Convergence without conglomeration is critical in a multi-cloud world

As a VMworld attendee and participant for many years now, I was encouraged to see VMware acknowledge that we are in a “multi-cloud” world. But why did VMware announce support for a multi-cloud world after years of pushing a VMware only agenda? They also announced support for network virtualization and opensource support through Openstack. I would like to share my view on some of the big announcements at VMworld and how Dell has made similar decisions to move toward a multi-cloud environment.

Dell has been aware that we were heading toward multi-cloud for years now, with a multitude of offerings that allow customers to leverage multiple operating environments without locking themselves into an expensive, proprietary method of doing so. Based on our discussions with customers and analysts we had seen that while customers sought a convergence of management, they were also going to be forced to support multiple environments. Shadow IT, end-user empowerment, mergers and acquisitions mean that a one-vendor, take all approach to virtualization was not going to work for most customers. Despite their best intentions, developers were going to provision to the cloud, business units were going to ask them to look for multiple providers to save on opex, and the wave of consolidations that hit during the economic crisis meant that differing strategies had to be merged together.

VMware acquires Multi-Cloud DynamicOps, the OEM engine behind Dell’s VIS Creator

Announced in the media weeks before, but put in context at VMWorld was the acquisition of DynamicOps, a software solution for allowing customers the ability to manage diverse environments. DynamicOps allows customers to setup self-service (private cloud) portals for IT end-users for the provisioning of not only VMware virtual machines, but Hyper-V as well as Citrix Xen Desktop. The software also allows customers to provision to the public cloud (Amazon EC2 being a prime one today), as well as provisioning to actual physical servers from Dell and other hardware vendors. IT does all this while providing IT teams the governance and control required to ensure compliance, while enabling service delivery efficiency. It was about two years ago now that Dell entered into an OEM agreement with DynamicOps after seeing the potential to deliver customers a heterogeneous self-service private cloud environment. Customers leveraging VIS Creator get the added benefit of joint
support when managing across a Dell environment, and an architecture team who has had two-plus years of experience delivering private cloud solutions.

VMware opens up the network layer with Nicira

Closing just in time for the big event was VMware’s acquisition of Nicira, a player in the “software defined networking” space, a move that could have just as big an impact on the networking space, as hypervisors have had on the server space. Customers certainly need more flexibility and choice at the network layer than they have today, with most network service tied to the underlying physical hardware they are purchased with. And that limited choice has led to increased capital and operational costs for most customers. That was certainly one motivation behind our acquisition last year of Force10 Networking by Dell, the idea to provide a virtualized network
architecture and Open Automation Framework to provide for software defined networking for customers.

VMware receives applause for OpenStack Announcement

VMware announced that they have applied to become a full OpenStack member, even though they compete on hypervisor technology in order to provide greater interoperability between OpenStack and Cloud Foundary. VMware realizes that while infrastructure is undergoing significant operational transformation, so too is application
development with some of the largest web 2.0 infrastructure providers leveraging new opensource and data storage techniques. Dell has been one of the first organizations to support the OpenStack project, building its own services, developing its own opensource tools like Crowbar, and bringing in new partnerships to enable these organizations to succeed.

Dell is focused on the right solutions for customers that won’t lock them into a single vendor world.

Dell has been on top of customers’ needs to converge while at the same time preventing lock-in by conglomerates. Our solutions have been focused on customers’ requirements to leverage as much of their physical and logical infrastructure while still reducing the amount of operational effort to optimize virtualization. That’s why we have been winning awards at VMworld, including an award for the vStart 100 from Virtualizaton Review. We believe that the data center of the future will be a heterogeneous, multi-cloud environment where customers will need to converge management, without lock-in, and Dell has been offering solutions to do just that.

About the Author: Kevin Smith