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An inside look into VMware's new hybrid cloud strategy

Brandon Butler | Feb. 4, 2015
Major new updates to vSphere and vSAN, combined with a big partnership with Google position VMware to take on Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud.

During the past week VMware has been making power play moves in the cloud computing market to position its offering as the premier enterprise hybrid cloud computing platform. As it does so, however, analysts question how well the grand plan VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has put together stacks up with heavyweights of the cloud computing market, most specifically Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

VMware has thrown down the gauntlet recently, with new versions of its popular vSphere virtualization platform, cutting-edge software defined networking (SDN) capabilities, an integration with the open source cloud management platform OpenStack and a blockbuster partnership with Google's Cloud Platform. VMware is making moves to redefine itself as a major player in the cloud computing market. The question is now, will it work?

The strength of VMware's approach to the cloud market stems from its stronghold in compute virtualization technology, which the company pioneered with its ESX hypervisor in the early 2000s. IDC estimated two years ago that VMware has more than 50% share in the compute virtualization market. VMware is using its dominant position to make the argument that enterprise IT buyers should turn their virtual environments into private clouds using the company's vRealize Management software.

VMware is hoping that as customers look to off-premises public cloud options that they will stick with VMware. Last year the company rolled out vCloud Air, a public cloud. VMware is making the case that customers can chose VMware for both their private and public clouds. This hybrid cloud strategy is summed up by CEO Pat Gelsinger as: "One cloud, any app, any device."

VMware isn't just talking in broad strokes about the strategy, it has tangible products it will deliver to customers. Over the past week VMware has announced major updates to many of them, including:

-vSphere 6: The latest significant update to the company's core virtualization platform includes 650 new features, including the ability to do live migration of VMs over long distances; instant cloning and provisioning of thousands of VMs at a time; and support for 3D NVIDIA graphics processors. These advancements are meant to position vSphere as a platform that can run both scale up applications, like SAP HANA, and scale-out applications like Hadoop. vSphere 6 Standard starts at $995 per CPU.

-Virtual SAN 6: An update to the virtual storage array with increased scalability and performance features, including an all-flash architecture and the ability to scale up to 64 nodes per cluster and process 7 million inputs and outputs per second (IOPS). New Virtual Volumes feature allows vSAN to be "VM-aware," meaning it can be set to automatically provision capacity and data to VMs as needed. It's priced at $2,495 per CPU or $50 per user.


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