VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5 – What’s coming?

VCF 3.0 went GA only this Sept ’18 (see my previous article) and at #VMworld Europe 2018 this week VMware announced the next big release of Cloud Foundation, now at version 3.5

So what’s new? Latest and greatest versions for all components, please note that bill of material might change since 3.5 hasn’t GA yet !

Cloud Foundation 3.5 Building Blocks

Composable Infrastructure

Cloud Foundation 3.5 Composable Infrastructure Diagram

Please note HPE at the moment it’s the only “composable certified” solution.

Composable infrastructure refers to an additional APIs translation layer implemented between SDDC Manager and the resources underneath (compute, storage and network interfaces). This it’s an API layer based on the DMTF Redfish toolkit running on HP OneView. In essence it allows to  dynamically “compose” and “decompose” resources. SDDC Manager on 3.5 it’s the main user interface (as per diagram) as opposed to version 3.0 which has two management user interfaces.

At a high level they way this works is:

  • OneView is deployed in your enviroment and is managing your pool of resources (compute, SAN, local storage, network, etc…)
  • A “composable translation layer” endpoint is added into SDDC Manager
  • Resources are presented into SDDC Manager UI 
  • Requests to compose servers can be submitted from SDDC Manager

Why this? Well, having a translation layer it’s a way to standardize API calls (the interface) whilst maintaining greater implementation flexibility. It would also be partner agnostic, meaning SDDC Manager wouldn’t care what hardware vendor you have in your pool. So as I said currently HPE is the only vendor supporting this model however I fully expect Dell EMC to be included in this list soon-ish. Why am I saying this? Well they’ve talking about Composable Infrastructure for some time already. Reference to the following articles:

Composable Infrastructure Today and Tomorrow dated 23 June 2017

and I’m quoting from https://blog.dellemc.com/en-us/making-composability-kinetic/

“Many vendors have advocated a “composable solution”…

Kinetic infrastructure is a term we are introducing that defines true composability. It brings the benefits of a modular design but extends the flexibility of configuration down to the individual storage device and, in the future, all the way to memory centric devices (DRAM, storage class memory, GPUs, FPGAs…). A kinetic infrastructure enables the ability to assign the right resources for the right workload and to change dynamically as business needs change.

Introducing Kinetic Infrastructure

Source https://blog.dellemc.com/en-us/making-composability-kinetic/ 

At VMworld US 2018 Dell EMC announced the PowerEdge MX, which it’s the first composable infrastructure – more at https://blog.dellemc.com/en-us/announcing-poweredge-mx. Quoting:

This purposeful design makes PowerEdge MX ready to support fully disaggregated components, down to memory-centric devices such as storage class memory, GPUs and FPGAs, to offer full composability.

So I can’t wait to find out what Dell EMC and VMware have been secretly working on 🙂

NFS Storage

You can now add NFS v3.0 shares to a workload domain from SDDC Manager, so it isn’t vSAN only anymore.

NSX-T Support

NSX-T on VVD has been in “work in progress” for some time by now, in May 2018 a draft copy of VMware Validated Design for NSX-T in a Workload Domain was published so we all knew this was coming 🙂
On VCF 3.5 you can now decide which type of NSX (T or V) to assign to a workload domain. Of course this goes without saying I’m fully expecting to see Kubernetes running alongside pretty soon so the world of container orchestration opens up here! Watch out for this space!

Deployment Types

Cloud Foundation 3.0.x is for greenfield deployments only and it’s not possible to migrate from VCF 2.3.x

My guess here it’s that VCF 3.5 will provide support for brownfield environments as well a migration path form the 2.x releases. We shall wait for 3.5 to GA and we’ll see.

Last but not least, expect some news coming soon for VVD on Rail and Cloud Foundation 😉

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