Enterprises are keen on adopting a hybrid cloud environment, but hybrid models can get messy and pose some tough challenges.
Hybrid strategies often create additional complexities and silos:
- Some applications run on private cloud, on public cloud, or on-prem—and migration can be tricky and involve a lot of testing.
- Compatibility issues can arise as you start mixing multiple cloud and on-prem solutions, and interoperability is a work in progress.
- It can be challenging to bridge the gap between developers and IT operations when on-prem data centres are in the mix.
- Security, governance, and compliance are harder to navigate and difficult to enforce consistently across the entire enterprise.
VMware Cloud Foundation allows enterprises to design a hybrid strategy that reduces these complexities and unifies these often siloed components.
What is VMware Cloud Foundation?
VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) gives companies and organisations a simplified way to create an enterprise-level hybrid cloud environment. It allows you to deploy a cloudlike operating model, on-premise.
It combines a suite of software-defined services onto a single platform that you can deploy in an on-premises private cloud or as a service in a public cloud. It offers what we commonly call a Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC).
What are the components of VMware Cloud Foundation?
VMware Cloud Foundation consists of these following components:
- VMware Cloud Builder, which automates the deployment of the stack
- VMware SDDC Manager, which automates the entire lifecycle of the system, such as configuration, provisioning, upgrades, and patching
- VMware vSphere, for compute virtualisation
- VMware NSX-T, for network virtualisation
- VMware vSAN, for storage virtualisation
- VMware vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager, which is a purpose-built tool for managing automation
With VMware Cloud Foundation, you get a tightly integrated system that includes compute virtualisation, network virtualisation, storage virtualisation, and automation management. It also features built-in enterprise-class security.
What are the benefits of VMware Cloud Foundation?
VMware Cloud Foundation exists to help enterprises embrace the cloud without the typical limitations of most hybrid models.
Built-in security features
VMware Cloud Foundation provides enterprise-grade end-to-end security using micro-segmentation, distributed firewalls, compute-level encryption, and storage-level encryption for data at rest. This is important because many companies are wary of moving applications and databases to the public cloud.
Faster, simpler deployment
VMware makes it fast and easy to configure, upgrade, and patch. Processes that are usually time-consuming can be automated through the SDDC Manager.
Save on capital expenditures and operating expenses
VMware claims that you can save up to 45% compared to traditional approaches.
Compatibility and interoperability
VMware Cloud Foundation allows you to run any application in a public cloud without running into compatibility problems.
Run virtual machines and containers
You can run Kubernetes workloads natively on the hypervisor layer by integrating VMware Tanzu with Cloud Foundation. By integrating containers as a “first-class citizen” directly into the solution, VMware Cloud Foundation bridges the gap between IT services and developers.
Flexible deployment options
VMware Cloud Foundation is designed to be scalable and enable a true hybrid model. You can deploy it in your data centre, at the edge, at service providers, or in the public cloud. Since you now have the same software stack running on premises and your cloud option of choice, you finally get true consistency in operations and infrastructure.
Multiple consumption and licensing options (with SaaS option now available)
In October 2022, VMware Cloud Foundation launched version 4.5 and introduced new consumption and licensing options, including VCF+, the cloud-based licensing (SaaS) option. A VMware Switzerland solution architect explains, “VCF+ components are cloud entitled, metered, and billed. There are no licence keys in VCF+. Once the customer is onboarded to VCF+, the components are entitled from the cloud and periodically metered and billed.”
What companies are using VMware Cloud Foundation?
VMware Cloud Foundation has been deployed across multiple industries, including manufacturing, health care, universities, government, telecommunications, and information technology.
Public case studies exist for these companies and more:
- Schrack Seconet
- Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
- Statistics Netherlands
- Chungwa TElecom Co
These companies have reported the following positive outcomes:
- Reduced operational complexity
- Faster, more agile application development
- Faster time to market
- Leaner IT teams
- Stable and flexible IT operations
- Reliability and consistency
- Better ability to leverage containerisation
- Modern application architecture
- Scalable data centre infrastructure
- Secure workplace environment
- An easier, reliable way to adhere to compliance requirements
What else can I do with VMware Cloud Foundation?
The following are some ways you could utilise VMware cloud functions by yourself:
VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell VxBlock converged infrastructure
Dell VxBlock now supports VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu, which “helps customers quickly pivot to hybrid cloud backed by high-performance external array-based storage.”
By combining VCF 4.1 with Dell VxBlock System 1000, converged-infrastructure customers can deploy and manage their hybrid platform in an even more simple way, and at a lower risk.
VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure
VCF is now also compatible with Dell VxRail. This option provides a simple path to the hybrid cloud and Kubernetes, all while delivering turnkey user experience with full stack integration. Customers “experience both the HCI infrastructure layer and cloud software stack in one, complete, automated life cycle, turnkey experience.”
VMware Cloud on AWS
AWS has a strong partnership with VCF. Amazon provides a managed service that “combines compute, network and storage capabilities in a fully supported, ready-to-run service.”
As Vladan Seget explains in a 4sysops article, customers who want to run VCF on AWS get “high bandwidth and low-latency connectivity to AWS services.” Running VMware Cloud on AWS allows customers to handle regular spikes in business demand more cost-effectively in cloud (rather than buy additional hardware). This option also allows you to expand on-prem workloads through AWS while also using your current data centre.
Overall, VMware Cloud Foundation is a fast, flexible, failure-resistant way for enterprises to manage and operate a hybrid cloud strategy in an integrated, unified fashion.