AWS & VMware Partner - Industry Viewpoint

18 October 2016 | By John Merryman

VMware & AWS Partnership

The recent VMware & AWS partnership announcement raised specter across the industry last week, notably questioning why would VMware do this and why is it good for AWS? In support of quick reading and pointed content, here's a quick breakdown of the impacts:

VMware blind spots

  • Provisioning time and Elasticity
  • Lack of app/database/api services
  • Limited adoption for vCloudAir and vCloud - vSphere continues to represent the lionshare of VMware revenues and install base

AWS blind spots

  • No real on-premises or hybrid solution set
  • Limited integration with traditional hypervisors (or scale-out, bursting integration points)
  • Limited enterprise-style management tools

Hybrid Cloud Market - Big Picture

If you think about the IT industry as a gigantic chess board, AWS and VMware are both playing in the middle and have powerful roles to play across private and public cloud. Let's say in terms of lethal potency, AWS and VMware are bishops on different colored squares, given the current landscape where each company respectively owns a lion share of the public and on-premises estate and there is no real overlap between them.

AWS doesn't have an answer to on-premises compute with the exception of the vCenter connector and the Eucalyptus partner capability. VMware placed big bets on the service provider community to deliver on vCloud, however this strategy is still in gestation putting it kindly. And while AWS originally broadly promoted an all or nothing proposition to enterprise clients (aka friends don't let friends build datacenters) but has softened this in the last year to accommodate hybrid adoption scenarios as a mainstream reality.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure is poised for mid-2017 release of Azure Stack - which will offer customers a highly integrated experience across private infrastructure and public compute services. Neither AWS or VMware are well positioned to compete across hybrid use-cases, but if you look at this otherwise unnatural union it starts to make more sense.

For the Customer

The most appealing aspect of the partnership is that VMware customers with long-term investments and ELA can continue to run vSphere but transition to an elastic compute model where it runs on an elastic bare-metal service provided by AWS. While there is no networking or security enhancements (IAM, VPCs, etc. are all non-relevant to this integration), the time to provision, run, and still maintain control of in-house designs will be appealing to some customers who need to address the 'cloud problem' but lack the appetite for transition into the EC2 environment wholesale. For AWS, this means they just acquired the world's leader in hypervisor compute as a new customer, and millions of workloads now facing another path into AWS.

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