VMware may be a giant in the corporate data centre with its virtualisation and private cloud platforms, but the firm predicts that enterprise IT will increasingly be farmed out to the public cloud in future and is moving to support this model with its vCloud Hybrid Service, launched to UK customers this week.
The vCloud Hybrid Service, or vCHS, has been available in the US since last year, but the firm is now expanding the service to other regions across the globe. With Europe a key market, and the UK having the most VMware customers in Europe, the firm has chosen to start here.
As detailed at the launch event in London, vCHS sees VMware delivering its own infrastructure as a service (IaaS) public cloud from a third-party data centre near Slough. But rather than sell capacity directly to customer organisations itself, VMware has put in place a system whereby its traditional partner and reseller network will provide enterprise access and support.
VMware is operating the vCHS public cloud using the same platform that it licenses to organisations to run their own data centres as a private cloud. This is designed to make it as easy as possible for VMware customers to extend their data centre out to vCHS, using management tools that they are already using internally.
This move is necessary because public cloud is where most IT services will be delivered from in future, a point made by VMware chief Pat Gelsinger at the vCHS launch in London, attended by V3.
Gelsinger said we are now at one of the most disruptive transition points in the history of IT, in the midst of a shift from the client-server era to the mobile-cloud era, and that this shift would affect every single company.
"If you look at IT spending currently, it is in the range of zero to five percent growth rate. However, inside that, off-premise IT has been growing at 35 to 40 percent," he said. For smart IT providers, off-premise services are therefore the place to start making investments, he added.
We are therefore moving into a transition period where public cloud resources will increasingly augment on-premise IT, and may even eventually replace much of it, according to VMware. But the firm claimed that for such a move to be successful, there needs to be a seamless integration between the two, and this is largely lacking at the moment, leading to organisations getting stuck.
Bill Fathers, senior vice president of VMware's Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit, said: "The major message is that enterprises are not going to move to public cloud any time soon. For the next 10 to 20 years, it will be a hybrid world."
As such, VMware's move can be portrayed as a defensive one, making it easier for customers to stay inside the VMware ecosystem rather than look to public cloud services that might be offered by providers operating a different platform, such as OpenStack, Microsoft's Windows Azure, or Amazon Web Services (AWS), currently the largest global provider of public cloud infrastructure.
"VMware is trying to have greater control of the ‘choice' its customers get. Choice will mean a VMware-hosted offering that in theory will make it easy for customers to move VMware-based workloads in and out of the pubic cloud," he wrote at the time.
However, many organisations seem to be fairly relaxed about being locked in to one vendor's ecosystem, as long as that ecosystem continues to meet their requirements.
Amazon customers that V3 previously spoke with at the firm's AWS Summit said they had not even considered other cloud providers, for example, while users of Windows Azure told V3 they chose Microsoft's platform because it integrated seamlessly with their on-premise infrastructure.
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