Microsoft: VMware Suffering From Public Cloud Identity Crisis


VMware threw a coming out party this week for its public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, inviting investors to hear about what amounts to a major strategic shift for the company. Microsoft wasn't on the guest list, but still tried its best to cast a pall over the proceedings.

In a Wednesday blog post timed to coincide with VMware's announcement, Amy Barzdukas, general manager of Microsoft's Server and Tools marketing unit, described VMware's new offering, called vCloud Hybrid Service, as "just another example of how IT vendors have been rearranging the furniture to more effectively deliver what they already have on the shelf."

[Related: VMware Exec: We Built Public Cloud IaaS With Partners In Mind]

VMware says vCloud Hybrid Service, slated for launch in the second quarter, extends its private cloud management, orchestration, networking and security model to the public cloud, allowing customers to easily move workloads back and forth.

It's a similar strategy to the one Microsoft has been pursuing with Windows Azure and System Center. And like Microsoft, VMware wants to showcase its ability to solve the management challenges hybrid cloud poses, which could be why the software giant is stepping up its long running attacks on its rival.

VMware says it will operate and manage vCloud Hybrid Service but has not yet specified whose infrastructure it will actually run on or what it will cost.

Barzdukas zeroed in on the ambiguity, noting that Microsoft is well established in the public cloud with Windows Azure and has plenty of experience running large scale public cloud services such as Office 365, Outlook.com (nee Hotmail) and Xbox Live.

VMware, Barzdukas suggested, has none of this expertise. Worse, it has confused the market with what she characterized as a meandering cloud message.

"If I were a VMware customer, I’d be asking myself -- do I really want to place my bets -- and the future of my IT department -- on a vendor that can’t decide what it wants to be as the cloud grows up?" she said in the blog post.

A VMware spokesperon reached by CRN Friday declined to comment on Microsoft's assertions

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week vCloud Hybrid Service would be a "VMware-provided service" but said the company would use partners' existing infrastructure instead of building and operating its own. At this stage, though, VMware hasn't specified which partners or how such an arrangement would work.

Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, an Oakland, Calif.-based Microsoft virtualization partner, says it's difficult to envision VMware getting into the data center infrastructure space. "It would make sense if they've partnered with someone who already has data centers and knows the game of managing data centers," he told CRN.

VMware used to ignore Microsoft's bluster, but last year it started fighting back. Last June, former VMware CTO Steve Herrod told CRN Microsoft has a tendency to talk about unreleased products as if they're already available.

"Hyper-V has been 'around the corner' for seven years now," Herrod, who left VMware in January for a position with venture capital firm General Catalyst, told CRN at the time. "Hyper-V v3 isn't shipping yet and they've been talking about it for a year and a half."

PUBLISHED MARCH 14, 2013

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