VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service: Don’t call it an Amazon killer

VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service, the long-awaited infrastructure-as-a-service offering announced today, will be ideal for a significant set of enterprise applications. But it’s no Amazon killer.

Here’s why. Amazon Web Services got where it is in part because it’s super easy, and cheap, to use. Some organizations think this isn’t always a good thing because developers can so easily sign up and start using AWS, without permission.

pat gelsinger_0.jpgSource: SiliconANGLE PHOTO, via Flickr
VMware's CEO Pat Gelsinger announced the new public cloud service this morning.

But the upside is that developers are doing that because they can’t otherwise try out or even deliver services using slow and outdated internal processes.

The new VMware service doesn’t address either of these points. Individual developers won’t be able to sign up quickly and easily to start using compute services from VMware. The vCloud Hybrid Services are sold either on an annual or monthly basis.

I’m not exactly sure yet but that sounds like services will be sold the same way that VMware products are sold today – through sales people or partners. There won’t be any chance to visit a web site, plop down a credit card and get to work.

While that does solve the problem of unexpected costs that some companies face when developers go rogue and start using public cloud services, it also shuts down the potential for that developer to experiment with a new idea.

For this set of users in an enterprise, Amazon or any of the new OpenStack public cloud operators like HP are better options.

But this isn’t the market that VMware is after. It’s squarely targeting established VMware shops that want to be able to very easily run existing applications, or parts of them, in a public cloud. It appears that vCloud Hybrid Services will be an excellent option for this. Executives who made the announcement this morning made it look very easy to move applications, without having to make painful changes, from an internal environment to the new public cloud.

VMware also said that it will be the first and only cloud provider to offer SAP products, including HANA, as a subscription service, further indicating the market VMware is after.

Since VMware is already in practically every enterprise, it’s in a good position to win users. Its established relationships with enterprises will give it a leg up against Amazon, which knows that it needs the enterprise market to continue to grow rapidly. But Amazon should rest easy that VMware’s new service won’t put a dent in its successful bottom up track record, with startups as well as some enterprise groups.

VMware does face some additional market challenges. It risks alienating partners that already offer VMware-based public clouds. “This sounds like it competes with their SP partners and in my experience channel conflict doesn’t usually help companies grow,” noted Wayne Pauley, an analyst at ESG, in a blog post.

VMware cloud service providers can also offer the vCloud Hybrid services to customers. VMware went to some pains to note that it hopes those partners will add valuable services around the offering so that they will see this as an opportunity to win customers. But there’s no doubt it will be difficult for service providers to compete with VMware itself.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon