For years, VMware has offered a public cloud service through cloud service providers who were licensees of VMware vCloud suite of products (essentially the same software that VMware customers run on premise with a different revenue share based licensing model). However the vCloud offering completely failed to put any dent in the rapid growth of Amazon EC2. Microsoft beefed up its Azure cloud offering last year making it into a full IaaS offering. Google has jumped into the fray with Google Compute Engine.
What Today’s Public Cloud Offerings Have in Common
In “Public Cloud Computing – Economics and Throats to Choke” we detailed the economic conundrum that VMware faced. All of the vendors of competing public clouds (Amazon, Microsoft, and now Google) compete on the basis of price and service with software stacks that are under their complete control. Each of these vendors can practice Agile Development and DevOps in order to rapidly roll out new services and features (and bug fixes) to their customers and none of them have to wait on another software vendor to do a release or pay a software vendor a license fee for the software stack in their clouds. In that post we pointed out that licensees of vCloud were in a poor economic and responsiveness position to complete with Amazon, Microsoft and Google or for that matter a vendor who is a member of the OpenStack Consortium and who therefore has control of their own code base.
The vCloud Hybrid Service
The single most important thing about this service is that it leverages the vCloud Networking and Security infrastructure to stretch the network between a remote data center that hosts the cloud resident servers and the enterprises on-premise data center. This means that workloads can be moved back and forth with no changes to any of the configurations that support those workloads (think of a Software Defined Data Center distributed across two data centers, one you own and one you do not).
The second most important thing has nothing to do with technology. It has entirely to do with the fact that this is a VMware offering. VMware customers can now go buy public/hybrid cloud services directly from VMware. This removes the cloud service provider from the support chain for the software that comprises the vCloud Hybrid Service. However, of course it still does not remove the data center operator from whom VMware is renting data center services from the support chain. So with Amazon, Microsoft and Google there is just one throat to choke. With VMware this is one throat for the customer to choke as well, but VMware might have to go choke the throat of a data center provider to get certain problems fixed.
The VMware Press Release announcing the vCloud Hybrid Service is here.
A CTO blog about the underlying technology is here.
Pricing for the service is here.