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VMware brings service providers into hybrid cloud

Making clear that it won't be able to realize its vision of the enterprise hybrid cloud alone, virtualization vendor VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) announced a number of offerings to help service providers extend hybrid cloud capabilities to enterprise customers at its VMworld user conference.

Centered around VMware's vCloud cloud computing infrastructure and VMware's service provider program, the announcements are designed to allow VMware virtualization customers to expand the functionality of their data centres with compatible cloud offering, said Joe Andrews, director of cloud services with VMware.

"We believe strongly the cloud is transforming business as well as IT, and all these announcements help deliver business value," said Andrews.

The hybrid cloud model is what the market is looking for right now said Warren Shiau, director of research for Leger Market Research in Toronto.

"Key product and service introductions that reduce ramp time to hybrid cloud and extend functionality are really what people need," said Shiau.

Andrews said VMware has defined the vCloud data centre, which is being delivered by leading service providers including Dell, which joined vCloud as a service provider Monday. Intensifying Dell's rivalry with IBM and HP in the cloud consulting and delivery space, Dell will let customers rent public cloud compute and storage capacity and offer consulting services to companies looking to build their own private and hybrid clouds.

VMware also announced Global Connect, which will allow multinationals to access cloud computing resources across geographies from different service providers and control it seamlessly from their original control panel, all while still dealing with only their own service provider.

"It's analogous to global roaming in the carrier market," said Andrews. "It's the same user experience, no matter who serves it in the background." In an update to vCloud Connector, the vendor's free hybrid cloud management tool that allows for data transfer between public and private clouds, version 1.5 features a new architecture for faster transfers, automatic resumption in case of network difficulties, and access via a Web browser.

"We've had strong adoption from large enterprise customers that want, the ability to manage, view and transfer workloads between cloud and on-premise, and this gives them a single pane of glass," said Andrews.

A new offering is the vcloud.vmware.com gateway, an online portal where customers can find vCloud service providers, learn about their offerings, take them for a test drive and purchase services.

Finally,VMware is enhancing its disaster recovery offerings with vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5, with four service providers using the platform to offer disaster recovery services that can scale down into the mid-market and SMB. The automated process will see virtual machines replicated between the data centre and the service provider.

Andrews said vCloud Connector is in beta with full release scheduled later this year, and the other offerings are all available now.

"We're really trying to help customers accelerate their journey to the hybrid cloud," said Andrews. "It's about the journey, not the destination."

The cloud journey

Some companies are claiming major cost-savings on their journey to the hybrid cloud. David Giambruno, executive vice-president and CIO at cosmetics giant Revlon, said his company saved $70 million over two years by moving certain business processes to the cloud, attributable to not buying servers, virtualizing existing server infrastructure, network and storage systems, and other IT savings.

Still, said Giambruno, it's not the technology that's the challenge."Technology is easy," said Giambruno. "People are hard."

That's echoed by Steve Rubinow, executive vice-president and CIO at NYSE Euronext. His organization has adopted a hybrid cloud delivery model for key trading systems and is also acting as a service provider to financial industry clients, and he agreed bringing along employees and management is key.

"Start with something where you know you're going to get a win," advised Rubinow. Start with testing and development, it's easier. Once you get a good story, it leads to great progress."

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN


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