VMware has unveiled its vision of how it plans to help customers navigate the shift to the edge.
The company also introduced VMware Edge, a product portfolio to enable organisations to run, manage, and secure edge-native apps across multiple clouds, anywhere.
"A new type of workload is emerging, edge-native apps that must run at the edge to perform as intended. AR and VR, connected vehicles, and immersive gaming are becoming mainstream," says VMware senior VP and general manager, Service Provider and Edge, Sanjay Uppal.
"5G has made the use of collaborative robots, drone fleets and digital twins a reality. VMware delivers a trusted foundation, a multi-cloud edge, to help organisations move forward in the new edge reality."
VMware defines the edge as a distributed digital infrastructure for running workloads across many locations, close to users and devices producing and consuming data.
The location of a workload at the edge is key to meeting the requirements of edge-native apps. An edge-native workload placed anywhere between the cloud and the remote customer location and delivered as a service is called the near edge, while an edge-native workload placed at a remote customer location at the closest proximity to the endpoints is called the far edge.
VMware says edge-native apps require a multi-cloud edge that stitches together underlay services running on a service provider network (e.g., private connectivity, carrier 5G, network slicing) with overlay services delivered on top (e.g., SASE) and a compute services abstraction for the edge applications. All orchestrated by a management plan that provides consistent observability, installation, configuration, operations and management across edge locations.
VMware Edge brings together products from across VMware to enable organisations to run, manage and better secure edge-native apps across multiple clouds at both near edge and far edge locations. The solutions are designed for edge-native apps and their unique performance and latency requirements.
VMware Edge solutions include:
- VMware Edge Compute Stack, unveiled at VMworld 2021, is a purpose-built, integrated VM and container-based stack to enable organisations to modernise and secure edge-native apps at the far edge. VMware Edge Compute Stack will be available in Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise editions. VMware also has plans to develop a lightweight version of VMware Edge Compute Stack to provide an extremely thin edge for lightweight apps.
- VMware SASE combines SD-WAN capabilities with cloud-delivered security functions, including cloud web security, Zero Trust network access, and firewalling. These capabilities are delivered as-a-service across both the near and far edge locations from a global network of points of presence.
- VMware Telco Cloud Platform has been delivering near edge solutions to the largest communication service providers in the world, from their 4G/5G core to the radio access network.
"Many transformational technologies, 5G, SASE and open RAN, among others, are converging at the edge," says IDC Research VP, Cloud and Edge Infrastructure Services, Dave McCarthy.
"Now is the time for organisations to establish a digital foundation for their edge infrastructure. With its leadership in multi-cloud and modern apps, VMware is uniquely positioned to deliver a comprehensive set of solutions that help its customers drive business continuity, agility and create competitive differentiation at the edge."
VMware has key partnerships across the broad edge ecosystem to deliver seamlessly integrated solutions to customers. Its broad partner ecosystem spans public cloud providers, service providers, edge-native app developers, network services providers, system integrators, network equipment providers, near-edge hardware manufacturers, and far edge hardware manufacturers.
"The edge is rapidly becoming a more significant part of enterprise IT and is essential to customers' data-driven transformations," says Dell Technologies senior VP, Edge Computing, Gil Shneorson.
"The key to edge success is extending trusted and integrated infrastructure to the edge, so operational technologies can be efficiently deployed, managed and supported."
"Working with partners like VMware, we help our customers tackle their edge deployments with products and solutions designed to be easily scaled and managed across a hybrid cloud so that customers can derive the most value from their data," he says.
Similarly, VMware Edge Compute Stack will run on top of Lenovo's ThinkSystem SE350 Edge Servers. The integrated solution, previously announced by Lenovo, is ideal for remote sites that need to process data closer to its creation and closer to users, including retail stores, manufacturing sites, and schools.
Charles Ferland, VP and general manager, Edge Computing - Telecom at Lenovo, says they are delighted to share a common vision on edge computing with VMware.
"The VMware edge cloud platform is perfectly designed to deliver services where users need them, at the edge. Combined with Lenovo's rugged and secure ThinkSystem SE350 server, our mutual customers can receive preloaded systems directly at their edge sites."