VMware announces data centre as a service offering

The service was previously known as ‘Project Dimension’

VMware has formally announced its data centre-as-a-service offering, allowing customers to deploy on-premise infrastructure on a subscription basis, completely managed by VMware.

Previously teased at VMworld last year under the codename 'Project Dimension', the service was unveiled at Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas, and is officially known as VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.

The offering will consist of pre-packaged bundles consisting of VMware's vShere, vSAN and NSX management products, running on three or more of Dell EMC's VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure nodes, along with two switches and SD-WAN appliances, as well as an uninterruptible power supply.

The product offers cloud-like deployment models, not just in terms of pricing, but also with regard to deployment and management. Customers can order new infrastructure capacity via an API call or via the VMware Cloud management console, and Dell EMC will construct, deliver, install and configure it.

Not only that, but VMware will fully manage the infrastructure from that point on, monitoring for performance issues, applying patches and upgrades on the customer's behalf and automatically deploying a Dell EMC engineer in the event of hardware problems.

Customers will pay a single monthly price based on the number of hosts per rack, with no added charges for support or services. Software and hardware fees are also included in the cost.

"You have the agility with the hands-off simplicity of the public cloud, while retaining that predictable and controlled environment of your own data center, delivered as a fully managed solution by Dell Technologies," VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger explained in a keynote speech.

"Also, we are responsible for doing software patching, upgrading and lifecycle management. We take care of that, as well as the hardware service upgrade and firmware management, as well. And it's fully bought as a purchase subscription, just like you would a cloud service. It's just your on premise hardware, your environment, in your datacenter or branch."

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC falls under the umbrella of the newly-launched Dell Technologies Cloud brand, a subset of the company's portfolio that aims to use VMware as a consistent management and infrastructure layer for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail - which was announced at VMworld last year and started shipping last month - also comes under this banner. This, by contrast, uses a more traditional VMware deployment model, and is managed by the customer.

"In going for the future there will be additional routes," said Tom O'Reilly, Dell EMC's EMEA field CTO for cloud, converged and hyperconverged infrastructure, "so we'll have not just VxRail but we'll have converged infrastructure that can be delivered on premise, we'll have bundles and ready solutions that can deliver it, if you don't want to go with a converged or hyperconverged experience. So we'll have multiple routes to deliver Dell Technologies Cloud, but the experience, the software layer, the operational and management experience, will be consistent across all these."

Dell has been a major proponent of the multi-cloud model, so unsurprisingly, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC also allows customers to manage their VMware workloads in the public cloud, migrating them between public and private as necessary. This will also include Azure workloads, following the announcement that Microsoft was introducing native support for the full range of VMware capabilities on Azure.

This new service dovetails with Dell's new Unified Workspace service, which offers a comprehensive endpoint management suite for customers, spanning the initial ordering and configuration process all the way up to patching and ongoing support.

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is currently available in beta, with full US availability scheduled for the second half of this year. While no timeline has been given for European availability, O'Reilly told Virtual Clouds that the region will be next in line after North America.

"The way Dell EMC divides the world is into different tiers of countries," he said, "and Northern Europe is tier one. So, this will be the first to get it outside of the US."

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