VMworld 2021: The future of multi-cloud technology

With more businesses leveraging the multi-cloud, VMware Cross-Cloud Services to deliver freedom, flexibility and security for customers across any cloud.
6 October 2021

A multi-cloud framework was a big focus today at VMworld 2021, VMware’s annual showcase of products and solutions aimed at digitally transforming businesses. Part of the multi-cloud focus is because businesses want to leverage different capabilities by different cloud providers. But aligning these capabilities across the multi-cloud environment can be quite challenging, and this is where VMware wants to step in.

VMware announced several new releases to its portfolio at VMworld 2021. The biggest announcement was the introduction of VMware Cross-Cloud Services, which aims to help businesses navigate the multi-cloud era.

In his keynote address, VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram highlighted how the pandemic has accelerated businesses to move from a single cloud provider to a multi-cloud strategy. Today, organizations want to select cloud services based on their apps and business demands, transform the data center and push services on the edge, wherever they are needed.

For Raghuram, there are two main drivers towards multi-cloud for businesses. They want the freedom to innovate the best services from different cloud providers and do not want to be locked into them for lengthy periods either.

Today, the average organization is running roughly 500 apps to drive their business, and those apps are distributed across clouds. 75% of VMware customers are relying on two or more public clouds, and 40% are using three or more.  This multi-cloud approach increases app velocity and innovation and allows organizations to be much more agile and resilient.

The use of multi-cloud does not apply to large organizations. It also includes sovereign clouds and service providers who are accelerating the move to 5G.

Despite this, there are still some challenges faced when using the multi-cloud. This includes the diverse workloads, different tools, and systems for each cloud. Businesses want a cloud service that is comfortable to use, and easy to optimize for internal ops. They want to manage workloads on the multi-cloud seamlessly.

“Every business should have freedom and control in their multi-cloud business,” said Raghuram. And this is exactly what VMware Cross-Cloud services enable. Businesses are enabled to go faster by accelerating their cloud transition journeys, spend less as a result of bigger gains in cost efficiency, and are free to maximize flexibility and choice across any cloud environment.

Businesses can have greater flexibility on the multi-cloud with VMware Cross-Cloud Services, as revealed at VMworld 2021

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram. Source: VMware

VMware Cross-Cloud at VMworld 2021

VMware Cross-Cloud services expand the capabilities of VMware’s product range for a multi-cloud world, and will allow businesses to pick and choose the services needed on the desired cloud to meet evolving business demands. VMware Cross-Cloud Services is comprised of five core building blocks which are:

  • A state-of-the-art platform for building and deploying cloud-native apps.
  • Cloud infrastructure for operating and running enterprise apps.
  • Cloud management for monitoring and managing the performance and cost of apps across different clouds.
  • Security and networking that spans across entire multi-cloud operations; to connect and better secure all apps.
  • A digital workspace to empower the distributed workforce along with edge solutions to deploy and manage edge-native apps.

Apart from that, VMware also announced a variety of innovations that span VMware Cross-Cloud services, including:

  • Cloud Infrastructure and Management: Unveiling new multi-cloud innovations such as Project Arctic and Project Ensemble to help customers move to the cloud faster and more safely, accelerate app modernization, and adopt a cloud operating model.
  • Apps: Introducing advancements in the VMware Tanzu portfolio to provide developers with the autonomy to build and deploy apps on any cloud.
  • Edge: Introducing VMware Edge, a product portfolio that will enable customers to run and manage edge-native apps across multiple clouds, anywhere.
  • Security and Networking: Announcing new security innovations to deliver end-to-end zero trust architecture inside and across cloud and app environments.

“VMware Cross-Cloud gives you the power to make your own decision and control your destiny. Businesses will have enterprise sovereignty. It speaks at a higher level about preserving your freedom of choice, now and future. It gives you freedom and control to drive the business forward in the multi-cloud era,” said Raghuram.

The demand for edge applications on the multi-cloud 

Speaking at a media conference after his VMworld 2021 keynote, Raghuram explained further some of the use case examples in which the multi-cloud can benefit businesses in the next stage of their digital transformation, especially on the edge.

As many businesses are now looking at how they can blend interactions with their customers and between the physical world with the digital world. For example in retail, businesses are looking to cashier-less stores. These stores require a lot of computing power, AI for inferencing and more which leads the brand to look for new applications on the edge.

In the manufacturing sector, businesses are looking at new levels of automation which are driven by the need to be contactless due to the pandemic. In logistics, they are looking at how they can rethink the supply chain with new technologies.

As every industry has a new set of applications emerging, this is a big driver for edge native applications. Raghuram believes that VMware Cross-Cloud services provide the right tools needed for businesses to achieve this.

At the same time, with the remote workforce seemingly a new reality for most organizations, securing and managing devices will be key for business continuity. And Raghuram believes the best place to do this is on the edge of the network.

With VMware Edge, businesses will be able to run, manage, and better secure edge-native apps across multiple clouds at both ‘near edge’ and ‘far edge’ locations. VMware Edge solutions are designed for edge-native apps, and their unique performance and latency requirements.

Despite several other announcements at VMworld 2021, the advancements in the multi-cloud — particularly in enabling businesses to have a seamless integrated approach within multiple clouds and access to more solutions and capabilities — establishes the point that the multi-cloud is indeed the future for businesses to leverage on.