BARCELONA: VMware is expanding its public cloud capabilities with the rollout of the vCloud Hybrid Service in Europe. The service is currently available from a UK data centre, with further points of presence in the rest of Europe coming over the next year or so.
Speaking at the firm's VMworld Europe 2013 conference, Bill Fathers, senior vice president of VMware's Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit, said that the vCloud Hybrid Service is available in the UK as a beta during the fourth quarter of 2013, with full commercial availability slated for the middle of the first quarter of 2014.
During 2014 and beyond, VMware will scale out vCloud Hybrid Service availability across Europe, with new data centre locations on the continent.
Announced earlier this year, the vCloud Hybrid Service is part of VMware's strategy to expand beyond the enterprise data centre. The firm recognises that public cloud is increasingly going to play a part in delivering enterprise IT services, and so it is enabling service provider partners to build vSphere-based cloud environments that can be linked more easily with on-premise infrastructure if the customer is already running vSphere in its data centre.
In the UK, VMware is also offering the vCloud Hybrid Service itself from a data centre located in Slough, west of London. The data centre is not VMware's own, but is being provided by a third party, which VMware declined to identify.
Fathers said that VMware picked the UK as its starting point because this is one of the largest markets for infrastructure as a service, and also has one of the largest clusters of VMware customers outside the US.
The firm also announced the vCloud Hybrid Service Online Marketplace, a kind of app store for cloud services, where customers can discover, download, test drive and buy solutions for vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware said.
VMware will also move quickly to add new services from its UK data centre, according to Fathers, including disaster recovery, the Cloud Foundry development platform, and desktop as a service (DaaS) using the platform it gained through the acquisition of Desktone.
Fathers also disclosed that with updates to vCenter, announced separately, customers can now move workloads seamlessly between their own private cloud and the vCloud Hybrid Service, using it as if it were an extension of their own data centre.
Attendees at VMworld raised concerns that with this move, VMware is competing against its own service provider partners that might be looking to use vSphere to offer public cloud services to enterprise customers.
Fathers, however, brushed these concerns aside, responding that there are "myriad ways in which service providers can differentiate themselves with value-add services", and that in many cases, enterprises would prefer to work with service providers they already have a relationship with.
European customers also have concerns regarding the safety and security of their data, which have only been heightened following the revelations about the PRISM surveillance operation run by US intelligence agencies, Fathers said. For this reason, VMware was looking to work with European service providers to deliver "data sovereignty", he added.
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