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

VMware revamps cloud software for edge management

VMware's new Edge Cloud Orchestrator, formerly VMware SASE Orchestrator, manages VMware's edge compute and SD-WAN systems. Carmaker Audi plans to use the product in its factories.

VMware has introduced orchestration software for its edge computing platform, as many enterprises run IoT, AI, 4G and 5G applications at the network's edge to boost overall performance.

The company launched the VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (VECO) on Tuesday, the opening day of the VMware Explore conference in Las Vegas. VECO, formerly VMware SASE Orchestrator, manages VMware's secure access service edge and edge compute stack (ECS) within a single console.

VMware's latest edge technology targets a computing market expected to reach $208 billion this year, a 13.1% increase from 2022, according to IDC. By 2026, spending on edge computing will reach nearly $317 billion.

"VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator is a critical new product," said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president of VMware's edge and service provider business unit, in a pre-show media briefing.

VMware built a version of ECS for applications on small-scale VMs or containers within a partner's hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) system. VMware SASE Orchestrator is the central management platform for the company's software-defined WAN; VMware's SD-WAN is a cloud-delivered network service that includes security and access to applications running on private and public clouds.

The vendor combined the two technologies under one orchestration console, VECO, to attract edge-focused industries, including energy, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.

"[VECO] allows for the ability to use a common set of management tools, reducing the need to learn a new set and potentially addressing the skill gap issues at the edge," said Paul Nashawaty, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.

German carmaker Audi plans to use VMware's ECS with VECO for its Edge Cloud 4 Production (EC4P), an IT-based method for factory automation, Uppal said. Audi started using the system last month at its Böllinger Höfe plant in Germany.

Audi's EC4P system uses Cisco's HyperFlex HCI with VMware software. Eventually, EC4P will replace the industrial PCs used to run the software that powers Audi's factory robots and analytics, said Henning Löser, senior manager of the Audi Production Lab, in a recent interview.

Audi launched EC4P in response to plans to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, which allowed for better security, Löser said. Also, Audi expects EC4P to simplify the factory floor changes needed for producing electric vehicles.

"If this works, this opens a way to a really software-driven production," Löser said. "That means the minds of the people programming is the limit, [not the hardware]."

Private mobile networks as a service

Also at Explore, VMware launched an enterprise version of its private mobile network (PMN) software for 4G/5G connectivity for edge applications.

Wireless service providers deploy PMN software on ECS to offer it as a managed service. The new enterprise version lets companies deploy PMN as a service that includes cloud-based management and a 4G/5G core, the central piece of a mobile network.

Enterprises would have to license the radio access network from a technology provider; RAN is the system that provides the radio link to connect mobile phones, computers or remotely controlled devices to the network.

Antone Gonsalves is networking news director for TechTarget Editorial. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. Have a news tip? Please drop him an email.

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