SDN Technology

VMware Looks to Help Carriers Bridge Private, Public Clouds

VMware has introduced technology to allow service providers to simplify connecting private and public clouds for their customers.

The VMware One Cloud software platform, introduced Monday, lets carriers and their enterprise customers do away with VPNs to connect networks. Instead, by running the same platform in private, public and hybrid clouds, carriers can connect to enterprise customers in a single network.

VMware is looking to help businesses change their information infrastructure in the face of new demands for digital business models, said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in a webinar Monday announcing One Cloud. One Cloud will transition enterprises to IT environments that are available on any device, in a managed and secure way.

"We believe this is a comprehensive and complete picture of what IT needs to look like tomorrow," Gelsinger said.

One Cloud comprises four components, starting with VMware vSphere 6, a new version of VMware's flagship compute software, with improved performance and scalability. VMware also introduced Integrated OpenStack, an OpenStack distribution to allow developers to use OpenStack APIs to access VMware infrastructure.

VMware Virtual SAN 6 and vSphere Virtual Volumes make up a software-defined storage platform to enhance scalability and performance. Virtual Volumes will provide integration between a variety of storage vendor hardware and virtual machines.

And VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Networking Services powered by VMware NSX is the glue that bridges VMware's vCloud Air public cloud service and VMware vSphere-based private clouds "to enable a single, secure network domain through a gateway appliance," VMware said in a statement.

One Cloud is designed to help enterprises use the public cloud as an extension of their on-premises data center, by enabling private connections to the public cloud, Gelsinger says.

VMware vCloud Air hybrid networking services will be available in a phased release starting in the first half of 2015. VMware expects to ship vSphere 6, Integrated OpenStack, Virtual SAN 6 and vSphere Virtual Volumes by March.

"We want to build one cloud that is capable of running the spectrum of enterprise applications," Mark Chuang, head of product marketing for the VMware Software Defined Data Center business unit, told Light Reading. "We think having a platform that can stretch from on-premise to cloud providers makes it a seamless experience."

The big new piece is the networking. Compute and storage are already consistent on the carrier cloud and enterprise side, says Chuang. By building a single network spanning one set of IP addresses, network operators in both carrier and enterprise can abstract away the physical network to create a single logical network running on and off premises.

VMware didn't provide carriers as reference customers for the One Cloud announcement, but does have an array of communications service providers lined up as partners for its vCloud Air public cloud offering, including NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), SoftBank Telecom Corp. , Earthlink Business and Rackspace .

VMware sees its competition as the public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure. Another competing group is made up of hybrid cloud providers, Microsoft among them, Chuang says.

But neither Amazon nor Microsoft are making partner plays for communications service providers, as VMware is, Chuang says.

"The path we're taking is we have our own vCloud Air network, with our own data centers, and we take the exact stack we run and offer it to cloud service providers, so they can stand up and take advantage of all the R&Ding and testing and dogfooding that we use in our own clouds," Chuang says.

Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading's cloud services content channel.

VMware's cloud offering is both smaller and newer than the competition. AWS started in 2006, while vCloud Air launched as vCloud Hybrid Service in 2013. (See VMware Outlines Strategy.)

In an earnings call last week, VMware said vCloud Air and SaaS products account for about $85 million for the quarter. By comparison, Google was expected to pull in $1.6 billion from its enterprise cloud services last year, according to an estimate from Technology Business Research. (See 'Impressive' NSX Drives VMware Growth.)

Amazon doesn't disclose revenues for its AWS business separate from its other business (although it plans to do so beginning in the current quarter). However, AWS is by far the market leader in cloud services, with 28% worldwide market share last year, compared with 10% for Microsoft, 7% for IBM, and 5% for Google, according to a Synergy Research Group estimate.

So VMware's got some catching up to do with its cloud service.

Cisco is striking similar notes to VMware with Cisco's Intercloud, partnering with CSPs to connect enterprises with public clouds. (See Cisco Gives Its Software Licensing a Makeover, Cisco: Software, Cloud to Be 'Main Focus', and Cisco Beefs Up Its Intercloud, Adds Telco Partners .)

But VMware differentiates by being all-software, says Chuang. "We believe taking a software-defined approach, in which you don't have to be dependent on specific hardware for specific functionality, is a better way to go," he says.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

DHagar 2/3/2015 | 6:05:16 PM
Re: VMware Bridging Public/Private Clouds MitchWagner, understand the common talk.  It seems that the leadership role will be claimed by those who can move beyond talk and deliver? 
Mitch Wagner 2/3/2015 | 5:41:25 PM
Re: VMware Bridging Private/Public Clouds VMWare's talk about enterprises needing more agility is similar to many companies' pitches for software networks, including Cisco and Brocade. It applies to carriers too.
DHagar 2/3/2015 | 2:37:43 PM
Re: VMware Bridging Private/Public Clouds MitchWagner, very impressive design and solution.  It should put VMware in a good position to become a strong competitor.  It appears that they have put together a well integrated solution that "simplifies" the service capability offerings for the customer. 

They have all the right pieces - maybe the "secret sauce"!  But truly, the software-defined networks and the design they have put together, including with OpenStack, is well thought out.  It will be challenging for the other services to match these capabilities for customers with growing demands.

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