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Google boosts VMware public cloud support with CloudSimple buy

Google has acquired CloudSimple to get a slice of the VMware public cloud deployment market. Indications are that CloudSimple will continue to support Google's rival Azure as well.

Google hopes to meet more enterprises where their core demands are today through the acquisition of CloudSimple, which offers technology for VMware public cloud deployments.

CloudSimple is the technology behind the VMware-Azure integration made available earlier this year. The company was founded in 2016 and its managed VMware service runs on bare-metal, single-tenant hardware inside cloud environments. Customers can move on-premises VMware workloads to the cloud, where they gain the benefits of elastic scale and tighter integration with cloud services, Google said in a blog post. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Common uses for VMware public cloud deployments include data center retirements, disaster recovery, virtual desktops and HPC-oriented applications that can reap the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure.

CloudSimple will apparently continue to support customers who use it in conjunction with rival clouds such as Azure, judging from the blog post, which is attributed to Rich Sanzi, VP of engineering at Google Cloud.

"We believe in a multi-cloud world and will continue to provide choice for our customers to use the best technology in their journey to the cloud," Sanzi said in the blog. A Google spokesperson declined to comment further.

Intent on differentiating itself from rivals AWS and Azure, Google has indeed oriented its messaging around multi-cloud deployments. Its flagship effort, Anthos, became generally available in April and provides a means to run Kubernetes-based container workloads across hybrid environments. The on-premises version of Anthos runs on top of VMware itself.

While Google Cloud would give up IaaS revenue if a customer deploys Anthos on a rival cloud, it has priced Anthos steeply.

Meanwhile, CloudSimple believed that being acquired by a big cloud provider made sense because of the larger investments and deeper integrations this makes possible, CEO Guru Pangal said in a separate blog post.

It comes as some surprise that CloudSimple ended up with Google instead of Microsoft, which made a venture capital investment in the company. Pangal is a former Microsoft employee who sold StorSimple, another startup he co-founded, to Microsoft in 2012.

Google's move makes sense given the importance of VMware workload management across large enterprises, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif. "Google needs to catch up," he said.

We believe in a multi-cloud world and will continue to provide choice for our customers.
Rich SanziVP of engineering, Google Cloud

There's also a competitive intelligence benefit to continue support for other clouds with CloudSimple, he added.

"When you control the engine room, you know where stuff is going."

Microsoft hedged its bets when it comes to VMware public cloud workloads. Along with the CloudSimple partnership, it has an arrangement with Dell Technologies' Virtustream division for a VMware on Azure service that is expected to launch this year.

Virtustream provides a cloud infrastructure layer that it has consistently positioned as best for lift-and-shift cloud migrations for legacy enterprise applications. The Dell brand could resonate with customers who have interest in moving VMware public cloud workloads to Azure, but are less confident in the technology developed by CloudSimple.

Also this week, Google launched the Cloud Acceleration Program (CAP), which is geared toward migrating SAP ERP applications to Google Cloud. It's an extension of the previously unveiled Lighthouse effort and has participation from a gaggle of systems integrators, including Deloitte, Accenture, Atos and Wipro.

It's possible that CAP could become aligned with CloudSimple's technology going forward. SAP and VMware have a long history of partnership around certifying each other's environments.

Moreover, SAP ERP implementations are considered crown jewel targets for cloud vendors given their breadth and stickiness; like its rivals, Google is keen to attract them. The relatively recent arrival of longtime SAP sales chief Robert Enslin as president of cloud sales at Google is seen as a means to this end.

Still, both Microsoft and Google trail AWS in the move toward VMware on the public cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS arrived in August 2017 and has garnered more than 1,000 customers so far, according to VMware.

It's also available more broadly around the world on AWS compared to Azure or Google Cloud, which appeals to customers with complex disaster recovery setups and those with regulatory demands over data residency.

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