VMware Explore 2023 Showcases 'Private AI' Initiative and AI Integrations

The VMware Explore 2023 conference this week brought a surge of AI-related announcements, including the unveiling of the "Private AI" initiative in collaboration with chipmaker NVIDIA, as well as AI integrations into the Anywhere Workspace platform, among other developments.

Private AI, introduced by VMware, represents an architectural approach aimed at assisting enterprises in leveraging generative AI while safeguarding the privacy of their proprietary data. The company asserts that this approach delivers a combination of privacy, choice, performance, and compliance in the realm of AI services, allowing organizations to deploy diverse AI solutions on VMware Cloud infrastructure across various environments.

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram, in a post dated Aug. 22, emphasized the significance of preserving data privacy and minimizing intellectual property risks during the training, customization, and deployment of AI models. Raghuram noted, "With VMware Private AI, we are empowering our customers to harness the potential of their trusted data, enabling the swift and secure development and deployment of AI models within their multi-cloud environment."

Private AI
To realize the new Private AI offerings, VMware announced:

  • VMware Private AI Foundation with NVIDIA, extending the companies' strategic partnership to ready enterprises that run VMware's cloud infrastructure for the next era of generative AI. That's done via a set of integrated AI tools that can help enterprises run proven models trained on their private data in a cost-efficient manner while enabling them to be deployed in datacenters, on leading cloud computing platforms, and at the edge.
  • VMware Private AI Reference Architecture for Open Source to help customers achieve their desired AI outcomes by supporting best-in-class open-source software (OSS) technologies today and in the future. The initiative integrates OSS technologies to provide an open reference architecture for building and serving OSS models on top of VMware Cloud Foundation. At the conference, VMware said it's showcasing collaborations with leading companies from across the AI value chain thusly:
  • Anyscale: VMware is bringing the widely adopted open-source Ray unified compute framework to VMware Cloud environments. Ray on VMware Cloud Foundation makes it easy for data scientists and MLOps engineers to scale AI and Python workloads much more easily by utilizing their current compute footprints for ML workloads instead of defaulting to the public cloud.
  • Domino Data Lab: VMware, Domino Data Lab, and NVIDIA have teamed up to provide a unified analytics, data science, and infrastructure platform that is optimized, validated, and supported, purpose-built for AI/ML deployments in the financial services industry.
  • Global Systems Integrators: VMware is working with leading GSIs such as Wipro and HCL to help customers realize the benefits of Private AI by building and delivering turnkey solutions that combine VMware Cloud with AI partner ecosystem solutions.
  • Hugging Face: VMware is collaborating with Hugging Face to help launch SafeCoder today at VMware Explore. SafeCoder is a complete commercial code assistant solution built for the enterprise that includes service, software, and support. VMware is utilizing SafeCoder internally and publishing a reference architecture with code samples to enable the fastest possible time-to-value for customers when deploying and operating SafeCoder on VMware infrastructure. Read the full launch blog here.
  • Intel: VMware vSphere/vSAN 8 and Tanzu are optimized with Intel's AI software suite to take advantage of the new built-in AI accelerators on the latest 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

VMware Anywhere Workspace and 'Autonomous Workspaces'
In addition to Private AI, VMware announced the advancement of its Autonomous Workspace vision via AI-powered integrations with its Anywhere Workspace platform, which is part of the VMware Cross-Cloud services portfolio that VMware said automatically optimizes employee experience, drives new vulnerability management use cases, and simplifies application lifecycle management.

The Autonomous Workspace idea was introduced in last year's event as covered by Tom Fenton, who noted, "These workspaces will be self-configuring, self-healing and self-securing."

VMware noted the progress made over the past year since that announcement. "Last year, we announced our Autonomous Workspace vision as a path forward for organizations to navigate the challenges brought on by hybrid work," said EUC exec Shankar Iyer. "We are thrilled to unveil new advancements for our customers that expand data sources and insights, integrate with technology partners for improved security, and unify app delivery strategy across all virtual desktops and apps. These innovations continue to progress our vision of providing the next evolution of digital workspaces."

AI Everywhere
While the Private AI initiative and Anywhere Workspace AI integrations were noteworthy announcements at the start of the conference, many other AI-related developments were detailed, including:

Tanzu: VMware Tanzu is a modular, cloud-native application platform that accelerates development, delivery, and operations across multiple clouds. The offering received several enhancements, two of which are powered by AI:

  • VMware Tanzu with Intelligent Assist (tech preview) will improve operations from reactive to proactive and dramatically streamlines operational workflows by providing a conversational chatbot experience powered by generative AI that leverages the federated data architecture across VMware Tanzu Hub's integrated solutions.
  • VMware Tanzu Insights will empower operations teams to better troubleshoot and resolve issues with holistic visibility and deeper ML/AI powered insights across distributed Kubernetes, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure environments. Initial availability planned for Q3 FY24.

Digital Employee Experience (DEX): VMware says its AI-driven DEX solution from VMware Workspace ONE Intelligence is the only platform that delivers a comprehensive solution to create a seamless hybrid work experience for employees and empower IT teams to be more proactive with a holistic tool that measures, analyzes, delivers, and remediates workplace experiences.

The VMware Workspace ONE DEX solution now supports broader data capture that empowers IT teams with holistic visibility across their end-user computing (EUC) environment, said VMware, which listed three examples:

  • New network-based telemetry. The hybrid workforce is reliant on SaaS services for maximum productivity, and outages can have a significant impact. The DEX solution conducts synthetic testing that can detect outages of internal or external services before users experience them. These capabilities can prevent an influx of inbound tickets and automate resolution with proactive communications to affected employees.
  • Expanded Android battery and network analytics. Now collected via Launcher on frontline devices, the near real-time data (every 10 minutes) allows admins to identify devices with problems. The issues can include poor Wi-Fi signal or cellular strength, high latency, or jitter, and even batteries that are too hot, have a high discharge rate, or never charge to 100 percent.
  • Horizon in-guest session and network monitoring. This solution alerts VMware Horizon admins to common issues, such as long logon time, to help find root cause via its Insights and Guided Root Cause Analysis features. The network performance data helps Horizon admins quickly determine if the poor experience is caused by a remote user's network or high resource consumption by the virtual machines.

Next-Generation Insights: The last item above mentions Insights, described by the company as AI-driven anomaly detection that informs IT admins of environmental issues. "We are excited to announce today that we have released an expanded set of out-of-the-box insights across more data sources, with an underlying re-architecture that enables measurement on dynamic thresholds while also accounting for seasonality," the company said, listing insights support for:

  • Horizon last-mile performance
  • Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) for app or OS install failures and forecasting
  • Workspace ONE Access for logon trends and failures
  • Frontline use cases for long check-in/check-out time or increases in lost devices or devices not checked in

Stay tuned for more AI-related news from the conference, which concludes on Thursday.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.