Partners: AWS Pact An 'Exclamation Point' On Dell's Commitment To VMware Independence

Dell EMC partners are calling VMware's imminent pact with Amazon Web Services (AWS) validation of VMware's technology independence just three weeks after Dell's landmark $58 billion of EMC.

The agreement "clearly shows VMware's independence and ability to be an integral part of all cloud ecosystems," and would allow AWS Enterprise to run on VMware's vSphere server virtualization platform for cloud infrastructure, similar to its arrangement with IBM's SoftLayer, a source with knowledge of the deal told CRN.

The deal is expected to be announced next week in San Francisco, according to Fortune, which first reported the agreement.

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A pact between VMware and AWS is an about-face for VMware, which has previously made it clear that it considers "commodity public cloud" services the enemy. Still, solution providers have seen the change coming, and not just with VMware.

"It's not surprising," said Dan Serpico, CEO of FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solution provider that does business with Dell EMC and VMware. "Whether it's Cisco, or VMware or whomever, three years ago Amazon was public enemy No. 1, and now [they're] all trying to figure out how to do business with them," Serpico said.

A formal relationship between VMware and Amazon would be a win-win situation for both companies, said Jamie Shepard, senior vice president for healthcare and strategy at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and Dell EMC partner.

For VMware, it is an opportunity to do more with the VMware Cloud Foundation, Shepard told CRN. VMware Cloud Foundation, introduced last month, is a natively-integrated infrastructure stack combining the company's vSphere server virtualization technology, VSAN software-defined storage technology, and NSX software-defined networking technology.

"The relationship would allow VMware customers to move production workloads developed with VMware Cloud Foundation to Amazon," he said. "VMware has been reluctant to trust workloads on Amazon. Since VMware has encryption on VMware Cloud Foundation, it can move those workloads. And Amazon can use VMware to work securely with VMware customers in the enterprise."

Leading up to and following its landmark $58 billion acquisition of EMC, Dell executives stressed that virtualization kingpin VMware, which was 80-percent owned by EMC, would maintain its status as an independently run firm and continue its relationships with Dell archrivals HPE and Cisco.

Even though it has barely been a month since the merger – the largest in the history of the IT industry – closed, Dell Technologies has so far honored that promise, Serpico said.

"If there wasn't enough evidence of that beforehand, given VMware's relationship with HPE and Cisco, this certainly puts an exclamation point on it," Serpico said.

A VMware-AWS pact will also be part of a careful enterprise cloud balancing act as VMware and its sister company Virtustream, the enterprise cloud infrastructure-as-a-service firm EMC acquired for $1.2 billion last year, fight for market share with AWS.

Additional reporting by Joseph F. Kovar