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

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Aware that some partners might be freaked out by its entry to public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, VMware is endeavoring to show them there's no cause for alarm.

VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service, unveiled Wednesday and slated for launch in the second quarter, marks VMware's entry to public cloud IaaS, which had previously been the exclusive domain of its service provider partners. The service lets customers move workloads between on-premise private clouds and public cloud infrastructure that VMware manages and operates.

With vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware is extending its on-premise management, orchestration, networking and security model to the public cloud, which at this stage lacks some of the higher-end features that enterprises crave.


[Related: VMware Confirms Public Cloud IaaS, Launches Hybrid Cloud Unit]

In VMware's conference with Wall Street analysts Wednesday, COO and Co-President Carl Eschenbach said channel partners will play a central role in selling the service. "We're not going to do it alone," he said at the event. "We think it's critical for VMware and partners to bring this to market together."

VMware is putting a hybrid cloud SKU into distribution that partners can sell without having to invest in building out their own infrastructure, Eschenbach said. VMware is also creating a mechanism to allow partners to handle billing and invoicing for VMware's public cloud component.

Service providers who've spent millions on building out VMware infrastructure might not be thrilled at the prospect of competing with the vendor. To smooth ruffled feathers, VMware plans to share with service provider partners the intellectual property it has worked on for more than a year, which includes services and software-defined networking architecture, Eschenbach said.

"We will provide all of this IP to service providers that want to leverage our software-defined data center stack and the automation and provisioning tools on top," he said.

VMware still isn't talking about its pricing model for vCloud Hybrid Service, though Eschenbach did reveal that there will be two options: A fixed capacity model, similar to a virtual private cloud, and a variable consumption-based model. VMware will be "price-competitive" with other service providers, Eschenbach said.

Though not unexpected, VMware's public cloud debut stands to shake up the business models of at least some of VMware's partners. For Tom Nats, managing partner at Bit Refinery, a Denver-based VMware service provider, vCloud Hybrid Service is not a welcome development.

"Many partners have built up [their infrastructure] and stayed true to VMware, and now all of a sudden we are competing with them," Nats told CRN.

NEXT: What VMware's Largest Service Providers Think

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