At the VMworld event in February, VMware’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger went on record saying “We all lose if [enterprise customers] end up in these commodity public clouds. We want to extend our franchise from the private cloud into the public cloud … Own the corporate workload now and forever.” As enterprise customers start moving the business applications from VMware powered Private Cloud to AWS, Amazon threatens the core business of VMware. So, it is inevitable for VMware to launch the Public Cloud.
By positioning itself as the Hybrid Cloud, VMware is making a statement that the existing customers will be able to easily move to the Public Cloud. Since both the Private and Public Clouds are powered by the same vSphere platform, it will be easy to move workloads back and forth. Interestingly, Microsoft played the same card when they launched the Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. The VHDs created to run on Hyper-V can be ported to Windows Azure. But, Microsoft did not market this capability as aggressive as VMware.
VMware did a few things right in the recent past. First, they got rid of the products that are not core to their business. They moved the developer platform, database offerings and PaaS to Pivotal. Products like vFabric,GemFire, SQLFire and Cloud Foundry are now integrated into the next generation Cloud platform built by Pivotal under the leadership of Paul Maritz. Then, they sold WaveMaker, the visual RAD tool to Hyderabad based Java Application Server company called Pramati Technologies. SlideRocket has been sold to ClearSlide, a San Francisco based analytics company. This enabled VMware to focus on what they are good at – Virtualization and Cloud. Bill Fathers, the Cloud veteran at Savvis has been roped in as the Senior VP and GM for the Hybrid Cloud business at VMware. Having dealt with the enterprise customers in the Cloud space, Bill knew how to package VMware’s Public Cloud offering in a way that counters the Amazon threat.
According to the official blog post from Bill Fathers, “The industry understands the benefits of cloud, and the opportunity ahead is for VMware and our partners to help our customers get these benefits as quickly as possible. We believe that the vCloud Hybrid Service is the fastest way for VMware customers to get to the cloud. We call this an “inside-out” approach, where the cloud becomes a seamless extension of the data center. This is the cloud without compromise.” It is clear that VMware wants to ride on the success of vSphere.
VMware’s strength is its channel and the partner ecosystem. Unlike AWS, VMware wants its Cloud to be sold through the VAR community. So, developers cannot simply swipe the credit card to launch the VMs. While developers love AWS, enterprises are not comfortable with the self-service mechanism. By adopting the traditional sales model, VMware is distancing from the developer community.
Expected to be available by end of the year, VMware Hybrid Cloud promises to make the Cloud journey simpler. With OpenStack gaining momentum and AWS adding enterprise features at a rapid pace, it will be interesting to watch how VMware will play the Public Cloud game.