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VMware Shows New Love for Public Clouds and Containers

In recent months and years, many have come to question VMware’s commitment to public clouds and containers used by enterprise data centers (EDCs). No one disputes that VMware has a solid footprint in EDCs and that it is in no immediate danger of being displaced. However, many have wondered how or if it will engage with public cloud providers such as Amazon as well as how it would address threats posed by Docker. At VMworld 2017, VMware showed new love for these two technologies that should help to alleviate these concerns.

Public cloud offerings such as are available from Amazon and container technologies such as what Docker offers have captured the fancy of enterprise organizations and for good reasons. Public clouds provide an ideal means for organizations of all size to practically create hybrid private-public clouds for disaster recovery and failover. Similarly, container technologies expedite and simplify application testing and development as well as provide organizations new options to deploy applications into production with even fewer resources and overhead than what virtual machines require.

However, the rapid adoption and growth of these two technologies in the last few years among enterprises had left VMware somewhat on the outside looking in. While VMware had its own public cloud offering, vCloud Air, it did not compete very well with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as vCloud Air was primarily a virtualization platform. This feature gap probably led to VMware’s decision to create a strategic alliance with Amazon in October 2016 to run its vSphere-based cloud services on AWS and its subsequent decision in May 2017 to divest itself of vCloud Air altogether and sell it to OVH.

This strategic partnership between AWS and VMware became a reality at VMworld 2017 with the announcement of the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS.  Using VMware Cloud Foundation, administrators can use a single interface to manage their vSphere deployments whether reside locally or in Amazon’s cloud. The main caveat is this service is currently only available in the AWS US West region. VMware expects to roll this program out throughout the rest of AWS’s regions worldwide in 2018.

VMware’s pricing for this offering is as follows

Region: US West (Oregon)

On-Demand (hourly)

1 Year Reserved*

3 Year Reserved*

List Price ($ per host)

$8.3681

$51,987

$109,366

Effective Monthly**

$6,109

$4,332

$3,038

Savings Over On-Demand

30%

50%

*Coming Soon. Pricing Option Available at Initial Availability: Redeem HPP or SPP credits for on-demand consumption model.
**Effective monthly pricing is shown to help you calculate the amount of money that a 1-year and 3-year term commitment will save you over on-demand pricing. When you purchase a term commitment, you are billed for every hour during the entire term that you select, regardless of whether the instances are running or not.

Source: VMware

The other big news coming out of VMworld was its response to the threat/opportunity presented by container technologies. To tackle this issue, it partnered with Pivotal Software, Inc., and collaborated with Google Cloud to offer the new Pivotal Container Service (PKS) that combines the Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware’s software-defined data center infrastructure offerings.

Source: Pivotal Software

One of the major upsides of this offering is a defined, supported code level for use by enterprises for testing and development. Container technologies are experiencing a tremendous of change and innovation. While this may foretell great things for container platforms, this degree of innovation makes it difficult for enterprises to do predictable and meaningful application testing and development when the underlying code base is changing so swiftly.

By Google, Pivotal, and VMware partnering to deliver this platform, enterprises have access to a more predictable, stable, and supported container code base than what they might obtain independently. Further, they can have more confidence that the the platform on which they test their code will work in VMware environments in the months and years to come.

VMware’s commitment to public cloud and container providers has been somewhat unclear over the past few years. But what VMware made clear at this year’s VMworld is that it no longer views cloud and container providers such as Amazon and Google as threats. Rather, it finally embraced what its customers already understood. VMware excels at virtualization and Amazon and Google excel at cloud and container technologies. At VMworld 2017, it admitted to itself and the whole world that if you could not beat them, join them which was the right move for move VMware and the customers it seeks to serve.

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Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Lead Analyst of DCIG, Inc. Jerome Wendt is the President and Lead Analyst of DCIG Inc., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in September 2006.

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