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At VMworld last year, we announced Project Dimension, which extends VMware Cloud to deliver the SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to customers’ on-premises locations. Because it is a cloud service, VMware takes care of operating the infrastructure: deploying it; troubleshooting issues; and performing patching, upgrading and maintenance. This means customers can focus on differentiating their business by building innovative applications rather than spending time on day-to-day infrastructure management.

This is a transformational innovation, but in order to realize it we must have deep software and hardware integration. Thus, a key element of Project Dimension is working closely together with hardware manufacturers to achieve this integration.

So what’s the new news today? Well, we’re excited to announce that the first solution within the Project Dimension family we’re bringing to market is in collaboration with Dell EMC – VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. We’re combining all the great capabilities of VMware Cloud and VMware’s SDDC along with Dell EMC’s industry-leading VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure.

But before we jump into the specifics of this new offering, let’s step back and review why we’re doing Project Dimension.

The Rise of Hybrid Cloud

More applications are being created now than at any time in history, partly because there is more digital data being created now than ever before. This means data gravity is in full effect: as data mass grows, applications and services will be attracted to the data. How cool would it be to just move your applications seamlessly to where the data masses, whether it is in your data center or your edge locations or in a public cloud?

This is the holy grail of a hybrid cloud operating model. Of course, nirvana would be being able to take the best parts of cloud computing model (increased agility, simplified operations that drive accelerated innovation) with the best parts of on-premises operating model (mitigated risks, controlled costs, and increased performance when apps need low data latency and high-performance networking).

And of course, the three laws of hybrid cloud – the laws of physics, the laws of economics, and the laws of the land – will also dictate where data and applications may reside. To do the right thing for your business and move the compute and applications seamlessly to where your data resides, you’ll need a consistent architecture and consistent operations.

This is where Project Dimension and, in particular, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC come in!

Fully-managed VMware Cloud Service

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC takes VMware’s industry-standard SDDC platform and integrates it with Dell EMC’s enterprise-class VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure, delivering the combined hardware and software offering as-a-service to data center and edge locations. We are still finalizing the exact hardware configuration, but broadly speaking it will include a half-rack or full-rack with three or more VxRail servers, two top-of-rack switches, two NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud appliances, and an uninterruptible power supply.

And when we say “as-a-service” we really do mean as a cloud service: you can call an API or use a UI to order a new SDDC with VxRail hardware to any location you like (datacenter or edge location) by simply supplying a street address. Once the hardware arrives, a Dell EMC technician will activate and configure it. After the SDDC is up and running, you can start to deploy your workloads in the cloud, just like with VMware Cloud on AWS today. Since VMware operates the infrastructure along with Dell EMC, we are continually monitoring the SDDC infrastructure for any issues and will proactively act if we determine there’s a problem, including dispatching a Dell EMC technician to remediate issues with the physical hardware. Want another server in your SDDC rack? Just call an API and we’ll deliver one and connect it up for you quickly. VMware also takes care of all the patches and upgrades. You simply provide us with maintenance windows when we can perform those patches and upgrades. We’ll even come and take the rack away when you’re done with the VMware Cloud on Dell EMC service at that location. And there is one monthly fee based on the number of hosts you have in the rack – hardware, software, service, and support are all included in that single price.

When we talk about a “cloud service”, we mean that everything can be done via API or UI. In other words, you don’t have to have humans in the loop. That being said, there are many VMware employees working on VMware Cloud on Dell EMC that are ready to help whenever you need it. It’s easy to get help from support via the interactive chat window in the VMware Cloud portal. While we have designed this system for automation, agility, and speed, we always have people at the ready to assist at a moment’s notice.

Customer Use Cases

As we’ve talked with customers, three use cases for VMware Cloud on Dell EMC have emerged:

  • Datacenter or edge infrastructure modernization: Probably the most common use case is customers taking the opportunity to both modernize their infrastructure and simultaneously to get out of the business of operating that infrastructure. A big driver of this is the hardware refresh cycle. But customers are sometimes looking at switching earlier for the benefits from streamlined operations or to realize a subscription model for their infrastructure.
  • Latency or sovereignty sensitive workloads: There are many reasons customers keep workloads on-premises. The two we most frequently hear are apps that 1) are latency-sensitive or 2) must be kept in certain specific geographic regions for compliance or other reasons. With the rise of IoT and the need to quickly process that raw data, customers need to move apps close to the data. In other situations, due to the type of data collected and its sensitivity, data must not leave certain locations, necessitating local infrastructure. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is a perfect fit for both use cases.
  • Application modernization: Finally, we see many customers innovating in the cloud, with new application development methodologies and advances like continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD). Customers want this same ability on-premises, and thus need modern infrastructure to support it. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC gives customers a true cloud experience within their data center or edge locations, allowing them to run their new applications on-premises just like in the cloud. And in addition, because these apps have many existing components (databases and the like) that already run on VMware’s SDDC, it means the new apps can reside right next to the existing ones, allowing for peak performance and easy manageability.

Summary

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is ground-breaking in its ability to deliver a true cloud experience on-premises. We’re excited to announce that it is available today in beta and will have initial general availability in the second half of this year.

Want to learn more? Check out the following resources:

From VMware:

From Dell EMC:

About the Author

Kit Colbert

Kit Colbert is VP & CTO, Cloud Platform BU at VMware, driving technical strategy and innovation for the vSphere, VMware Cloud on AWS, and Project Dimension product lines. Previously he was GM of Cloud-Native Apps, CTO for End-User Computing, the Chief Architect and Principal Engineer for Workspace Portal, and the lead Management Architect for the vRealize Operations Suite. At the start of his career, he was the technical lead behind the creation, development, and delivery of the vMotion and Storage vMotion features in vSphere. Kit holds a ScB in Computer Science from Brown University and is a recognized thought-leader on Cloud-Native, End-User Computing, and Cloud Management trends. He speaks regularly at industry conferences, on the main stage at VMworld, and is the Cloud-Native voice for the VMware Office of the CTO blog.