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Channeling the Cloud

VMware Extends Its Multi-Cloud Management Focus

The company's "Cross-Cloud" initiative aims to create a hybrid operating platform for organizations to run, connect and manage applications distributed among different public clouds.

It's nearly impossible to find a major cloud infrastructure software and service provider that doesn't now emphasize how their offerings are open and multiplatform.

Redmond regularly points to the amount of open source software running in Microsoft Azure. The latest tally of Linux-based servers running in Azure is 30 percent. Even as Azure has emerged as the No. 2 public cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the most widely used public cloud.

Microsoft has acknowledged that as organizations deploy hybrid clouds, the company and its partners can benefit by enabling customers to manage all workloads, not just those in Azure. Hence last year's debut of the new Operations Management Suite (OMS), a cloud-based service that allows administrators to secure and manage their hybrid environments, with support for both Azure, Office 365 and AWS-based instances, among others.

Not to be outdone, VMware has also stepped up its emphasis on multi-cloud management.

Editor's Note

After this article went to press, VMware announced that it was partnering with Amazon Web Services on a hybrid cloud initiative. Read about that development here.

At its annual VMworld conference, VMware revealed its new Cross-Cloud Architecture, which the company said will create a common secure hybrid operating platform for organizations to run, connect and manage applications distributed among different public clouds. This new architecture requires a variety of existing and new technologies under development by VMware.

The Cross-Cloud Architecture is based on the company's new VMware Cloud Foundation, which CEO Pat Gelsinger said will provide a consistent and integrated cloud infrastructure incorporating its vSphere virtualization software, Virtual SAN and the company's NSX software-defined network platform.

The company is delivering VMware Cloud Foundation in a number of ways. One is via VxRack, which is a pre-configured hyper-converged infrastructure appliance from EMC, now part of Dell following the closing of last month's $67 billion acquisition of the storage giant. As part of that megadeal, Dell also assumes EMC's controlling stake in VMware.

Partners can also offer the software on certified VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and QCT. VMware is also enabling its vCloud Air partners to offer the new architecture on an as-a-services basis, initially via IBM Cloud.

Perhaps the most noteworthy new way VMware is approaching multi-cloud management is with its new VMware Cross-Cloud services, a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based tool that can let organizations manage applications distributed among multiple public clouds including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM cloud.

Executives at VMware were coy about when and how the company will deliver Cross-Cloud Services, which is available as a technology preview, but it's a GUI designed to let administrators discover instances in multiple public clouds. It consists of services that will let customers and partners manage, govern and secure applications and data across multiple clouds. Like Microsoft, VMware is also extending its cloud-based end-user computing environments.

Expect both Microsoft and VMware to flesh out their respective multi-cloud management offerings, especially as organizations build out their hybrid environments and as more customers start looking at and deploying modern cloud-native, SaaS-style applications.

More Columns by Jeffrey Schwartz:

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.