VMware Takes Aim At Amazon, Microsoft With vCloud Hybrid Service

highly anticipated hybrid cloud effort, vCloud Hybrid Service

The new offering is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud, built on VMware's vSphere and designed to extend the company's virtualization software into the public cloud. In other words, customers will be able to use VMware's virtualization and software-defined data center technologies for both on- and off-premise environments.

"This is a great milestone for VMware," said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. "Our vision is to radically simplify IT again and again and again."

[Related: VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service: Key Issues For Partners ]

Gelsinger said he believes the vCloud Hybrid Service will help bridge line of business with traditional IT operations and give customers the ability to quickly deploy applications and take advantage of flexible cloud services. While VMware executives didn't name cloud rivals Amazon or Microsoft, they did reference competing cloud offerings during the presentation.

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A big selling point for vCloud Hybrid, according to VMware, is the service's application neutrality. Bill Fathers, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit, said vCloud Hybrid will allow customers to deploy applications into the cloud without any testing or alternations, which is where hidden costs often lurk with other competing cloud services.

"This is a great platform for all your existing apps," Fathers said. "VCloud Hybrid is also an ideal platform for developing new applications."

In addition, the vCloud Hybrid service will give customers the ability to use virtual networking to securely extend existing Layer 2 or Layer 3 networks from their data center to the cloud. The service also offers automated replication and monitoring for mission-critical applications.

VMware said vCloud Hybrid Service will be delivered by channel partners and be compatible with other VMware-based cloud services. Solution providers will be able to sell the service the same way as on-premise VMware software and manage the billing relationship with customers. VMware also said cloud service providers will be able to deploy additional cloud services to vCloud Hybrid deployments.

"Overall, we see this as the most partner-friendly public cloud," Fathers said.

Partners cheered the vCloud Hybrid Service announcement. "There is a ton of potential in the VMware Hybrid Cloud," said Keith Norbie, principal for Norbie Enterprises, a Minneapolis, Minn. technology consulting firm. "It's all in their ability to execute. The vast majority of the channel doesn't want to build their own public cloud. What the channel wants to do is build service delivery and leverage cloud economies of scale with a common platform to plug into private and public clouds. Think of how many folks love VMware and are looking for an option that doesn't trap them into a closed cloud architecture model."

Ed McNamara, director of marketing at VMware partner SHI International in Somerset, N.J., said vCloud Hybrid's ability to get existing applications into the cloud without having write new code is a key benefit. "It's very much aligned with what are customers are telling us they're looking for," McNamara said. "Businesses don't want to have to duplicate efforts to take advantage of the cloud."

The vCloud Hybrid Service will be offered in two subscription models. The vCloud Hybrid Virtual Private Cloud is a multitenant compute resource model with dedicated allocations for customers and will be sold on a monthly term with pricing starting at 4.5 cents an hour for a 1-GB virtual machine with 1 processor.

The second option is the vCloud Hybrid Service Dedicated Cloud, which will provide physically isolated and reserved compute resources and will be sold on an annual basis starting at 13 cents an hour for a 1-GB virtual machine with one processor.

VMware vCloud Hybrid Service will have an "early access" program for customers starting in June, with general availability in North America in the third quarter. The service is expected to launch in Asia and the EMEA region in 2014.