VMware eyes hyperconverged model for private clouds

Cumulus Networks to provide switch OS for EVO software-defined data center


VMworld 2015 With VMware planting its flag in the burgeoning hyperconverged market in a four-way deal with Cumulus Networks, Dell, and Quanta Cloud Technology, The Register speaks to Cumulus.

The integration, announced today at VMworld 2015, marks a “validation” for Cumulus, according to VP of business Reza Malekzadeh, as well as opening up a new front in the hyper-converged battle for VMware.

The announcement itself is straightforward: a top-to-bottom integration between VMware (via its EVO SDDC), Dell, and Quanta as the switch vendors, and Cumulus Networks as the switch OS vendor on the metal.

Malekzadeh told The Register's networking desk that the idea is to let VMware provide a single admin interface for managing compute, storage, and networking.

“In the past, you would manage the hypervisor one way and the network another way,” Malekzadeh said. For example, the people in charge of running up VMware instances in vCenter or vRealize would have to raise a ticket with network admins to get the VLANs they need.

That approach brings two operational overheads, he pointed out: the cost, and the time it takes for someone to create the network configuration.

With VMware stitching things together, he said, whether the customer is using Dell or Quanta switches, they'll have the “same experience,” meaning “you get a rack that's easier to configure, and you get your private cloud much faster.”

“The operating system for the switch becomes invisible,” he said.

To achieve this, VMware is providing a layer called the hardware management system that interfaces with different underlying OSs.

In the Cumulus network environment, the hardware management system writes to Linux APIs for switch management.

The Linux northbound API is simple for VMware, Malekzadeh said, and with Cumulus Linux providing the southbound interface, “one integration means VMware gets two hardware vendors as part of the relationship.”

“Because of the way this is architected, VMware could easily work with more hardware providers,” he added. “As long as they abide by the bill of materials, the suite can run on top of it – so it's a model that can grow.” ®


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