approach to building, delivering and managing virtual workspaces. Project Enzo will enable the unified management of on-premises and cloud-based virtual workspace services (desktops and applications) through a single web-based portal that will be available as a cloud service on VMware vCloud® Air™. The technology preview also introduces new VMware Smart Node technology that tightly integrates with hyper-converged infrastructure solutions from our partner ecosystem. Smart Node technology enables the intelligent orchestration and automation of common set-up, delivery and management tasks of virtual workspace services across the hybrid cloud.

Our goal with VMware Enzo is to transform desktop computing; it will feature several benefits to our customers, including:

  • Simple Out of the Box Set-Up: Project Enzo enabled hyper-converged appliances will offer plug-and-play simplicity so virtual desktops and applications can be up and running in less than an hour.
  • Create and Scale Desktops at Cloud Speed: VMware Instant Clone technology integrated with VMware App Volumes™ and VMware User Environment Management technologies will allow IT administrators to create and scale desktops at cloud speed – allowing up to 2,000 virtual desktops to be created in under 20 minutes[i].
  • Eliminate Maintenance Windows With Seamless Updates: Maintenance windows will be eliminated with seamless updates that can be applied instantly to Windows images and applications.
  • Hybrid Cloud Flexibility: Desktop and applications can be moved back and forth from on-premises datacenters to the cloud, along with the flexibility of using the cloud as a primary use case for everyday productivity, or secondary use cases for desktop bursting or disaster recovery.
  • Right-Sizing Infrastructure Needs: More efficient assessment combined with operational and capital cost savings will enable Project Enzo to transform the economics for enterprise desktops by avoiding over-provisioning of resources.

Project Enzo features cloud-scale architecture. It consists of two main components – a Cloud-Control Plane and Smart Node technology that works with hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

The new VMware Enzo Cloud-Control Plane, a cloud-based management layer hosted on VMware vCloud Air, is designed to offer IT administrators a ‘single pane of glass’ to unify the administration of on-premises or off-premises virtual workspaces. This will help simplify the setup, delivery and monitoring of virtual desktops and applications. Customers will be able to use the control plane to configure desktops, apps and policies for groups of users, whether they are hosted on-premise or in the cloud.

hybrid cloud architecture

The VMware Smart Node technology will reside on hyper-converged infrastructure and connects to the Cloud-Control Plane. The Smart Node Technology will be all managed and controlled from the Control Plane, and provide intelligent orchestration, delivery and management of workloads running on the hyper-converged infrastructure appliances and racks.

One key element of Smart Node technology will be just-in-time (JIT) provisioning of virtual desktops and applications. Using the configurations made in the cloud-control plane, Smart Node will leverage the built-in VMware AppVolumes, User Environment Management and the VMware Instant Cloning technologies to assemble personalized virtual desktop and application environments when an end-user logs-in, giving high flexibility to IT administrators in leveraging the infrastructure.

The Smart Node technology will come fully integrated into the next-generation EVO:RAIL™, and future EVO:RACK™ solutions from VMware. All of our EVO partners will have the ability to offer appliances and racks compatible with Project Enzo. In addition, Smart Node technology will be available to other partners building appliances using VMware vSphere® 6. As a result, our customers can work with their preferred providers of infrastructure hardware to connect with Project Enzo.

A qualified public beta of Project Enzo will be available later in the summer of 2015 and an in-person demonstration will be available at the VMware booth (#302) at Citrix Synergy (May 12-14). I’m very proud of the work the team has done so far in bringing Project Enzo together. If you can’t make it to Synergy to see the demo, you can watch a video demonstration of Project Enzo. As always, let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Learn the latest about Horizon Air Hybrid-Mode (formerly Project Enzo):

[i] Results based on internal VMware testing