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RoundTower Blog

vSphere Integrated Containers, VMware Cloud on AWS, and the Next Wave of Innovation

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This year’s VMworld had a more consistent, loud, and clear message than in the past: VMware Cloud on AWS is here to stay. VMware wants you to focus on the good (not the bad) with its new offering AppDefense. Every session I attended that included a live demo was using the shiny new HTML5 client boasting both simplicity and speed. VMworld’s was a smashing success, and yet the more intriguing products were not even on the headlines. 

A variety of sessions and vendors reinforced the idea that not only has the technology landscape shifted, but more importantly, VMware is positioning itself to embrace that change. Throughout many events, the idea of directly integrating AWS service with VMware Cloud on AWS was the primary focus. Once a customer migrates its VMs to VMware Cloud on AWS, the thought of using NSX for a load balancer or scaling its PHP application with more VMs was quickly augmented with the idea that maybe Elastic Load Balancing or AWS Elastic Beanstalk might be a good consideration. One thing is for sure: in the new “VMware Cloud on AWS world,” options abound. With all these possibilities, the need to review customer legacy architecture before lifting and shifting has never been higher.  

One of the less-publicized updates this year is the next release of vSphere Integrated Container (VIC). VIC 1.2 is rumored to release sometime around VMworld Barcelona (September 11-14, 2017). I sat through several technical deep-dives which showed off a decent list of interesting features. Of special note is a built-in container vulnerability inspection engine that allows you to quickly and easily see known vulnerabilities, their severities, and the updates/packages which address the issue. So that public container you pull down to spin up your next enterprise application – the same one which happens to have a Java vulnerability – can be quickly fixed before it gets released to the developers. 

VIC also allows you to essentially front-end your current vSphere environment with a fully functional Docker engine. Translation for DevOps teams: Ops people can provide a Docker host to the Devs. The Devs are happy because it is a Docker host, so all they need to do is connect to it via a Docker client. Ops folks like this because the backend is a resource pool on steroids. It allows Ops to adjust memory and CPU on the resource pool and expand the "docker host." VIC enables the storing of docker images directly on a dedicated vSphere Datastore, which is nice from a management point of view. From a vSphere prospective, containers are seen as VMs so you can vMotion a running container or even back it up if needed.

All in all, I think it was a great VMworld with an extensive list of announcements and a clear vision cast. There were good sessions with a lot very talented people and a variety vendors from not only the traditional datacenter stack, but also a major showing from cloud and automation companies. What remains to be seen is how widely the new wave of innovations are adopted in this increasingly application and cloud centric technical ecosystem.

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