Conquering Tech Mayhem À La Mode: Using the VMware Cloud Foundation as the Universal Workload Platform

Technological modernity, though abundant with promises of speed, performance, and agility, is not without its complexity. Often, enterprises must contend with a wide array of vendors, tools, platforms, and solutions that—though they each promise some sort of tangible boon—form a messy conglomerate that can cause more harm than good.

The VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) stands as a comprehensive, multi-cloud platform that provides a full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) designed for modernizing data centers and deploying modern container-based applications in the wake of complete tech mayhem à la mode.

VMware by Broadcom experts joined DBTA’s webinar, The Value of VMware Cloud Foundation as the Universal Workload Platform, to examine the various nuances that position VCF as the premiere platform for modernization that combines the powers of several elements: vSphere, NSX, vSAN, and Aria.

Offering webinar viewers some proprietary context, Rick Walsworth, senior manager, product line marketing at VMware by Broadcom, explained that the emergence of the VCF was due to the need for automation and orchestration as part of the core VMware platform. Now, it acts as a “central focus for strategic enterprise customers within VMware by Broadcom,” said Walsworth.

Using VCF, as opposed to simply deploying vSphere and building out a system with best-of-breed components, demonstrates a unique value prop: Automation. Without VCF, organizations lack the automation capabilities necessary for external storage, networking, and more. Having all  these components work cohesively as a platform, backed by a software-defined system running on standardized x86 hardware, empowers enterprises to take advantage of both customer-managed environments and hyperscaler advancements.

Oleg Ulyanov, technical marketing lead at VMware by Broadcom, extended the conversation around the value of VCF as it relates to NSX, the networking component of VCF that radically eases networking with vSphere. NSX allows customers to integrate all  the capabilities of VCF into a single deployment, independent from the networking component.

“NSX helps you to create a layer of network abstraction that is facilitating your network connectivity within the stack itself, without necessarily…being dependent on your existing network configuration,” said Ulyanov.

NSX also allows organizations to integrate their existing networking, making VCF a formidable choice in network management within the VCF stack while maintaining the current network infrastructure.

Moving onto the significance of vSAN, Pete Koehler, product marketing engineer in the VMware Cloud Foundation division at VMware by Broadcom, explained that vSAN is a fully distributed storage solution built into VCF that introduces a new type of architecture, dubbed the full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

HCI refers to the notion of having storage resources aggregated into the same hosts that are providing CPU and memory resources for those workloads. vSAN, accompanied by its advancements in architecture, comes to stand as the premiere storage platform for VCF, according to Koehler.

Business-critical applications often require high performance storage to enable fast, reliable application delivery. To accommodate this pervasive demand, vSAN introduced a new architecture that radically redefined VCF’s ability to support intensive workloads.

“We’ve always strived, here at VMware, to continually drive…[and] improve the performance of vSAN,” said Koehler. “About 18 months ago or so, we had a really revolutionary change to vSAN…known as the introduction of the Express Storage Architecture, or ESA.”

ESA is “built using high-speed, NVME-based flash storage devices so that it can provide all new levels of storage performance and new and interesting capabilities for the customers…it's the combination of these things that’s allowed many of our customers…to revisit what Express Storage Architecture can do for them in their environment, especially in their top tier workloads.”

Dominic Uliano, director, SAP Global Alliance at VMware by Broadcom, explored the crucial relationship between VCF and SAP. He explained that using VCF for SAP comes down to three core pillars:

  • Imagining VCF as the singular platform for SAP, simplifying consumption of VCF for SAP HANA
  • Driving innovation across SAP supporting the latest Intel processors, adapting new SAP AI capabilities for VCF, and aligning licensing models
  • Balancing TCO with SAP’s mature innovations through VCF

Outside of SAP, according to Sudhir Balasubramanian, senior staff solution architect and global Oracle field practice lead at VMware by Broadcom, VCF—and more specifically, vSphere—has become the platform of choice for enterprise apps because of VMware’s deep, time-tested industry knowledge.

When it comes to modern app’s rigid requirements—ranging from SLA and compliance adherence to needs for high availability and disaster recovery (DR)—VCF allows organizations to seamlessly and transparently adapt to the latest and greatest of industry trends. VCF acts as a one-stop shop to run any business critical, mission critical workloads with its abundance of capabilities.

Aria—previously known as VROps, the metrics, collection, and performance analysis tool of VCF—particularly helps DBAs, according to Balasubramanian. Unlike other tools, such as Oracle’s OEM, Aria offers an entirely comprehensive set of metrics—including hypervisor-level, storage, and network metrics—from application to the OS, virtual machine, storage layer, and more.

“Think of it as a large, 80-inch TV where essentially you are able to see real-time metrics from every layer of the stack…[which] makes it very easy for any kind of performance tuning or troubleshooting,” said Balasubramanian.

For the full roundtable webinar that covers a wide breadth of information about VCF, you can view an archived version of the webinar here.