VMware Exec: Don't Confuse Our Public Cloud Trial With Production Service

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One of VMware's top executives is looking to diffuse marketplace confusion over the vendor's public cloud trial service and the production public cloud offering -- called vCloud Hybrid Service -- it's planning to launch next month.

VMware's public cloud trial, called vCloud Hybrid Evaluation, lets customers move workloads back and forth between their on-premise infrastructure and a VMware-powered public cloud operated by an anonymous service provider partner.

VCloud Hybrid Evaluation isn't intended for production workloads, and its primary purpose is to let customers get acquainted with vCloud Director, a cloud resource management tool that is notoriously difficult for the uninitiated to set up.

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"We wanted to provide customers with an easy way to try out a vCloud without installing and configuring vCloud Director in their environments," Mathew Lodge, vice president of cloud services at VMware, said in an interview earlier this week. He described the trial service as a "fairly vanilla" offering with simplified functionality.

The vCloud Hybrid Service, which VMware is planning to launch on May 21, is a completely different animal. VMware has built this service from the ground up to handle production workloads, according to Lodge. Both the trial and the production service are built on the vCloud Suite, but that's where the similarities end, Lodge told CRN.

Lodge said VMware is running vCloud Hybrid Service in "multiple data centers" in the U.S., but made it clear that this is the only aspect of the service that VMware isn't handling itself. "vCloud Hybrid Service is owned and operated by VMware -- we run the entire service top to bottom," he said.

Lodge declined to say which service provider data centers are involved. He also declined to talk about what vCloud Hybrid Service will cost, noting that more information will be made available at a later date.

VMware appears to be treading carefully to avoid the impression that it's favoring some service provider partners over others. It is also planning to offer partners the intellectual property it has developed around cloud service delivery and software-defined networking architecture.

This IP will be part of the cost of the VMware Service Provider Program, or VSPP, which includes all the tools service providers need to build a cloud, Lodge said.

VMware has created a hybrid cloud SKU for distribution to make it easy for partners to sell, and it is also letting partners bill their customers directly for the vCloud Hybrid Service capacity they consume.

"Partners told us they weren't getting that from other cloud providers," Lodge said. "The challenge with other cloud services is that they're not channel friendly."

Instead of spending vast sums on building its own data centers for public cloud services, VMware is using partners' data centers to get up to speed quickly. As for the vCloud Hybrid Service itself, VMware believes its enterprise background gives it a leg up on public cloud competitors.

"The key point is that our approach is about solving the problem for enterprise," Lodge told CRN. "Our approach has to be different, otherwise it's just a me-too offering."

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