This content is part of the Conference Coverage: VMware Explore 2023 news and conference coverage

VMware Explore on generative AI and multi-cloud innovation

VMware Explore 2023 kicked off with big announcements surrounding generative AI and multi-cloud innovation. Read up on the latest key updates and what this means for VMware.

This year's VMware Explore conference kicked off with a big announcement. In the keynote address Hock Tan, Broadcom CEO, announced that Broadcom would be investing $2 billion into VMware. Half of this money will be allocated to research and development. When you look at VMware's current R&D investment levels, this would add an additional 30% to its current R&D spending.

Since the acquisition's announcement in May 2022, many IT industry observers have speculated about what Broadcom intends for the future of VMware. Within the first 10 minutes of the event, VMware and Broadcom made it clear that the pace of innovation is not slowing down anytime soon.

As for the new technical innovations unveiled at this year's event, the announcements related to addressing multi-cloud chaos, application modernization, edge orchestration, HCI and vSAN storage and generative AI.

Some of those key announcements included the following:

  • VMware Private AI. VMware is entering the generative AI solution space with a focus on the most important factors in generative AI for enterprises such as privacy. Since the advent of ChatGPT, businesses have craved their own private version, one that uses their own data and that only their organization can use. According to VMware, Private AI is an architectural approach that will offer users a choice of open source and commercial AI solutions with integrated security. As a result, this offering will rely heavily on partners such as Nvidia and Hugging Face. While generative AI adoption is still new, it's clear that VMware has added its name to the list of key vendors that enterprises should consult prior to developing a generative AI strategy.
  • VSAN Max. VSAN Max is disaggregated vSAN storage that offers the same vSAN experience, but it enables capacity to scale independently of compute. As a result, capacity points can get much larger. VMware claims users can scale to up to 8.6 petabytes and 3.6 million IOPs per cluster. Although this level of scalability is valuable, I expect users to benefit from this design even in smaller environments. Some application licensing models can become cost prohibitive if an organization scales HCI environments with compute and storage tied together. This development is a huge win for vSAN and vSAN users.
  • VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator. Formerly known as VMware SASE Orchestrator, this new version is designed to provide enhanced orchestration capabilities and simplify edge management with a single console for compute infrastructure, networking and security. Edge applications and infrastructure continue to be growth areas. At scale, better solutions are needed to properly manage that application and infrastructure environment. VMware has an established history of simplifying disparate, distributed infrastructure environments, so I am excited to see how this solution evolves even further over time.&
  • Tanzu and CloudHealth. My colleague Paul Nashawaty addresses much of what's new with Tanzu in his blog on the event here.
  • VMware Cloud. VMware announced enhancements to VMware Cloud that combine VMware Cloud Foundation Software and VMware Cloud Services. According to VMware, part of the motivation for the initiative was to better serve organizations regardless of where they are in their cloud adoption journey. As a result, VMware offers VMware Cloud in five editions: Essentials, Standard, Pro, Advanced and Enterprise. Each of these has an increasingly impressive set of capabilities tailored to common requirements of VMware customers based on their current level of cloud maturity.

There is a lot to unpack in each of those additions. But at a high level, addressing the complexity of multi-cloud environments must be a top priority for organizations. To address what VMware calls multi-cloud chaos, businesses need to achieve consistency of experience across cloud environments. They need extensive services and capabilities that can simplify operations for IT, cloud and DevOps teams alike. VMware is one of the few firms that can effectively address the challenges of multi-cloud IT, and its continued innovation in this space is great for users and the industry.

With the Broadcom acquisition expected to close in just a few months, VMware is at a crossroads. Based on what we heard at VMware Explore, all signs point to a path of innovation. And an extra billion dollars for R&D will only serve to accelerate the development moving forward.

Both VMware and Broadcom understand the opportunities associated with addressing the complexity of cloud operations and app modernization in a multi-cloud world. With the added excitement of generative AI, the returns on these investments should only serve to facilitate even greater investment in the future. I, along with the rest of the industry, will be closely watching to see what happens next, but the path is there. They just have to take it.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.

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