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VMware Affirms Commitment to Cloud Partners

VMware this week revealed it will launch a public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), a move it said doesn't deviate from its commitment to its partners.

Nevertheless, the launch of its vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service IaaS is a shift in strategy for VMware, which until recently had indicated it had no plans to roll out a public cloud offering. Although many had predicted that VMware ultimately would do so, rumors of its plans only began to surface a few months ago.

VMware made it official during a launch event webcast Tuesday, when the company said it will offer an early-access program next month in the United States, with general availability slated for the third quarter of this year. The service will run the company's vSphere virtualization and vCloud Director management platforms.

The company will offer the service in two modes. The vCloud Hybrid Service Dedicated Cloud will consist of reserved compute instances that are physically isolated and require an annual contract at a starting price of 13 cents per hour for redundant 1 GB virtual machines with a single processor. The other offering, vCloud Hybrid Service Virtual Private Cloud, is based on similar hardware but is multitenant, but will require only monthly terms with pricing starting at 4.5 cents per hour.

Until now, VMware's cloud strategy revolved solely around having service provider partners deliver IaaS based on its wares. At its launch event, the company insisted that its partners are a key part of its plan and go-to-market strategy, and that they will continue to have the option of running their own VMware-based services or reselling the company's new service.

"Overall, we see this as the most partner-friendly public cloud," said Bill Fathers, a VMware senior VP and general manager of the VMware Hybrid Cloud service, during the Tuesday webcast. "We are enabling thousands of channel and solution provider partners to offer vCloud Hybrid cloud service so our clients will be able to continue to order and get support from the same channel partners they entrusted with their IT purchasing for many years. We'll be making all this technology and IP and the powers of the vCloud Hybrid Service available to our ecosystem, the service provider and systems integration partners so they can deliver cloud-based solutions based on this platform. We also expect to see the same partners develop value-added services on top of and around the offering and may seek to differentiate by industry vertical, by application or perhaps by geography."

Fathers indicated that VMware may turn to partners to facilitate the rollout in Europe and Asia, set for 2014. Despite promising to stick to a partner-only strategy for delivering cloud services, VMware may have had no choice but to offer a public cloud service, said Gartner analyst Lydia Leong in a blog post. CSC is the only partner that gained significant market share, according to Leong, with Bluelock following way behind. Dell's decision to discontinue its IaaS offering, and the decision to use vSphere but not vCloud Director, has also diminished the success of VMware's ecosystem, according to Leong.

With its decision to offer its own IaaS, VMware is poised to have more success, Leong added. "No one should underestimate the power of brand in the cloud IaaS market, particularly since VMware is coming to market with something real," she noted. "VMware has a rich suite of ITOM capabilities that it can begin to build into an offering. It also has CloudFoundry, which it will integrate, and would logically be as synergistic with this offering as any other IaaS/PaaS integration (much as Microsoft believes Azure PaaS and IaaS elements are synergistic)."

Indeed, VMware officials talked up the fact that the 3,700 apps certified to run on its virtualization platform can move seamlessly between the datacenter and its new public cloud, without requiring any modifications. That's the same model Microsoft espouses with its "cloud OS" strategy, designed to let customers move data from Windows Server to Windows Azure.

As a partner, which looks more compelling to you? Or do you see riding on both? Comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on May 23, 2013


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