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New software-defined data center products were released at VMworld this year to a variety of reviews. Among the excitement, skepticism from users and industry experts clouded the hype.
VMware's EVO:RAIL offers SDDC option
VMware increased its push for a software-defined data center (SDDC) at VMworld 2014. Previously called MARVIN and Mystic, VMware's hyper-converged infrastructure, EVO:RAIL, offers options to small business IT organizations.
Industry experts raved about EVO:RAIL's pre-packaged integration, and seemed unconcerned about the initial cost, expecting EVO:RAIL to cut costs in the future. And Twitter was chirping about EVO:RAIL after its VMworld release.
IT pros liked EVO:RAIL's HTML5 inclusion, which eliminates the need for plug-ins and flash; the user interface works on all devices.
But EVO:RAIL left some wondering if it will actually improve hardware management. Network administrators question the safety of managing a VMware tool as opposed to managing the hardware device.
VMware also introduced EVO:RACK, a hyper-converged infrastructure with a future release date.
IT uncertain of multi-cloud management
Not everything at VMworld was met with applause. VMware's vRealize Suite has experts questioning its success.
VMware's latest offering groups together existing management software: IT Business Management Suite, vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Operations Management Suite and vCenter Log Insight, among others. The vRealize Suite allows vCloud Suite to manage KVM and Microsoft's Hyper-V virtual machines and workloads hosted on Amazon Web Services, OpenStack and eventually Microsoft Azure.
But experts are concerned about deployment complexity, questioning if the vRealize Suite will ease the process of creating and managing a hybrid cloud. IT requires an experienced team to set up and use the myriad tools involved.
VMware pushes towards a SDDC
Should IT shops move toward software-defined data centers and away from hardware-oriented facilities?
VMware NSX 6.1, the latest version of its network virtualization platform, increases the data center virtualization team's control over network and security functions.
New NSX features focus on micro-segmentation to prevent breaches and save costs. VMware's micro-segmentation prevents hackers from breaching data center networks, containing attacks rather than trying to enforce a perimeter firewall. Micro-segmentation shatters the norm of too much security around the perimeter and little firewalling inside the facility.
Experts speculate that interest in micro-segmentation and security will continue to increase, even after the hype of VMworld dissipates.
Also in the mix is a Layer 2 VPN service, which allows admins to spin up a developer network in software using the same IP-addressable machines as a production network, and Equal Cost Multi-Path edge clusters, a high-bandwidth uplink connection from the virtual to the physical network.
SDDCs call upon CI
Dell, Nutanix, Cisco and VMware are all jumping on the converged infrastructure (CI) bandwagon, offering new products to expand their stake in the SDDC market.
Focus has shifted from hardware to the software-driven commodity design of converged infrastructure, forcing hardware suppliers to provide equipment that emphasizes emerging Web-based software. But just because software is stressed doesn't mean hardware is less important; reliability and quality are paramount for underlying hardware.
On-premises converged infrastructures offer a key advantage. Organizations of all sizes are more comfortable having servers, storage and networking in-house. Organizations that implement CI have one vendor to work with, making a secure cloud-based environment and supporting applications.
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