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VMware cloud name changes create confusion

VMware renamed several of its cloud-related products, bewildering customers after the company had spent so much effort building up brand recognition.

At VMware's annual conference this year, a big portion of the news focused on the renaming of many of the cloud-related offerings. I thought this VMworld was a bit sleepy, which I've heard repeated from many others.

VMware cloud names get revisions

I will start by saying, I don't care for any of the new cloud naming updates. The old names did not seem that bad. VMware and its partners had spent a lot of effort building name recognition. These name updates cause confusion, which does not help reach the organization's goals. I live near Chicago and still refer to the Willis Tower as the Sears Tower. A lot of good it did the new company to buy the naming rights for the building, as most people in the city will always know and refer to it as the Sears Tower.

The first rebranding announcement came in the days leading up to VMworld. VMware changed the name of VMware Hybrid Cloud Service (vCHS) to vCloud Air. It's puzzling what the Air part represents. VMware spent the last year marketing vCHS; now potential customers will wonder, "What is this Air thing?" The third-party partner vCloud service program was also renamed to vCloud Air Network, which sounds a bit more like a pay-per-use cell phone service than a cloud partner program.

VMware also announced it would offer some of its cloud management tools as a service from its hybrid cloud. You will be able to subscribe to a service to manage your on-site environment or automate and orchestrate resources on-premises with these services.

These Software as a Service offerings will be of interest to some customers, as an easy way to test out the technology. I think VMware is simply focusing on providing the management tool as a service and not offering much extra value.

It's not incredibly difficult to set up a test environment for vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) to see what it can do. So buying it as a service rather than a different cost model is not adding enough value above the traditional method. I think if VMware was to provide additional workflows and automation to customers of the SaaS offering, it would make for a more compelling option. The value of the cloud layer is not in allowing users to provision from a template, but in  the automation and orchestration.

More mystification via vRealize Suite

This is the point where things get totally confusing. The first day of the conference, VMware announced the release of the vRealize Suite. At a high level, this appears to be an update to the vCloud Suite that vCAC joined when VMware purchased DynamicOps. This new suite name focuses on vCAC and related tools for building and managing a hybrid cloud. VMware is keeping vCloud Suite around, but it will be focused on vCloud Director (vCD) for service providers that are building clouds based on vCD technology.

As part of the vRealize Suite, VMware has rebranded vCAC to vRealize Automation. Pardon the pun, but I'm not sure I realize why the name change was needed. VCAC made good sense in what it provided and offered as a product. The new name includes automation, but if you were not informed, you could easily assume it's vCAC or vCenter Orchestrator.

The new VMware cloud names will take a while to get used to. I am very happy to see VMware continue to work on advancing the features of all of these products and further integrate the parts of the vCloud Suite. I will take this name change as a learning experience. I'm betting we hear something within the next year about the names changing back to something more meaningful.

This was last published in September 2014

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