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Clarity is key in improving VMware private cloud strategy

VMware has stressed its dedication to the private cloud. The SearchVMware Advisory Board weighs in on what VMware needs to do to take the next step.

VMware has been looking to make a bigger splash in the cloud market and it made that abundantly clear at XChange Solution Provider 2016. Frank Rauch, vice president, Americas Partner Organization at VMware, was addressing VMware private cloud and the software giant's cloud strategy at the show.

"We want to own -- we want to crush -- the private cloud," Rauch told the attendees. That one sentence speaks volumes about the VMware cloud strategy and where the company wants to go with the private cloud, but it is not there yet.

SearchVMware asked its advisory board members for their thoughts on VMware private cloud and the company's cloud strategy. We wanted to know what VMware needs to do to accomplish the goal of owning the private cloud. We also wanted to know where they think VMware stands in the cloud management game.

Alastair Cooke

The problem with VMware's cloud strategy is that it cannot deliver public cloud, at least not as it is most commonly delivered by AWS.

When VMware claims that it wants to own the private cloud and crush the competition … it knows it can say that because it offers all the tools and components needed to build a great private cloud offering.
Rob Bastiaansen

That leaves us with VMware private cloud. So what is private cloud? If it is an on premises, company owned version of AWS, then VMware will not deliver it and nor will anyone else. A more likely private cloud is Microsoft's Azure pack. This will be an on-premises version of the Azure public cloud. VMware cannot deliver this and I suspect is rather scared that Microsoft will deliver what customers want.

VMware confused the private cloud market by starting with vCloud Director and then changing to vRealize Automation long before that product was ready for real customers to easily use it. With VMware's heavily entrenched enterprise data center position, the private cloud was its game to own. So far it looks like it is losing.

Recently Intel has pushed a "Cloud for All" initiative that will ease the pain of deploying an OpenStack based cloud. Intel is joining Microsoft in the effort to keep VMware private cloud behind in the race for the top.

Paul Korzeniowski

VMware has done a good job of leveraging its leading position as a virtualization supplier to become a key supplier of private cloud offerings. The vendor has moved aggressively to deliver add-on functions that customers desire. Moving forward, its main competition appears to be OpenStack, an open source private cloud ecosystem. VMware has the advantage of being able to operate autonomously and quickly address emerging customer desires. OpenStack may become bogged down in the open source enhancement process but will appeal to businesses with multiple private clouds. VMware private cloud, along with OpenStack, should gain significant traction as the private cloud market continues to mature.

Rob Bastiaansen

When VMware claims that it wants to own the private cloud and crush the competition -- because what else is there to crush? -- it knows it can say that because it offers all the tools and components needed to build a great private cloud offering.

I'm not too sure … if customers understand what's involved in building a VMware private cloud. Surely VMware offers product suites that contain all or almost all components that customers need, but from a customer's perspective there are a lot of components involved. Existing customers very often see products as separate elements needed to build a cloud offering. I believe a more holistic view on the total package for building a private cloud would make it simpler to identify what's needed to transfer a legacy data center into a software-defined data center. And especially for existing customers, a more integrated management platform would simplify the deployment of their own cloud.

Sander van Vugt

I think that VMware has been searching for the right cloud strategy. It has changed directions, shifting the focus away from vCloud Air and toward VMware Integrated OpenStack. By adopting OpenStack -- which is an open standard as the default VMware cloud offering -- VMware can benefit from contributions made to OpenStack by anyone. With the contributions made, it's easier for VMware to develop its own OpenStack distribution.

OpenStack definitely is the way forward, but now the message has to be passed throughout the VMware organization. Too many VMware applications still offer vCloud Air integration only, and too many don't offer any VMware Integrated OpenStack integration. One example is the latest version of VMware Fusion. Choosing OpenStack as its default cloud offering was a good move, but now VMware really needs to start working on passing this message throughout the company, so that customers stop receiving confusing messages about the VMware cloud strategy.

Next Steps

Pitting OpenStack against VMware private cloud

Looking at private cloud management software

What private cloud management tools you should buy

This was last published in April 2016

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