VMware Unveils New Services, Pay-As-You-Go Pricing For vCloud Air Public Cloud

VMware wants to make its vCloud Air public cloud more attractive and easier for customers to purchase, so it’s rolling out new services and introducing a new pay-as-you-go pricing model.

The pay-as-you-go option, unveiled as a private beta Monday at the VMworld conference, lets customers sign up online with a credit card and get cloud services provisioned in minutes. Customers can also pay on a per-minute basis for the cloud services they use, a marked departure from VMware’s previous model of selling services via monthly subscription.

Mathew Lodge, VMware vice president of cloud services, told CRN some customers objected to the old model because they felt they were paying for services they weren’t using.

"That objection goes away when you pay by the minute," Lodge said in an interview Monday.

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VMware currently sells Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Desktops-as-a-Service and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service running on vCloud Air, but it’s planning a major expansion of its cloud portfolio in the coming months.

VMware plans to sell a continuous integration service for developers, as well as an object storage service that uses EMC’s ViPR software-defined storage technology.

Lodge said the latter service will be able to store files up to 20 terabytes, which is ideal for organizations that need to store large media files. A beta of the service is expected this quarter and a general rollout is slated for the first quarter of next year.

VMware is also working on a Database-as-a-Service offering which will initially support Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL, Lodge said. Also in the works is a disaster recovery service for on-premise databases, he said.

VMware also took the wraps off a beta of vRealize Air Automation, a SaaS offering that enables customers to do hybrid cloud management.

With all these new services, VMware is hoping to get more customers looking at vCloud Air instead of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other public clouds.

Johan Milbrink, senior director of managed cloud services at Presidio Networked Solutions, a New York City-based VMware partner, told CRN he’s been seeing a notable uptick in pre-sales activity around vCloud Air as of late, especially with enterprise customers.

Milbrink said VMware’s pay-as-you-go option could spark even more interest in vCloud Air.

"Flexible pricing is a big deal. We heard from customers that this was a public cloud offering without a public cloud pricing model, in terms of pricing and how you consume it," Milbrink said.

While VMware faces plenty of competition in the public cloud space, Milbrink said its hybrid message is a compelling one for VMware customers because they don’t have to change their infrastructure to take advantage of public cloud.

With the forthcoming additional services, "VMware is showing it wants to make this more than just IaaS. They want to tackle a much broader part of the market," Milbrink said.