Extending the Cloud Outside of the Data Center

VMware has been aggressively building and executing its hybrid cloud vision, extending the cloud outside of the data center. In line with this vision, VMware recently announced an expansion of its VMware vCloud Hybrid Service by adding disaster recovery as one of its offered services. This expansion will put VMware in direct competition with companies like IBM, Sungard AS, Amazon, Rackspace, Zerto, and others in the Recovery as a Service space.

Does this announcement come as a surprise? No, not really. I believed that the Recovery as a Service option would be one of the first service options that VMware would make available after the announcement and the availability of its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and vCloud Hybrid Service. In that regard, I was pretty much right on the money. Let’s take a look at how the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service is stacking up:

Service Options

  • The Dedicated Cloud class of service provides a single-tenant private cloud with dedicated computing servers, layer 2 network isolation for workload traffic, dedicated storage volumes, and a dedicated cloud management instance. Infrastructure capacity may be allocated to a single virtual data center or multiple data centers at your option.
  • The Virtual Private Cloud class of service provides a multitenant virtual private cloud with logically isolated resources on shared physical infrastructure, configured as a single virtual data center with networking resources.
  • The Disaster Recovery class of service provides a reserved multitenant virtual private cloud  configured as a disaster recovery virtual data center (DR-VDC) for replication, failover, and recovery of remote virtual machines. Similar to Virtual Private Cloud, this class of service leverages logically isolated resources on shared physical infrastructure.

According to the Hybrid Service introduction, “VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ is a secure cloud service operated by VMware, giving IT organizations a VMware-compatible platform to extend their cloud infrastructure seamlessly beyond their datacenter.” I believe this statement spells out VMware’s road map going forward as it expands and supports the vCloud suite of products seamlessly from both inside and outside of the corporate data center.

The disaster recovery service is built off of VMware’s vSphere Replication into a disaster recovery virtual data center (DR-VDC) instance, which is a virtualized recovery target in the vCloud Hybrid Service. As I was researching and reading about the new service—I must be honest—I noted that this was not quite the way that I expected things to work. Maybe I am reading too much into this or not quite understanding completely the mechanics involved with the service. I had expected the service to be an extension of another VMware product, called Site Recovery Manager, or SRM, but using Replication with DR-VDC leaves this disaster recovery option available to more customers that might not have SRM configured and running their environments.

Disaster recovery is VMware’s first step; now for some fun speculating what might come next. What other products in the vCloud Suite will we find going hybrid? Will vCenter Operations Manager be able to extend monitoring capabilities to a hybrid instance via some kind of connector? What about something like Chargeback? Better yet, with the recent release of Horizon 6, what kind of hybrid solutions will we be seeing on the desktop and end user computing solutions as VMware continues its extension of the cloud outside of the data center?