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Expansions to VMware Cloud on AWS continue hybrid cloud push

Wider availability of VMware Cloud on AWS to 13 worldwide regions, along with VMware's adjusted software release cadence, reflects the realities of the cloud and hybrid cloud world.

VMware's hybrid cloud march continues with added availability for VMware Cloud on AWS, along with several product updates that give customers fresh options for both the virtualized data center world and public cloud platforms.

VMware Cloud on AWS, underpinned by VMware's Cloud Foundation software stack released in August 2017, is now generally available in 13 AWS regions around the world, a jump from five regions at launch, and now includes Canada (Central), Paris and Singapore. The two companies pledge to bring VMware Cloud on AWS to all major AWS regions this year.

More than 60 partner companies now build or deliver managed services for the platform, while nearly 300 have achieved the VMware Cloud on AWS Solution Competency one year after the partner program's launch, the company said.

A series of related product disclosures this week also advance VMware's hybrid cloud push:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation 3.7 will be available on Dell EMC VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure appliances in its current fiscal quarter, which began in February. The combination, in preview since November, reflects the close ties between the two Dell Technologies subsidiaries, which gives customers advantages in engineering and integration, VMware said. Cloud Foundation 3.7 also supports VMware Horizon 7 virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • VMware also updated vCloud Director, its management tool set for VMware environments that span on premises and public clouds, as well as vCloud Availability 3.0, which is integrated with vCloud Director and provides migration and disaster recovering tools. VCloud Director 3.0 now has increased scalability and an extensibility framework to connect third-party products to cloud environments, as well as an improved user interface and the tie-in to vCloud director to increase user efficiency, VMware said.
  • VMware's CloudHealth software for cloud cost management has added capabilities for reporting, and now integrates with VMware's Wavefront cloud analytics and monitoring product. Customers can view cloud costs alongside real-time usage data and can help them make more efficient deployment choices, VMware said.

 VMware hybrid cloud cadence marches on

There is no big-bang element to VMware's disclosures this week, but perhaps that's by design. Historically, VMware would drop releases on a quarterly cycle, but now it's continuous, said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC.

IDC analyst Gary ChenGary Chen

"It's more that [VMware] is embracing the cloud model," he said. "If something is ready, it doesn't have to wait for some quarterly release date. It will help them better compete."

VMware has garnered more than 1,000 customers for VMware Cloud on AWS, said Ajay Patel, senior vice president of product development and cloud services, although he declined to say how many are in production, versus development and test scenarios.

Customers consider several factors when they weigh the cost to run VMware on AWS, and VMware has made concessions on price to make the move more attractive. Last year, it reduced the number of required hosts on AWS from four to three hosts. VMware added further incentives when it allowed customers to get three hosts for the price of two until August 2019, according to the VMware Cloud on AWS product page.

VMware needs AWS a little bit more than the other way around.
Gary ChenAnalyst, IDC

Overall, the AWS-VMware partnership represents the type of activity that IT decision-makers want to see from major vendors as they adopt public and hybrid cloud, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, in Cupertino, Calif.

AWS and VMware deepened their relationship last year with the reveal of AWS Outposts, a managed hardware and software system that will run inside customers' data centers. Customers can use their VMware control plane and APIs on Outposts, or a native version that incorporates AWS' own management tools.

From a competitive standpoint, AWS and VMware are strange bedfellows. The former wants to move the world's vast amount of on-premises VMware workloads onto its public cloud infrastructure, but the latter has a built-in advantage.

"VMware needs AWS a little bit more than the other way around," IDC's Chen said. "Where VMware has the edge is the installed base. The whole migration play, what do you do with all these VMware workloads, they can make that much more seamless."

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