VMware Unveils Project Monterey at VMWorld
Last week at VMWorld 2020, VMWare unveiled - a technology preview focused on evolving its architecture for the data center, cloud and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications including AI, machine learning and 5G applications.
VMWorld took place, an annual event, took place virtually for the first time from the 29th September to the 1st of October.
VMware also announced that it is collaborating with an ecosystem partners to deliver flexible, integrated solutions. VMware is collaborating with Intel, NVIDIA and Pensando to leverage their respective SmartNIC technologies as part of Project Monterey while Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo will deliver integrated systems based on Project Monterey.
“Organisations are introducing increasingly sophisticated applications from cloud-native to machine learning to streaming apps that are distributed and data intensive,” said Rajiv Ramaswami, VMWare COO of products and cloud services for VMware. “We’re announcing Project Monterey to help customers address the shifting requirements of next-gen apps. By re-imagining the architecture of the data center, cloud and edge, we expect to offer customers the freedom to run these apps in the best environment.”
Addressing Next-Gen App Challenges
According to Sanjay Poonen, VMWare's COO of Customer Operations, ICT customers are going to live in a multi-cloud world. This is already the case today: VMWare estimated that greater than two-thirds of their customers already use multi-clouds.
As organisations modernize existing apps and deploy news ones, traditional IT architectures are being stretched to meet their unique requirements. Next-generation apps spanning 5G transformation, cloud native, data-centric, machine learning, multi-cloud and hybrid apps distributed across environments have produced new challenges for IT organisations, impacting performance.
Many organisations have therefore adopted specialised systems with hardware accelerators such as graphics processing units (GPUs), field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and network interface cards (NICs) with offloading to support the performance and security needs of new apps to address these challenges. These accelerators have improved performance but led to siloed teams, specialized skills, increased total cost of ownership and introduced new levels of complexity and security requirements.
VMWare said that will provide support for SmartNICs: VMware is evolving VMware Cloud Foundation (VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX) to support SmartNIC technology (also referred to as data processing units or DPUs), a new architectural component that offloads processing tasks that the server CPU would normally handle. By supporting SmartNICs, VMware Cloud Foundation will be able to maintain compute virtualization on the server CPU while offloading networking and storage I/O functions to the SmartNIC CPU. This will allow applications to maximize the use of the available network bandwidth while saving server CPU cycles for top application performance. VMware has taken the first step of this evolution by enabling VMware ESXi to run on SmartNICs.
It will also provide platform re-architecture: VMware will rearchitect VMware Cloud Foundation to enable disaggregation of the server including extending support for bare metal servers. This will enable an application running on one physical server to consume hardware accelerator resources such as FPGAs from other physical servers. This will also enable physical resources to be dynamically accessed based on policy or via software API, tailored to the needs of the application. The decoupling of networking, storage, and security functions from the main server allows these functions to be patched and upgraded independently from the server.
Paul Perez, SVP and CTO, Infrastructure Solutions Group of Dell Technologies said: “We believe the enterprise of the future will comprise a disaggregated and composable environment. Working closely with VMWare on Project Monterey, using SmartNIC technology, together we are one step closer to delivering the next level of performance, consistent operations and intrinsic security required in next-generation infrastructure across edge, core and cloud locations.”
Thirdly, Project Monterey will enable VMWare to further deliver on its vision for intrinsic security. Each SmartNIC is capable of running a fully-featured stateful firewall and advanced security suite. Since this will run in the NIC and not in the host, up to thousands of tiny firewalls will be able to be deployed and automatically tuned to protect specific application services that make up the application—wrapping each service with intelligent defenses that can shield any vulnerability of that specific service. This will enable a custom-built defense that can be automatically tuned and deployed across tens of thousands of application services. Additionally, Project Monterey will enable enterprises or service providers supporting multiple tenants to isolate tenants from the core infrastructure.
The fourth benefit is that Project Monterey will enable organizations to adapt data centre, cloud or edge environments for application-specific performance, availability and security needs. The initiative will also extend VMWare infrastructure and operations for all applications—reducing the need for specialized systems, teams and management tools—which in turn will be able to reduce overall complexity and TCO.
VMWare noted that globally, telcos are increasingly leveraging the VMWare Telco Cloud platform to virtualize and containerize their 5G network deployments. Project Monterey will help them further accelerate their build out of highly-efficient fully-virtualized 5G infrastructure that will be essential to deliver the advanced, innovative services expected on 5G networks.
Poonen emphasised that Project Monterey is a technology preview and VMware is not announcing its availability at that time. He added that the project had been ongoing for years, and we will likely see the full realisation of its offering in a couple more years.
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