VMware executives have Amazon on the brain, and by attacking Amazon's stronghold in the public cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service space, they're hoping to find a cure for their obsession.
VMware's public cloud IaaS, which has been in the works for the better part of a year, is currently in limited beta and is slated to be unveiled in mid-April, sources familiar with VMware's plans told CRN this week. It's designed to allow customers to move their on-premise private cloud workloads to public cloud infrastructure that's owned and operated by VMware, sources said.
This is a surprising departure from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor's longstanding strategy of letting service providers handle public cloud IaaS exclusively. But Amazon's steady inroads in public cloud, and the possibility that customers could start using it for critical workloads, have apparently convinced VMware to change its approach.
VMware didn't respond to a request for comment for this story but has previously said it doesn't respond to rumors or speculation.
Amazon EC2 is viewed in some industry circles as "rogue IT" that has flourished only because of the lack of enterprise-appropriate alternatives. By staking a claim in public cloud IaaS now, VMware is aiming to solve challenges that Amazon has yet to address.
VMware's public cloud will include orchestration, automation, management and security features that will appeal to enterprise customers and keep them away from Amazon, sources told CRN. With tools such as DynamicOps and vCenter Operations, which can monitor workloads in public cloud environments, VMware is setting itself up to handle management in heterogeneous environments.
EMC, which owns about 80 percent of VMware shares, is playing an important role in VMware's public cloud project. EMC's Avamar backup and recovery products will be integrated with VMware's public cloud by the end of the year, and EMC has committed Avamar engineers to speed the process, sources told CRN.
EMC is also embedding vSphere into its VNX storage products, which are optimized for virtual apps, and this will allow VNX to tie seamlessly into the VMware public cloud, sources said.
Last year, VMware and EMC were reportedly working on a pair of IaaS-related initiatives, Project Zephyr and Project Rubicon, but VMware's forthcoming public cloud IaaS is a separate project, sources told CRN.
VMware's public cloud IaaS will run on the same vCloud stack its service providers are using, along with vCloud Director, VMware's management platform for coordinating pools of virtual resources.
While it's unclear at this stage what the pricing model will look like, sources told CRN VMware could drive prices down even further in the public cloud space, which is already seeing rampant competition.
NEXT: Service Providers Weigh In On VMware's Public Cloud