Home Enterprise VMware Unveils Project Monterey

VMware Unveils Project Monterey

by Adam Armstrong
Project Monterey

Today VMware announced a new technology preview focused on evolving its architecture for the data center, cloud, and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications, Project Monterey. This new technology will extend VMware Cloud Foundation to support SmartNIC technology that will see a performance boost, better security, and more consistent operations in applications. VMware is working with several partners for solutions bases on Project Monterey including Intel, NVIDIA, and Pensando Systems and system companies Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Lenovo.

Today VMware announced a new technology preview focused on evolving its architecture for the data center, cloud, and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications, Project Monterey. This new technology will extend VMware Cloud Foundation to support SmartNIC technology that will see a performance boost, better security, and more consistent operations in applications. VMware is working with several partners for solutions bases on Project Monterey including Intel, NVIDIA, and Pensando Systems and system companies Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Lenovo.

Project Monterey

While there is a lot happening in the world at large that is changing the way users interact with technology, there are also several technological shifts on the horizon that have been a long time coming. These changes include 5G, next-gen apps, cloud-native, data-centric, machine learning, hybrid apps, and the continuing effect of AI. While all of the above is beneficial, dealing with it on the IT side of things is getting more challenging. Mainly, organizations are using some type of accelerator to offload some of the tax on the systems, namely GPUs, FPGAs, and NICs. This helps with the issue but creates separate problems like siloing, specialized skillsets, and higher TCO. Project Monterey aims to help with the above.

The three main ways Project Monterey will tackle next-gen apps are the following:

  • Support for SmartNICs: VMware is working to evolve VMware Cloud Foundation (vSphere, vSAN, and NSX) to support SmartNIC technology, also referred to as data processing units (DPUs)—a new architectural component that offloads processing tasks that the server CPU would normally handle. By supporting SmartNICs, VMware Cloud Foundation will be able to maintain compute virtualization on the server CPU while offloading networking and storage I/O functions to the SmartNIC CPU. This will allow applications to maximize the use of the available network bandwidth while saving server CPU cycles for top application performance. VMware has taken the first step of this evolution by enabling ESXi to run on SmartNICs.
  • Platform Re-architecture: VMware will rearchitect VMware Cloud Foundation to enable disaggregation of the server including extending support for bare metal servers. This will enable an application running on one physical server to consume hardware accelerator resources such as FPGAs from other physical servers. This will also enable physical resources to be dynamically accessed based on policy or via software API, tailored to the needs of the application. Additionally, because ESXi is running on the SmartNIC, organizations will be able to use a single management framework to manage all their compute infrastructure whether it be virtualized or bare metal. The decoupling of networking, storage, and security functions from the main server allows these functions to be patched and upgraded independently from the server.
  • Security: With Project Monterey, advancements in silicon further enable VMware to bring its vision for intrinsic security to life. Each SmartNIC is capable of running a fully- featured stateful firewall and advanced security suite. Since this will run in the NIC and not in the host, up to thousands of tiny firewalls will be able to be deployed and automatically tuned to protect the particular services that make up the application— wrapping each service with intelligent defenses that can shield any vulnerability of that specific service. This will enable a custom-built defense that will be able to be automatically tuned and deployed across tens of thousands of application services.

The initiative is all about agility and flexibility to allow customers to adapt their data center, cloud, or edge environments to meet the needs of new technology without giving up performance, availability, or security. Project Monterey will extend VMware infrastructure and operations for all applications, which should reduce complexity as well as TCO. VMware states that its VMware’s Cloud Provider Partners will be able to deploy a more secure multi-tenant cloud environment where they host their customers. Telcos, for example, can use the initiative to build highly-efficient fully-virtualized 5G infrastructure.

Availability

Project Monterey is a technology preview, and therefore we don’t know when VMware will release more details.

VMware

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