vCloud Air Object Storage Brings VMware Closer To Google, EMC

VMware's expansion this week of its VMware vCloud Air cloud platform for hybrid cloud environments includes a new object storage capability that is expected to draw the vendor closer not only to parent company EMC but also toward Google.

That new offering, VMware vCloud Air Object Storage, is a highly scalable and cost-effective object storage service targeting unstructured data, said Angelos Kottas, senior director of product marketing for VMware's cloud services.

It is being made available in two versions, Kottas told CRN. VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Cloud Platform uses Google Cloud Storage on the back end for the capacity. VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by EMC integrates with EMC ViPR software-defined storage technology, and will be offered by EMC Cloud Services.

[Related: Sources: VMware Cutting Back On vCloud Air Development, May Stop Work On New Features]

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The Google version is already available, while the EMC version will be released later this month to an early access program, Kottas said.

VMware vCloud Air Object Storage is coming out for the Google Cloud Platform before EMC Cloud Services because it is a simple matter of integration of the VMware and Google platforms, Kottas said.

"Google Cloud Storage has been in the market for some time," he said. "We just needed to structure the integration. EMC Cloud Services is a brand new services offering."

The VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Cloud Platform has already been commercially integrated into the VMware price list and support list, Kottas said.

It works by encapsulating multiple customers' object storage into a single VMware identity that is managed as a single storage instance on the Google cloud, he said. "VMware sees a bunch of customers," he said. "Google sees VMware as a customer."

VMware will expand the VMware vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Cloud Platform with a feature, originally announced in January, that offers high-speed network connectivity between vCloud Air and the Google cloud, but no release date has been finalized, he said.

Kottas said the partnership between VMware and Google is important for enterprises looking to take advantage of Google's object storage cloud capabilities and that need the extra services they get with vCloud Air.

VMware's sales force works with large enterprise customers, and so can consolidate VMware SLAs, services, and so on with Google object storage capabilities in a single contract, Kottas said.

If a customer only wants Google object storage, they can go direct to Google," he said. "If they want vCloud Air, they can work with us to get other services including cloud computing, disaster recovery, advanced networking services, database services and a growing list of other services."

While VMware is more than 80 percent owned by EMC, partners should not read between the lines looking for strains between the two when VMware activates its object storage partnership with Google before EMC, said Jamie Shepard, senior vice president for health care and strategy at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime channel partner with EMC and VMware.

VMware's EMC ViPR relationship is mainly targeting the use of object storage via hybrid clouds, while its Google relationship is mainly focused on working with public clouds, Shepard told CRN. "There's no impact from this on the VMware-EMC relationship," he said.

It does make it easier for partners to bring the capabilities of VMware vCloud Air to customers with Google public cloud environments, Shepard said. "When we talk to customers with Google Apps, they want to move more storage to Google, and manage it all with a single contract," he said.

The other advantage of tying VMware vCloud Air with the Google cloud is easy scaling of storage capacity, Shepard said.

"I walk into lots of deals where customers have over-provisioned their storage for future growth," he said. "If you want to use the cloud for object storage, you can just light up vCloud Air and connect to Google, all with one contract."