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VMware swallows CloudHealth with eye on multi-cloud market

VMware wants to simplify management of complex multi-cloud environments -- this time through the acquisition of third-party SaaS provider CloudHealth.

LAS VEGAS -- VMware's acquisition of multi-cloud management company CloudHealth Technologies underscores its desire to play a bigger role as enterprises expand their use of multiple IaaS providers.

CloudHealth, based in Boston, provides a multi-cloud management platform that helps enterprises centrally manage cloud resources from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The SaaS offering includes capabilities to track and optimize cloud computing costs; monitor the performance and usage of resources, such as virtual machines; and implement governance policies and access controls across a range of IaaS platforms. Terms of the deal, expected to close in VMware's fiscal third quarter of 2019, were not disclosed.

CloudHealth will complement VMware's own portfolio of multi-cloud management tools, including the Cloud Automation Services rolled out at VMworld 2018 here this week, as well as some of the vRealize Suite, the company said.

The virtualization provider provided few details around how exactly it will integrate the two sets of technologies down the line, but the multi-cloud management market's relative immaturity means it has time to chart that course, said Stephen Elliot, program vice president and analyst at IDC.

"The reality is that these enterprises are still very early, contrary to the hype," Elliot said. Many organizations use multiple public clouds today, but in silos and without centralized control. "There is time here to be thoughtful about what that integration roadmap is going to look like and what they should prioritize from an R&D standpoint," he said.

That idea of a single point of operations for cloud services that span a range of platforms and vendors is appealing, said Richard Hall, enterprise solutions manager at Pacific Gas and Electric Co., based in San Francisco.

"Right now, we use AWS and some SaaS services, and we have a lot of point solutions for our cloud tools," he said. "So, seeing that kind of aggregation is really interesting for us."

CloudHealth's 3,800 customers include both enterprises and managed service providers who use the platform to manage multi-cloud environments on their clients' behalf. The deal ultimately stemmed from conversations with VMware regarding a potential partnership, said Joe Kinsella, CloudHealth's founder and CTO.

We use AWS and some SaaS services, and we have a lot of point solutions for our cloud tools. ... That kind of aggregation is really interesting for us.
Richard Hallenterprise solutions manager, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Despite the acquisition, CloudHealth will continue to support multiple vendors moving forward.

"It won't strictly be limited to a VMware portfolio," Kinsella said. "It will be whatever it is that customers need to manage their business services."

The deal underscores VMware's efforts to bulk up its multi-cloud strategy, with a portfolio bolstered by several recent acquisitions:

  • Wavefront's cross-cloud monitoring;
  • CloudCoreo's cloud security assessments; and
  • CloudVelox for workload mobility.

Given CloudHealth's support for numerous public cloud providers, it also suggests the vendor will expand its public IaaS focus beyond just AWS.

VMware's own Cloud Automation Services suite supports Azure, in addition to AWS, and the company plans to support GCP.

The deal is also just one of what's likely to be many acquisitions in the multi-cloud management market. Microsoft, for its part, acquired multi-cloud cost monitoring vendor Cloudyn in July 2017. Other third-party multi-cloud management tools include RightScale, Scalr and Cloudability.

"I think this is just the start of additional acquisitions in this space and, more broadly, in cloud management," Elliot said.

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