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VMware (Once Again) Claims Its Public Cloud Performance Trumps Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure

VMware is trailing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure by a wide margin in the public cloud market, but it still insists that its vCloud Air service offers better price/performance, and has data to back it up.

VMware, as it did around this time last year, is citing new CPU benchmarking data that shows its public cloud offers a better price/performance ratio than rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

vCloud Air features 20 percent to 40 percent better compute performance for apps than comparable instances on AWS and Azure, Jim Armstrong, a product line marketing manager at VMware, said in a blog post last Thursday.

"These benchmark results further validate that vCloud Air is an optimal platform for the toughest, most intensive workloads out there." Armstrong said in the blog post.

The benchmarking data, which VMware commissioned from Principled Technologies, a Durham, N.C.-based market research firm, is based on analysis of AWS M4 series instances, Azure D series instances and VMware's vCloud Air VPC OnDemand service, said Armstrong in the blog post.

[Related: VMware Says Its Public Cloud Performs Better Than Amazon and Microsoft, And Is Much Cheaper]

While VMware's vCloud Air's list pricing is "a little bit higher" than AWS and Azure, those clouds require customers to buy more virtual machines to achieve the same level of performance they get from vCloud Air VMs, which adds to the total cost, according to Armstrong.

Armstrong said that customers would have to buy 30 percent more Azure VMs and 20 percent more AWS VMs to get the same performance they'd get from running a hypothetical 10-VM app on vCloud Air.

"Looking at it this way, VMware vCloud Air pricing is very close to AWS and almost 10 percent lower than the price of Azure," said Armstrong in the blog post.

AWS didn't respond to a request for comment. Microsoft declined comment.

Interestingly, Armstrong didn't mention vCloud Air's storage performance versus the competition. When VMware cited cloud benchmarking data from Principled Technology last August, it claimed that vCloud Air offered three times the storage I/O performance of AWS.

VMware pitches vCloud Air -- launched in May 2013 -- as a "safe landing place" in the public cloud for its many customers that are already running vSphere in their data centers. But that pitch doesn't appear to be resonating in the way it might have hoped, according to a half-dozen VMware partners CRN spoke with this week.

"VMware has struggled to get any material momentum in that business," said one source close to VMware, who didn't want to be named. "They have offered customers crazy incentives to try vCloud Air, but when the incentive period ended, most of them punted."


VMware added ability to sign up for vCloud Air with a credit card last August, along with support for NSX software-defined networking. Under a partnership with Google announced in January, VMware customers can log into vCloud Air and get access to the search giant's object storage, database and big data development services.

VMware doesn't share revenue figures for vCloud Air, so it's unclear whether these moves have moved the needle on sales. Analyst firm Wikibon recently did a calculation of vCloud Air sales and estimated that it's generating quarterly revenue of between $50 million and $100 million.

Bill Fathers, VMware's executive vice president and general manager of cloud services, told The Register in April that vCloud Air had "thousands" of customers at the time, and predicted it would have around 100,000 customers by October 2016.

Mathew Lodge, vice president of cloud services at VMware, recently touted vCloud Air's compatibility with more than 90 operating systems and 5,000 application as a competitive advantage.

"We typically win against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure because of compatibility. We enable customers to get started more quickly and to modernize and evolve their apps," Lodge told SiliconAngle earlier this month.

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