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VMware cloud management successes and pitfalls

VMware's vRealize suite and its acquisitions of CloudHealth and other startups bolstered its cloud management reputation. However, it still has work to do.

Since 2018, VMware has built out its cloud management portfolio and capabilities. Its vRealize suite aims to offer customers cost management, performance optimization and cloud migration assistance, among other boons, and it has made several key cloud acquisitions to further expand its capabilities.

However, it still has work to do. VMware got a late start in this niche market -- falling behind key competitors -- and its cloud security trajectory raised some eyebrows. Nevertheless, VMware continues to grow and gain momentum in the cloud management market.

What is vRealize Operations Cloud?

VMware released vRealize Operations Cloud along with its eighth release of vRealize Operations. VRealize Operations Cloud provides unified cloud management with all the features of vRealize Operations 8.0, but it's delivered as a SaaS. It enables you to monitor and troubleshoot applications and infrastructure, manage capacity and cost, and implement compliance with the help of AI technology, predictive analytics and machine learning.

VRealize Operations Cloud focuses specifically on four main areas of management:

  • Continuous performance optimization
  • Efficient capacity and cost management
  • Intelligent remediation
  • Integrated compliance

Other vRealize suite capabilities

In addition to vRealize Operations Cloud, the vRealize suite has pushed VMware cloud management capabilities forward in other ways as well. VRealize Network Insight, vRealize Automation and vRealize Lifecycle Manager all offer additional cloud management features. Many vRealize suite products focus on capacity planning, cost management and cloud migration assistance, and vRealize can provide a single console from which you can manage both cloud and on-premises resources.

Cost management is especially crucial when it comes to cloud environments, because public cloud providers can become costly over time -- even in a hybrid cloud scenario, in which the infrastructure spans both private and public cloud environments. VRealize offers cost reference information for major cloud providers, such as AWS and Google Cloud Platform. Additionally, in late 2018, VMware acquired CloudHealth Technologies, which complements its vRealize suite to bolster its cloud cost management capabilities. VRealize offers operational efficiency and automation, and CloudHealth offers collaboration, governance and optimization capabilities.

VMware cloud management acquisitions

VMware's acquisition of CloudHealth, now known as CloudHealth by VMware, added a great deal to the vendor's multi-cloud management capabilities. CloudHealth enables organizations to centrally manage cloud environments that span AWS, Microsoft and Google services.

CloudHealth's initial focus as a business was on tracking and optimizing cloud computing costs. Now, it also enables organizations to allocate resources more easily, migrate applications across platforms and monitor the performance of cloud resources to manage costs.

Following its acquisition of CloudHealth, VMware acquired several other cloud management startups to fill out its cloud management line: Cloud Assembly, for multi-cloud automation and orchestration; Wavefront, for cross-cloud monitoring; CloudCoreo for cloud security assessments; and CloudVelox for cloud workload mobility.

Pitfalls of VMware and cloud management

VMware had a slow start entering the multi-cloud management market, which gave key competitors, such as Oracle and DXC Technology, a head start. And when it did finally release vRealize, it only provided support for VMware cloud environments. That approach excluded potential customers who used alternative cloud environments, such as AWS and Google Cloud. VMware also fell short in its quest to develop its own public cloud service, vCloud Air, which it sold in 2017 to French hosting company OVH after it failed to gain traction.

However, the release of vRealize Cloud Operations and the improvements that came with it, along with the recent acquisitions, have VMware's cloud management push gaining momentum. Nevertheless, the vendor still has work to do if it wants to become a leader in cloud management, such as integrating its services with specific vendor platforms, including Microsoft Azure.

VMware and cloud security

Most public cloud vendors provide their own security for customers. But in 2019, VMware bolstered its security suite with the acquisition of security startup Carbon Black, and it has since incorporated Carbon Black technology into its Cloud Foundation. The goal is to replace legacy security systems and provide consistent data protection across both private and public clouds.

VMware plans to provide customers with new approaches to cloud security and to streamline its security line in the process. However, some question about the efficacy of this move: Customers might have doubts about bringing in a third party for security that's already provided, and deployment models are shifting toward security heterogeneity in cloud environments.

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