Project Monterey

While the demand for modern applications increases, modernising existing apps and deploying new ones is no easy task. Apart from legacy applications, the ability to inject AI on applications that consumes an increasing amount of cycles on the CPU server will undoubtedly impact performance.
To help address these issues, organisations have adapted hardware accelerators like GPUs, FPGAs and NICs with offloading to support the performance and security needed by new apps. The problem with this is, it has led to siloed teams, specialised skills, increased total cost of ownership and introduced new levels of complexity and security requirements.
This is where VMware comes in with Project Monterey. Project Monterey is focused on evolving its architecture for the data centre, cloud and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications including AI, machine learning and 5G applications. VMware is collaborating with ecosystem partners to deliver solutions based on Project Monterey including Intel, NVIDIA and Pensando Systems and system companies like Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo.

As organisations are introducing increasingly sophisticated applications from cloud-native to machine learning to streaming apps that are distributed and data-intensive, Project Monterey will help customers address the shifting requirements of next-gen apps. By re-imagining, the architecture of the data centre, cloud and edge, VMware expects to offer customers the freedom to run these apps in the best environment. 

In a media briefing session with APAC journalists, Sanjay Poonan, VMWare COO said, Project Monterey would redefine the hybrid cloud architecture for a new generation of applications. Project Monterey will be able to:

  • Leverage SmartNIC for maximum performance, zero-trust security and simplified operation.

  • Extend VMware Cloud Foundation as a unified platform for all applications, including Bare Metal.

  • Provide a flexible, consistent digital foundation on which to build, run, manage, connect and protect applications, anywhere.

  • Provide a flexible, integrated solutions ecosystem of SmartNIC providers and OEMs.

You can find out more about Project Monterey in detailed explanation in a blog post by Kit Colbert, VP and CTO, Cloud Platform BU at VMware here.
According to Kit, “Project Monterey is a re-architecture of VCF from the hardware up to support all the new requirements of modern applications enabled by Project Pacific. It leverages a new hardware technology called SmartNIC to deliver maximum performance, zero-trust security, and simplified operations to VCF deployments. More amazingly, by leveraging SmartNIC, Project Monterey extends VCF to support bare metal operating systems and applications!  And of course, it delivers this across all the locations VCF runs today – data centre, edge and cloud – reducing TCO across the board.”
Enabling modern applications seamlessly
The initiative will span:

  • 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 typically handle. By supporting SmartNICs, VMware Cloud Foundation will be able to maintain compute virtualisation on the server CPU while offloading networking and storage I/O functions to the SmartNIC CPU. This will allow applications to maximise 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 allow 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, organisations will be able to use a single management framework to manage all their compute infrastructure, whether it be virtualised 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 defences that can shield any vulnerability of that particular service. This will enable a custom-built defence that can be automatically tuned and deployed across tens of thousands of application services. Additionally, Project Monterey will allow organisations to adopt data centre, cloud or edge environments for application-specific performance, availability and security needs. Also, the initiative will extend VMware infrastructure and operations for all applications—reducing the need for specialised systems, teams and management tools—which in turn will be able to reduce overall complexity and TCO.

Globally, telcos are increasingly leveraging the VMware Telco Cloud platform to virtualise and containerise their 5G network deployments. Project Monterey will help them further accelerate their buildout of highly-efficient fully-virtualised 5G infrastructure that will be essential to deliver the advanced, innovative services expected on 5G networks.
Locally, Devan Parinpanayagam, VMware Malaysia Country Manager added that Malaysian organisations were also looking forward to Project Monterey following conversations he had with several customers. While the pace of transformation for organisations in Malaysia varies, Devan pointed out that some customers are ready to use the new solution.

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