VMware expands hybrid cloud strategy with series of announcements at VMworld

VMware, the company that gave rise to the virtual machine concept in the enterprise data center, announced a series of products and services today at VMworld in Las Vegas that show a company clearly shifting to managing hybrid environments.

The hybrid strategy really began to gain momentum last year when the company forged agreements with the top public cloud vendors including Microsoft, Google and IBM, and most importantly, market leader AWS. This showed that VMware finally understood that the best way forward wasn’t to try and forge its own public cloud product, which it tried and failed, or to fight the public cloud. It was a recognition that most established enterprise companies were probably not going to be all on-prem or all in the public cloud, but a mix of the two for some time into the future.

Today’s announcements at VMworld are about extending that strategy and offering customers a stack of tools to help manage their hybrid cloud world. The partnerships with the public vendors last year were a big part of laying the groundwork for what they presenting today.

The approach could work, at least for the foreseeable future as the industry shift to cloud computing has happened much more slowly than many (including me) would have anticipated. Companies working in a hybrid world face a myriad of challenges around areas like networking, security and policy management across environments, says Chris Wolf, CTO at VMware, and his company is lining up to help with a set of products designed to manage the complexity of a hybrid approach.

This includes the new VMware Discover product, which is designed to give IT insight into all of the applications and services being used across the company with the idea of providing some control over what’s happening across its networks and in the public cloud (with or without its knowledge). This could be used in conjunction with VMware Cost Insight to more closely monitor the costs of these services.

In addition, there is a new security product called VMware AppDefense, which is designed to help understand the normal state of the network, then report on anomalous behavior. There is a cloud-based network monitoring tool called VMware Network Insight that helps set consistent network and security policies across applications in the public cloud and on-prem, while VMware NSX Cloud is a cloud service for managing traffic across the public clouds and a software defined data center. Finally, the company has an analytics service to supply detailed insight into performance across environments.

While none of these tools are ground-breaking by any means, they give VMware a comprehensive set of solutions for customers to manage their hybrid environments, and continue the shift from their core virtual machine roots.

Keep in mind, they are hardly alone in coming up with this approach. This is a similar strategy being employed by other legacy vendors including IBM, HPE, Red Hat and corporate parent Dell/EMC — VMware is an independent, publicly traded entity that is part of the Dell/EMC federation.