Hybrid Cloud ambitions
Hybrid Cloud computing popularity is growing at enormous pace. Enterprises are reaping the benefits of hybrid cloud and all major cloud providers are aiming to deliver a unified, enterprise ready hybrid cloud experience to their customers. Microsoft is putting its money on Azure Stack, Amazon is focussing more and more on delivering enterprise ready hybrid cloud point solutions and VMware is looking to provide an ultimate architecture for Hybrid Cloud called Cross-Cloud Architecture.
VMware Cross-cloud Architecture
Cross-cloud Architecture is pitched as a ‘common operating environment across private and public clouds’. In VMware’s vision there should be no borders between cloud offerings. A workload should be simple to migrate between clouds, even when those clouds are running on different technology. In the private cloud space, VMware envisions a unified private cloud platform called Cloud Foundation. In the public cloud space Cross-Cloud Services aim to provide cloud consumers complete freedom and control. VMware has aptly rephrased it’s One Cloud, Any app, Any device into Any Cloud, Any app, Any device.
VMware Cloud Foundation
VMware has lots and lots of experience in the private cloud space with its renowned Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) approach. In the evolution of this approach VMware wants to standardise and integrate SDDCs into highly efficient building blocks that are easy and quick to deploy and manage. The VMware EVO family of products were the first ventures into this area and now VMware builds on that experience with VMware Cloud Foundation. Cloud Foundation is a fully functional SDDC building block: converging compute, storage, networking, the hypervisor and SDDC automation, management and provisioning into a single solution. Cloud Foundation can also be procured as a SaaS solution through a public cloud provider such as IBM. Cloud Foundation automatically provisions and manages the entire SDDC stack.
VMware was relatively late to the public cloud IaaS game. It has proven difficult for VMware to successfully run vCloud Air as a Public Cloud offering. Going head to head against public cloud moguls Microsoft, Amazon and Google was a steep challenge to say at the least. With Cross-Cloud Services, VMware is approaching the ‘problem’ of being/staying relevant in the public cloud industry from a completely different angle. And a revolutionary angle it is!
Cross-Cloud Services are a collection of SaaS products aiming to provide workload visibility, security, and governance to public cloud applications. This means VMware is aiming for the cloud management layer in a very sophisticated way. You can now manage, govern, and secure applications running in large public clouds, including Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Cross-Cloud Services obviously also supports vSphere based data centers so a single sophisticated solution can be used to manage workloads across the private- and public cloud space. Cross-Cloud Services for example allow live migrations of Virtual Machines to and from Azure and AWS. How about that for a cloud exit strategy!
In conclusion: a unified hybrid cloud environment
So, in the ideal world Cloud Foundation is running in your private cloud environment (either on-premises or as a virtual private cloud at a public cloud provider) providing private cloud capabilities for workloads not suitable for the hyperscale mega cloud environments such as Azure or AWS and Cross-Cloud Services manages it all. VMware NSX provides network management across clouds and private data centers and cross-cloud network and security operations. Cloud management across clouds is provides through a single solution providing dashboards, policy based workload placement, service brokerage, discovery, billing and accounting and workload migration. A truly unified Hybrid Cloud environment!