VMware Unveils Edge Solutions at Explore


By: Mary Jander

While AI may have hogged the spotlight at VMware’s Explore 2023 conference this week, the vendor released a series of intriguing products that showcase another area of hot activity – the enterprise edge.

First, some basics: The edge of the network, as VMware defines it, is any remote outpost where data processing has been shifted closer to where that data is consumed. Think retail sales, manufacturing, energy, and healthcare. These edge locations are areas where VMware has already staked a claim with two products: VMware Edge Compute Stack, comprising hardware from Lenovo equipped with VMware vSphere and vSAN software for use at the edge of enterprise networks; and VMware SASE, a portfolio of products that includes a software-based SD-WAN client.

This week, VMware announced a new product called VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator that unifies the management of both of these products in a software-only console. This is important because, as VMware’s press release states: “The VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (VECO) will deliver holistic edge management by providing a single console to manage edge compute infrastructure, networking, and security.”

Also, while there’s hardware involved in the VMware Edge Compute Stack, the new orchestrator reprovisions everything entirely in software. In the words of a blog by Abe Ankumah, VP and GM, VMware SASE, and Saadat Malik, VP and GM, VMware Edge Computing, the solution is part of a new “software-defined edge” strategy at VMware.

A Mobile Edge Solution

And that’s not all. VMware has made the VMware Edge Compute Stack the basis of a range of other announcements, starting with a new private wireless solution called VMware Private Mobile Network.

VMware’s partnered with Betacom, Boingo Wireless, and Federated Wireless – which all support private 5G networking via Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum – to integrate its VMware Edge Compute Stack into those service providers’ networks. As Betacom’s press release states:

“Betacom will seamlessly integrate VMware’s Private Mobile Network offering built on Edge Compute Stack into its existing private network managed service offering 5G as a Service (5GaaS), enabling rapid deployment and effortless management and orchestration of private wireless networks for enterprise clients.”

Of course, it helps if an enterprise already uses VMware. This solution will be launched sometime this quarter.

Getting an Edge on the Edge

Another announcement based on the VMware Edge Compute Stack: That product now “commercializes” functionality from Project Keswick, an ongoing project of the Advanced Technology Group in VMware’s Office of the CTO that’s geared to simplifying edge infrastructure and security. In beta today, the link to VMware Edge Compute Stack implies that Keswick has a future there.

Meanwhile, VMware is also intent on building applications that address specific vertical industry needs at the edge. A new VMware Retail Edge Solution adapts VMware Edge Compute Stack to multi-store retail environments. The press release states:

“With VMware Retail Edge, customers can reduce in-store infrastructure costs and management, remotely deploy and maintain applications on demand, and accelerate the deployment of next-generation AI apps.”

VMware has partnerships with Chooch.ai, which makes a computer vision platform; and Stratodesk, which offers a virtual desktop infrastructure solution. Both enhance the capabilities of the Retail Edge Solution.

Each of these solutions based on the VMware Edge Compute Stack emphasize more automation and greater functionality via software at the network edge. Enterprises will likely benefit by keeping a close eye on further enhancements to this particular product portfolio.

Futuriom Take: These announcements put the VMware Edge Compute Stack squarely in the limelight when it comes to VMware’s future plans for the enterprise edge.