VMware Pumps Up Cloud Professional Services Skills With Two Under-The-Radar Acquisitions

VMware acquired two small consulting services partners with OpenStack and hybrid cloud expertise last year, and now it's giving some insight into how these unannounced deals fit into its strategy.

MomentumSI, an Austin, Texas-based consulting firm that VMware acquired last October, is now part of the vendor's Americas professional services organization, Bret Connor, VMware's vice president for the unit, said in a blog post Monday.

CRN first reported in November that VMware had acquired MomentumSI.

VMware also acquired VSS Labs, a consulting partner with offices in Australia and the Philippines that sells cloud and virtualization services. VMware hasn't yet said what it plans to do with VSS Labs, but mentioned it at its partner conference this week as one of the six acquisitions it made in 2014.

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VMware is a relative newcomer to hybrid cloud and it's about to jump into the OpenStack game with the upcoming release of vSphere 6. With both deals, VMware is aiming to expand its professional services capacity into technologies it deems strategically important.

[Related: VMware Letting Some Partners Sell Professional Services Under New Pilot Program]

MomentumSI is a good fit for VMware because it has expertise building OpenStack-based private clouds and delivering hybrid cloud services that link VMware-based private clouds with vCloud Air and Amazon Web Services, Connor said in the blog post.

MomentumSI also has a well-developed practice for DevOps, which describes how developers and IT teams are working closely to speed deployment of software in the cloud. DevOps often involves technologies such as Docker, Puppet, Chef, Jenkins, Salt and Ansible, Connor said in the blog post.

One big obstacle enterprises face in moving to the cloud is rewriting their legacy apps to run in cloud environments, and this is another service that MomentumSI can provide.

As VMware continues to reshape itself as a cloud-savvy vendor, it's going to need more of the types of skills that MomentumSI brings to the table because it doesn't have them in-house, one longtime VMware partner told CRN.

VMware's professional services unit had "little to no ability to deliver advanced OpenStack or DevOps-type consulting services. And they saw this as a huge hole," said the partner, who requested anonymity because he's not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

"The vast majority of VMware's traditional partner community lacks these skills as well, so they decided to go buy rather than build or use the existing partner community," the partner added.

NEXT: Where VSS Labs Fits With VMware's Services Business

It's less clear where VSS Labs will fit into VMware's plans. In fact, CRN was unable to find VMware partners who'd even heard of VSS Labs.

On its website, VSS Labs said its software is "tightly integrated" with the VMware infrastructure stack and addresses "key security, provisioning and migration challenges."

"Some of these have already been licensed exclusively by VMware for use by their end customers, partners and the internal professional services organization," VSS Labs said on its website.

VMware spokespeople didn't respond to a request for comment on whether VSS Labs, like MomentumSI, will be part of its professional services unit. VSS Labs also couldn't be reached for comment.

VMware could also use the services talent gained from the MomentumSI and VSS Labs deals to help train its channel partners in how to sell and deploy its newer technologies, partners told CRN.

VMware launched a pilot program this week in which partners that are delivering its full software-defined data center portfolio -- vSphere server virtualization, VSAN storage virtualization and NSX network virtualization -- will get to sell and deliver professional services directly to customers.

These partners will get free access to VMware's software-defined data center experts, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor said.

VMware has changed a great deal in the past few years, and now it's trying to bring its professional services unit up to speed to handle all the customer demand it expects to see in the future.

For now, hybrid cloud looks like one of the biggest near-term plays for partners when vSphere 6 hits the market.

Bill Fathers, head of VMware's hybrid cloud unit, told partners this week that just 5 percent of customers' workloads have been moved to the public cloud, and the next 10 percent is a potential $50 billion opportunity.

"This is about helping customers build that bridge to the future," Fathers said at the event. "There will also be plenty of scope to build services around the vSphere 6 platform -- both one-time services and recurring revenue."