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VMware, Inc. has announced Project Monterey—a technology preview focused on evolving its architecture for the data center, cloud and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications including AI, machine learning and 5G applications.

Globally, telcos are increasingly leveraging the VMware Telco Cloud platform to virtualize and containerize their 5G network deployments. Project Monterey will help them further accelerate their buildout of highly-efficient fully-virtualized 5G infrastructure that will be essential to deliver the advanced, innovative services expected on 5G networks.

VMware is also announcing that it is collaborating with ecosystem partners to deliver solutions based on Project Monterey including Intel, NVIDIA and Pensando Systems and system companies Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo.

“Organizations are introducing increasingly sophisticated applications from cloud-native to machine learning to streaming apps that are distributed and data intensive,” said Rajiv Ramaswami, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware.

“We’re announcing Project Monterey to help customers address the shifting requirements of next-gen apps. By re-imagining the architecture of the data center, cloud and edge, we expect to offer customers the freedom to run these apps in the best environment.”

VMware is delivering a range of solutions and services to help customers survive and thrive in the most turbulent market in generations. VMware’s cloud, app modernization, networking, security and digital workspace platforms form a flexible, consistent digital foundation on which to build, run, manage, connect and protect applications, anywhere.

Project Monterey to address next-gen app challenges

As organizations modernize existing apps and deploy news ones, traditional IT architectures are being stretched to meet their unique requirements.

Next-generation apps spanning 5G transformation, cloud native, data-centric, machine learning, multi-cloud and hybrid apps distributed across environments have produced new challenges for IT organizations; including consuming an ever increasing amount of cycles on the server CPU—impacting performance.

To tackle these issues, organizations have adopted specialized systems with hardware accelerators such as graphics processing units (GPUs), field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and network interface cards (NICs) with offloading to support the performance and security needs of new apps. These accelerators have improved performance but led to siloed teams, specialized skills, increased total cost of ownership and introduced new levels of complexity and security requirements.

VMware is unveiling Project Monterey to help organizations address the increasingly complex application landscape.

Support for SmartNICs

VMware is evolving VMware Cloud Foundation (VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX) to support SmartNIC technology (also referred to as data processing units or 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 VMware 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, VMware can further deliver on its vision for intrinsic security. 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 specific application 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 can be automatically tuned and deployed across tens of thousands of application services.

Additionally, Project Monterey will enable enterprises or service providers supporting multiple tenants to isolate tenants from the core infrastructure.

Project Monterey will enable organizations to adapt data center, cloud or edge environments for application-specific performance, availability and security needs. Additionally, the initiative will extend VMware infrastructure and operations for all applications—reducing the need for specialized systems, teams and management tools—which in turn will be able to reduce overall complexity and TCO.

Industry Leaders Support Project Monterey

Project Monterey has garnered broad ecosystem support to deliver flexible, integrated solutions. VMware is collaborating with Intel, NVIDIA and Pensando to leverage their respective SmartNIC technologies as part of Project Monterey. Dell Technologies, HPE and Lenovo will deliver integrated systems based on Project Monterey.

Availability
Project Monterey is a technology preview. VMware is not announcing availability at this time.

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