VMware has officially gone live with its vCloud Hybrid Service in the UK, enabling organisations with VMware-based data centres to seamlessly expand out to public cloud infrastructure using the same management and orchestration tools.
The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), which has been available in the US since last year, is a key part of VMware's future strategy. It was unveiled as a beta service in the UK during the VMworld conference last year.
The firm sees hybrid cloud playing a major part in IT service delivery over the next 10-20 years, and is taking steps to make it as easy as possible for customers to stay within a VMware ecosystem rather than see them drawn to rival platforms.
Speaking at the launch, VMware chief executive Pat Gelsinger said that we are now at one of the most disruptive transition points in the history of IT, from the client-server era to the mobile-cloud era, and that the firm is moving to help customers with that transition.
"To help customers transform their internal environment and build out the cloud environment of tomorrow, we have to become the hybrid cloud provider for them," he said.
With today's vCHS launch, VMware is operating an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) public cloud from a data centre in Slough. However, customers will purchase public cloud capacity through VMware's existing partner and reseller network, according to Gavin Jackson, VMware vice president of Cloud Services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
"It's a fully owned and operated VMware service, delivered from a third-party data centre. But that platform is available for value added resellers, service providers, ISVs and consulting partners to consume as and when they need it," Jackson told V3.
The firm is therefore attempting to build out a public cloud presence without shutting out its reseller partners, such as Computacenter, Insight UK and Kelway.
VMware also believes it has a compelling offering for existing VMware users, in that it is delivering vCHS using the same platform that customers are using in their on-premise infrastructure to virtualise workloads and build up their private cloud capability.
This enables customers to use the same management and orchestration tools to provision workloads in the public cloud and on premise, enabling them to move workloads between the two, according to VMware.
This was backed up by two customers at the launch, Betfair and Cancer Research UK, who said that they had looked at other service providers offering public cloud services based on various platforms such as OpenStack.
"The technology and the API set is very different to what we were doing. It would have been like starting again from scratch," said Michael Briggs, head of infrastructure at Cancer Research.
In contrast, VMware had "presented something that actually worked" during the beta programme for vCHS, he added.
In the post-PRISM world, VMware is also aware of customer concerns regarding security, and said that it is adopting a "global localisation" approach to meet the governance and regulatory requirements of different regions such as Europe.
Bill Fathers, vice president of VMware's newly formed Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit, said: "Customers need to control if data is held on premise or not, and if they go to public cloud, they need to know where that data is. We let them control which data centre it is stored in."
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