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VMware Seeks Cloud Dominance by Building Bridges

Mitch Wagner

LAS VEGAS -- VMworld 2016 -- Judging by recent news, Pokémon Go and multi-cloud connectivity are the hottest substances in the universe. And, VMware has become the latest player to jump into the game (multi-cloud connectivity -- not Pokémon Go) with a new platform and orchestration tools designed to let enterprises and service providers deploy a common operating environment spanning private, hybrid and public clouds, including IBM, Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

VMware launched its Cross-Cloud Architecture Monday, with a partnership with IBM Cloud and plans to extend to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure and Amazon Web Services Inc. The architecture is designed to let network operators manage; provide uniform policies; and secure applications running across public, private and hybrid clouds.

Cross-Cloud Architecture is available in two main parts:

  • The VMware Cloud Foundation is designed to allow network operators to launch private clouds and extend them to the public cloud.

  • Cross Cloud Services, announced as a technology preview, runs applications across multiple public clouds, including IBM, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google, as well as VMware's vCloud Air hybrid cloud architecture and the vCloud Air Network of 4,000 service providers.

    The new multi-cloud products and services accelerate digital transformation, said John Gilmartin, VMware GM and VP, integrated systems business unit, at a press conference late Sunday previewing the products. Infrastructure is an obstacle to that transformation.

    "The infrastructure still stands in the way," he said. "[Network operators are] still spending a lot of time and people in plugging components, and spending a lot of time managing change in the infrastructure."

    VMware Cloud Foundation integrates vSphere server virtualization, VSAN storage networking and NSX networking, along with a new element, SDDC Manager, which automates lifecycle management and operations.

    Cloud Foundation will be available as a service, where users can select capacity, and on demand deployment, similar to a public cloud. The first partner on the service is IBM Cloud, but VMware plans to extend to other public clouds.

    In addition, VMWare launched VMware Cloud Availability, a set of disaster recovery services that will be available to enterprises from service providers in the vCloud Air Network. And, VMware launched the vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager to provide vSphere private cloud users zero downtime migrating applications to the vCloud Air hybrid cloud.

    The Cross-Cloud Architecture will provide an essential orchestration layer that helps network operators coordinate cloud applications, said Jean Bozman, vice president at Hurwitz & Associates.

    "It's a set of mechanisms that are going to provide a more unified view of everything, undoubtedly based on virtualization," Bozman said. "We've already said virtualization is a stepping stone to the cloud."

    VMware is looking to bring the availability and security taken for granted in traditional data center into the multi-cloud environment, she said.

    Networking and cloud have been growth drivers for VMware, as its traditional server virtualization business slows. (See VMware Revenues Leap on Networking, Cloud .)

    Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

    As it steps up in multi-cloud, VMware is in a crowded, competitive field. Microsoft Azure, the number two cloud provider worldwide, is focused on hybrid cloud architecture, extending its enterprise software to Azure. (See Microsoft: Cloud Growth Fails to Offset Overall Revenue Decline.)

    And Google is making "multi-cloud" its by-word, touting open source and application portability. (See Google: 'Dead Serious' About Enterprise Cloud and Google Buys Orbitera: Why You Should Care.)

    Rackspace was a pioneer in public cloud years ago, but has pivoted in recent years to providing professional services for running applications on AWS and Azure, along with its own OpenStack public cloud. Rackspace got a big endorsement Friday, as Apollo Global Management led a team of investors agreed to acquire the company for $4.3 billion and take it private. (See Rackspace Sale Speeds Pivot to Cloud Support.)

    — Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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