VMware, as part of a bevy of updates to its portfolio announced today at its online VMworld 2020 conference, previewed its Project Monterey initiative to provide IT teams with composable infrastructure.
At the core of that effort will be support for smart network integration cards (NICs) within VMware Cloud Foundation, the suite of software through which VMware bundles its vSphere, vSAN and NSX platforms. SmartNICs make it possible to offload network and storage I/O function from a virtual server by enabling its ESXi hypervisor to run on a SmartNIC.
VMware also revealed plans to rearchitect VMware Cloud Foundation to enable disaggregation via SmartNICs that can be plugged into either a bare-metal server or a server running virtual machines from VMware. That capability will make it possible for applications to invoke bare-metal servers via an application programming interface (API) and will also enable VMware to extend its management framework to bare-metal servers that have SmartNICs installed.
The decoupling of networking, storage and security functions will also allow IT teams to patch and update IT infrastructure independently from the server running VMware vSphere.
VMware also noted that via Project Monterey each SmartNIC will be capable of running a stateful firewall along with other security software. IT teams will be able to enhance security by deploying thousands of firewalls on SmartNIC across the extended enterprise.
There is no timetable for when Project Monterey will be available. Chris Wolf, vice president for the Advanced Technology Group in the Office of the CTO at VMware, said SmartNICs will play a major role in enabling IT organizations to compose IT infrastructure either using graphical tools employed by IT administrators or via APIs programmatically invoked by DevOps teams.
Separately, VMware today also announced plans to update to its Virtual Cloud Network, a platform through which it bundles VMware NSX, VMware SD-WAN by Velocloud and VMware vRealize Network Insight in a single offering.
VMware is committing to bringing more automation, making available predictive analytics enabled by machine learning algorithms, increased virtual networking scale enabled by VMware NSX-T 3.1. VMware will double the scale of NSX Federation, add advanced routing and multicast capabilities based on APIs and add support for configuration tools based on open source Terraform tools.
Version 6.0 of vRealize Network Insight 6.0 will add assurance and verification capabilities as well as expanded support for VMware SD-WANs. VMware Edge Network Intelligence, meanwhile, adds a tool that applies artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize network performance.
VMware also announced that its Virtual Cloud Network platform can now support Kubernetes clusters.
In addition, VMware announced that VMware vRealize AI Cloud, a cloud service for optimizing application performance using machine learning algorithms, formerly known as Project Magma, is now available and that CloudHealth by VMware services has been extended to add support for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure along with tools for analyzing the security of workloads deployed on Google Cloud.
Finally, VMware is making a series of other security updates, including providing access to VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention, which combines NSX Distributed IDS/IPS with malware detection software and network traffic analysis (NTA) technologies acquired from Lastline Inc.
VMware is also committing to reselling a secure web gateway from Menlo Security as part of the VMware SD-WAN portfolio and formed an alliance with Zscaler to manage security as a service.
Finally, VMware today launched VMware Carbon Black Cloud Workload, which combines vulnerability reporting with workload hardening software for both legacy platform and microservices-based applications deployed on Kubernetes clusters.
VMware now has one of the broadest portfolios of offerings of any enterprise IT vendor. It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations are consuming all that software on top of VMware vSphere. However, for IT teams looking to reduce the number of vendors they need to engage VMware has become a compelling option.