The recent VMworld conference was all about fully realized virtual technology, as one would expect. However, there were a few exceptions – VMware debuted three projects that will inform the future of the firm’s development. They offered attendees a glimpse into three unique, ongoing projects, including Project Dimension, Project Magna, and Project Concord. In English, those relate to edge computing, artificial intelligence, and enterprise blockchain.
Project Dimension (Edge Computing)
Product offerings realized as services are nothing new. SaaS and dozens of other examples have been around for years at this point. However, VMware has something else up its collective sleeve – Project Dimension will ultimately result in the firm delivering its cloud offerings to the edge as yet another type of managed service. This will require combining VMware Cloud Foundation’s elements of cloud management, storage, security, and compute power into a single vendor-managed package.
This will allow VMware to manage a customer’s on-premises data center as well as remote locations, with the necessary gear being installed at edge locations operated by the client company to alleviate local processing requirements or for related needs.
Project Magna (AI)
AI, or artificial intelligence, has been the holy grail of tech development for a very long time, and we’ve made great strides in realizing it. While AI will not replace human brains particularly soon, it has evolved to the point that it can be used in myriad situations. VMware believes that one of those is to combine AI with machine learning to build self-optimizing, virtual infrastructure.
This would allow AI to learn faster, become more efficient, and perform more quickly, within data center environments. For instance, the demonstration at VMworld showed how such a system could use machine learning to reconfigure a network based on real-time, real-world factors. Project Magna is ultimately just one step on the path toward the ultimate goal of a self-managing infrastructure that can adapt to changing needs on its own, in real time.
Project Concord (Enterprise Blockchain)
Blockchain – it’s hardly possible to discuss technology without at least touching on blockchain and its potential. The foundation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, blockchain has a lot to offer virtually every industry, and VMware is betting that the company’s Project Concord will allow them to address a host of client needs. Essentially, Project Concord is an open source blockchain platform developed by VMware and offered to clients to allow them access to an energy-efficient, decentralized, scalable infrastructure for smart contract execution and digital consensus.
While it can be used to power blockchains for enterprises, it can also host additional elements that deliver greater value to organizations, such as audit and compliance capabilities, as well as security management. Of course, blockchain is just a potential benefit for enterprises. The technology remains in its infancy and has yet to fully evolve. With that being said, VMware’s project shows that things are continuing to change, and a new trust platform could soon change how enterprises work with one another.
What It All Means
Superficially, it might seem as though VMware is branching out in a number of directions that may have little to do with the company’s original mission. However, that’s not the truth. In fact, even Project Concord ultimately connects with VMware’s drive to build, support, and promote cloud computing and platform virtualization. Whether the three projects outlined above will drive further success remains to be seen, but the fact that all three were previewed at VMworld highlights the trajectory of one of the industry’s most visible members.