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VMware Offloads Its Onetime AWS-Killer

VMware's recent partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on public cloud appears to have opened the door for the sale of its own competing platform.

The virtualization giant announced on Tuesday that it's selling off its hybrid cloud product, vCloud Air, in a sign that it is capitulating its years-long attempt to the compete in the public cloud space. According to the press release, French cloud hosting provider OVH, "one of the largest cloud service providers in the world with more than one million customers and 260,000 servers deployed," is set to acquire the business from VMware.

VMware had high hopes for vCloud Air when it was officially launched in August 2014. Originally christened "vCloud Hybrid Service," it was aimed directly at public cloud leader AWS. VMware envisioned scores of VMware admins using vCloud Air to move workloads back and forth between private, hybrid and public clouds, all within the familiar vSphere confines.

However, vCloud Air never gained significant traction in the public realm and lagged far behind AWS and Microsoft's competitor, Azure. Today, AWS and Azure are still the clear No. 1 and No. 2 players in the field, and vCloud Air never threatened either. Google is now making a strong play in the public cloud space (led by former VMware CEO Diane Greene), and IBM and others are trying to stake their claim, as well, but AWS and Azure remain firmly atop the leader board.

The writing on the wall for vCloud Air was evident since last fall's VMworld conference in Las Vegas. Soon after that event, VMware announced a new partnership with AWS to be a provider for its cloud platform. The new service, called "VMware Cloud Foundation," integrates VMware's compute, storage and network virtualization products, along with vCenter management, to optimize and run workloads on elastic, bare-metal, AWS infrastructure.

At the time of last year's announcement, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said AWS "will be VMware's primary cloud infrastructure partner."

In a statement Tuesday about the sale of vCloud Air, Gelsinger gave voice to VMware's new "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude when it comes to public cloud: "We remain committed to delivering our broader Cross-Cloud Architecture that extends our hybrid cloud strategy, enabling customers to run, manage, connect, and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.