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VMware Lays Out Multicloud Vision, with AWS in Forefront

VMware kicked off its annual VMworld conference on Monday with a slew of announcements aimed at spotlighting its multicloud plans, but there's no question that its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) drew the most attention.

As reported earlier, VMware Cloud on AWS, a hybrid cloud solution nearly one year in the making, hit limited release on Monday. The offering is part of the new VMware Cloud platform, described broadly as VMware's portfolio of public and private cloud services.

Other VMworld announcements included a new portfolio of SaaS services called VMware Cloud Services, consisting of six offerings. Among the most notable are the new NSX Cloud, which provides cloud-based micro-segmentation; and the AppSense security platform, which delivers app-layer security in the vSphere hypervisor tied to the NSX software-defined networking platform.  

However, VMware characterized the new AWS solution as the most sought-after by customers. In his opening VMworld keynote, CEO Pat Gelsinger found himself walking a fine line between showing elation over the release of VMware Cloud on AWS and positioning the company as a provider of cross-cloud services.

"There's a lot to be fired up about," Gelsinger said, with AWS CEO Andy Jassy beside him on stage. "Customers are really excited about it."

At the post-keynote Q&A with press and analysts, Gelsinger was asked to reconcile the emphasis on AWS with VMware's support for Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and even its close ties with IBM -- all of which seemed overshadowed in the keynote.

"The relationship with Amazon is quite different," Gelsinger said, adding that customers have shown more interest in the joint AWS-VMware offering than in the other components of what the new VMware Cloud. (Gelsinger pointed to last week's extended support for Google Chromebooks and the fact that VMware's Horizon Cloud is now on Azure as examples of those components.)

Michael Dell, VMware chairman and CEO of parent company Dell Technologies who was with Gelsinger during the Q&A session, defended the multicloud emphasis. "It's definitely a multicloud world," Dell said.

As part of that multicloud focus, the company launched the VMware Cloud Foundation, designed to let organizations' cloud-native applications run on-premises and burst to multiple public cloud providers. VMware has tapped CenturyLink, Fujitsu and Rackspace as the initial partners for the new offering.

On the hardware side, several suppliers supporting VMware Cloud Foundation include the Dell EMC VxRack software-defined datacenter (SDDC) and new releases of Hitachi Data Systems UCP-RS, Fujitsu's PRIMEFLEX and QCT's QxStack. Cisco, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Lenovo also launched new servers certified for VMware Cloud Foundation.

The company also launched the aforementioned VMware Cloud Services, a collection of six SaaS offerings that provide various functions such as monitoring, costing and discovery, as well as a network and security analysis service. The services that took center stage on Monday were NSX Cloud, which provides security and networking via NSX-based micro-segmentation networking services; and VMware AppDefense, a platform that offers threat detection and response, a service that will be embedded and operated within the vSphere hypervisor.

AppDefense uses all of the key VMware SDDC components to create a library of incident-response routines and respond accordingly. "We are protecting applications that are running on top of virtualized and cloud environments," said Tom Corn, VMware's senior vice president for security products. "We think it's going to be an incredibly powerful model."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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