September 29, 2020—

Pensando, VMware and Project Monterey – Everything You Need to Know

By: Christopher Ratcliffe, Silvano Gai


Pensando, VMware and Project Monterey – Everything You Need To Know

Customers around the globe rely on VMware Cloud Foundation to deploy and manage modern applications across multiple environments. Together with Pensando, we are building the next generation of more secure and agile infrastructure, leveraging the new breed of accelerators exemplified by the Pensando Distributed Services Platform, to support the evolving requirements of these applications. The work between VMware and Pensando on Project Monterey will help mutual customers benefit substantially from increased performance, enhanced security and a consistent operating model.

Krish Prasad, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware

Today at VMworld® 2020, we announced that we are collaborating with VMware, Inc. on Project Monterey to co-develop a platform to support the shifting requirements of next-generation applications.  In this article we will delve a little deeper into what that means for our customers in the long term, and, how you can get started on the journey to next-gen applications today.

What is Project Monterey?

Project Monterey is a re-architecture of VMware Cloud Foundation to support the new, rapidly evolving requirements of next-gen applications.  As application requirements for compute continue to grow, Project Monterey takes advantage of accelerators like the Pensando Distributed Services Platform, to offload the main server CPU, freeing up precious CPU cycles and bringing key services such as networking and security, closer to where applications actually run and operate on data.

This is essential to address the needs of new application types such as those found in Cloud Native, Multi-Cloud, Telco, 5G, Machine Learning, Data Centric, and Hybrid environments.

Read Kit Colbert’s blog post “Announcing Project Monterey – Redefining Hybrid Cloud Architecture”

We’re very excited to be working with VMware on Project Monterey.  Both companies have a shared vision of a programmable, scalable, low latency, highly secure platform that not only improves the performance and capabilities of the server platform, it is key to simplifying data center operations and the delivery of next generation applications.  The fact that customers can start their journey today with VMware Cloud Foundation on the Pensando Distributed Services Platform makes this an ideal partnership across the board.

Prem Jain, CEO of Pensando.

How Does it Work?

Project Monterey will leverage a new breed of platforms to deliver maximum performance, zero-trust security, and simplified operations to VCF deployments in virtualized, containerized and bare metal environments.  These platforms are typically delivered as PCIe cards and are installed in place of a NIC at the interface between the server and the network.

We call the Pensando offering a Distributed Services Platform but they are often referred to as Function Offload Co-Processors (FOCP – IDC), Function Accelerator Cards (FAC – Gartner) or Data Processing Units (DPU), they are functionally similar to Project Nitro in AWS.

It’s been clear for some time that FOCP-enabled platforms would make the transition from hyperscale to enterprise environments.  Project Monterey is the first major indication that transition is starting to occur on a broad scale and we expect that hybrid cloud deployments will benefit from scale, security and economics similar to that of public clouds as a result”.

Matthew Eastwood, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure, Cloud, Developers and Alliances at IDC

Why Pensando?

The Pensando Distributed Services Platform is a natural choice for Project Monterey, offering unmatched capabilities and programmability when compared to any other offering in the space.  These unique capabilities include:

  • A generation ahead of the nearest competitor offering class-leading capabilities and order of magnitude improvements in scale, latency and jitter with a low power profile (20W @ 25G, ~30W at 100G).  The Pensando DSP is capable of applying services up to tens of millions Packets Per Second, with a scale of millions of routes and ACLs, while maintaining latency and jitter in the range of microseconds.
  • The Power of AND – the ability to offer all differentiated infrastructure services security + storage + network + real time telemetry and enable them simultaneously (e.g. in-flight and at-rest encryption with visibility at line-rate, telemetry, tap network, NVMe over fabric).   Inline, all the time, while providing peak performance.
  • Pensando Policy & Services Manager – The DSP incorporates gRPC and RESTful APIs for the management and monitoring of all device
    capabilities. Pensando’s Policy and Services Manager (PSM) enables seamless distribution network configuration, encryption policies, etc. to active cards. In addition, it provides full lifecycle management and health monitoring for the platform and all associated security, load-balancing, encryption and network services with pervasive visibility.
  • Zero trust security.  As security risks continue to proliferate, security policies can be distributed broadly yet enforced locally at wire rate by the Pensando DSP, providing zero trust security at wire rate performance.
  • The Pensando HardGAP feature will guarantee that even if the x86 instance is somehow compromised, the DSP can contain bad actors and enforce compliant network security and associated policies.
  • Available today, from the leading server providers and certified by VMware.  The Pensando Distributed Services Platform is already broadly available with thousands of units deployed across a range of cloud, enterprise and SP environments.

Start Your Journey Today

From day one, everything we do at Pensando, from product development to go-to-market has been focused on the success of our customers and partners.  Not only have we built a product that offers our customers a path to the future, we’ve partnered with the leading server providers to offer a vastly simplified purchasing process making it easier than ever for businesses to transform their current infrastructure into a cloud-like environment with unprecedented functionality, performance, cost-savings, scale, and observability.

Today, HPE customers can order truly integrated Distributed Services Platforms, certified to run VMware, based on industry-leading servers and backed by single-call hardware and software support.  This vastly simplifies the purchasing process making it easier than ever for existing businesses to transform their current infrastructure into a cloud-like environment with unprecedented functionality, performance, cost-savings, scale, and observability.

Read the HPE blog post

“The combination of Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers and the Pensando Distributed Services Platform already makes HPE the best choice for VMware environments today. Our joint involvement with Project Monterey ensures that HPE customers will always be among the first to get access to new technology innovations from VMware and can even start on their journey to next-gen application infrastructures today.“

Neil MacDonald, General Manager, Compute at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

For More Information

Project Monterey at VMworld 2020

Further discussion of Project Monterey and associated technologies can be viewed online at VMworld 2020, taking place September 29th – October 1st.

  • Register for VMworld 2020: Link here
  • VMworld General Session [GEN2859]
  • The Datacenter of the Future [HCP3004]
  • Next-Gen Infrastructure Enabled by SmartNIC [HCI3351]

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Learn how Pensando’s revolutionary Distributed Service Platform can transform the way you build your IT infrastructure. If you’d like to know more about Pensando, partner with us, or work with us (Yes, we’re hiring!), please let us know.