Cloud Computing

Cloud and Hosting Industry Reacts to VMware’s Unified Cloud Strategy

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VMware made a series of announcements last week in support of unified “One Cloud” platform for the hybrid cloud that, according to the company, is the “first unified platform for the hybrid cloud.”

On Monday, Feb. 2, VMware announced several updates that support this One Cloud effort including the new vSphere 6 platform, VMware Integrated OpenStack, Virtual SAN 6, vSphere Virtual Volumes, and vCloud Air Hybrid Networking Services.

With VMware being a direct provider hybrid and public cloud services through vCloud as well as through its ecosystem of cloud service provider partners, many voices from the hosting and cloud community have weighed in on VMware’s new capabilities and what it means for the industry.

Red Hat Cloud Product Strategy GM Bryan Che took to the Red Hat blog to explain that, while appealing, the idea that One Cloud could offer a single unified cloud for running both cloud-native and traditional applications will inevitably run into problems. “[B]y attempting to mash these two worlds together, all One Cloud provides is one limited cloud that is not optimized to run any workload,” Che writes.

Cloud-native applications (which are architected to be horizontally scalable and resilient against VMs shutting down) and traditional applications (which are designed scale up to bigger VMs rather than scale out requiring resiliency) have have different infrastructure requirements.

Cloud-native apps running on a scale-out OpenStack cloud are limited in their capacity to scale out when OpenStack is running on a scale-up platform like vSphere or Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for that matter. He also notes, “OpenStack is not optimized to run traditional workloads, so you end up with one cloud that runs both cloud-native and traditional apps, but neither very well.”

In a blog post, Mirantis’ Jodi Smith notes that VMware’s OpenStack business is quickly growing due to enterprise IT’s interest in OpenStack. By including OpenStack under its hybrid cloud umbrella, VMware gives its current customers an option to transition to OpenStack without changing vendors.

Smith notes that VMware is also trying to stay ahead of the trend towards containers with its Open Container API. “VMware keeps finding ways for customers to keep using their tools as they march boldly into the brave new world of the cloud,” she writes.

In an interview with The WHIR, Carl Brooks, who covers cloud computing and the next generation of IT infrastructure for 451 Research, says that VMware has been doing a good job of enhancing its enterprise offerings over the past year to compete with Amazon’s growing enterprise services division, as well as companies like HP, IBM and Oracle which go after large enterprise clients.

A major appeal of VMware and its newly enhanced services, he says, is that enterprise IT can get these new capabilities but with the VMware interfaces with which they’re familiar as well as managed services and support.

Enterprises using VMware have the option of using the vCloud Air IaaS run by VMware or outsource their data center or managed infrastructure through vCloud Air partners like Bluelock or Carpathia.

“There are tons and tons of VMware hosters out there and also selling the vCloud air technology stack into the enterprise and what they really want this to mean for enterprises is to say ‘all your needs are met by this one thing,’” Brooks says.

VMware has built a reputation as the default IT vendor for many large enterprises, and rather than risk losing its relevance, it’s positioning itself as a trusted way for customers to gain the benefits of hybrid cloud. He says, “They want to set themselves up – as they essentially have in the past – as the gatekeeper of record for infrastructure automation and orchestration.”

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