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VMware: Our Public Cloud Performs Better Than Amazon and Microsoft, And It's Much Cheaper

VMware is playing catch-up in the public cloud market, and it's starting to play the enterprise card to show how its cloud CPU and storage performance blows away the competition.

VMware claims its public cloud offers faster performance than Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, for a lot less money. And it's got some new data to back up its claims.

VMware recently commissioned benchmarking tests from Principled Technologies, a Durham, N.C.-based market research firm, and published the results in a blog post Wednesday.

vCloud Hybrid Service offers twice the CPU power of Microsoft Azure and three times the storage I/O performance of AWS, wrote VMware Vice President of Cloud Services Mathew Lodge in the blog post.

[Related: Partners Say VMware's Public Cloud Too Expensive, Lacks Unique Services ]

Comparing cloud services is difficult to do because there are tons of variables involved in how vendors package and configure their offerings, Lodge told CRN in a subsequent interview. But Principled Technologies was able to do this, and Lodge said its results are quite revealing.

According to VMware's calculations from the benchmarking data, a Microsoft Azure customer would have to pay 35 percent more to get the same capabilities of a basic vCHS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) subscription with 10GHz of virtual CPU and 20GB of RAM, Lodge told CRN.

Lodge said the benchmarking results also show that AWS storage performance -- even with its all-flash options -- is slower than VMware's vCHS.

A virtual machine running on vCloud Hybrid Service, with 140GB of storage, was able to maintain a minimum of 3,300 IOPS during the testing, which is three times what AWS offers on its cloud, according to Lodge.

To get the same storage performance in AWS, customers would have to pay around six times as much as they would for vCHS, said Lodge.

An Amazon spokesperson declined comment on VMware's claims. We've reached out to Microsoft and will update this story if we hear back.

How did VMware achieve this storage and CPU advantage? Lodge said it’s because VMware designed storage I/O bandwidth into its cloud infrastructure from the get-go.

VMware put 20 gigs of I/O into every physical server that runs vCHS, which is up to 200 times more than what goes into a typical AWS server, Lodge said.

"VMware also used the capabilities of vSphere to partition, so we can separate out virtual networks for storage and networking and management traffic," Lodge said. This means a burst of networking traffic wouldn't affect the storage performance of its cloud, for example.

Lodge said AWS compute, networking, storage and management traffic is handled together, which creates a bottleneck that causes slower performance.

NEXT: How Do VMware's Claims Hold Up Under Expert Scrutiny?


Despite VMware's claims about better performance and cheaper services, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor is playing catch-up to Microsoft and AWS -- as well as other players like IBM and even Rackspace -- in the public cloud market when it comes to actual adoption.

Several VMware partners told CRN recently they're not seeing much interest in vCHS or the vendor's cloud disaster recovery-as-a-service, which made its debut in April.

So now VMware is falling back on the same strategy it has used in competing with Microsoft in private cloud: Depicting itself as a "Cadillac" that costs more but offers plenty of advanced features and value that cheaper rivals can't match.

Other partners think VMware is on the right track in trumpeting its performance and cost advantages.

Jonathan Reeves, chief strategy officer at CloudLink, an Ottawa, Canada-based firm that partners with VMware, Amazon and Microsoft, said he's seeing growing momentum for vCHS, which has significantly increased in the past six months.

Given that VMware is 80 percent owned by EMC, it makes sense for VMware to position vCHS as an enterprise-grade public cloud with top-notch CPU and storage performance, Reeves told CRN.

PUBLISHED AUG. 7, 2014

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