A brief history :
Back in 2015, when Pat Gelsinger got on the stage at VMworld and spoke about the VMware vision : One Cloud, Any Application and Any Device, we thought it could be a powerful story. The on-prem Software Defined Data-center (SDDC) and the public cloud businesses were evolving simultaneously and we were discussing about how we need a unified hybrid cloud approach to bring it all together. The approach back then used VMware on-prem infrastructure and vCloud Air to form a hybrid cloud architecture.
The fundamental idea of this architecture was to enable customers to run their on-prem infra and consume managed platforms through a public cloud model either by VMware hosted vCloud Air cloud or through other vCloud Air network (vCAN) partners. This was to offer customers choice, freedom and flexibility. Of course, VMware realized that running a public cloud is not an easy task and sold that business off to OVH. That did not stop them innovating in the hybrid cloud space. The real issue with the hybrid cloud model even today is that it is only hybrid in the sense of management and not on the workload mobility aspect. You cannot seamlessly move workloads across on-prem vSphere and native clouds without re-factoring/re-platforming the application.
VMware Cloud foundation was introduced to solve that exact challenge and many more. Bringing in consistency across different platforms unlocks the true hybridity model/architecture. The below image was from VMworld 2016 keynote. Back then, this was just a possibility and not a reality yet. No one thought that VMware would be hosting their SDDC in each of these clouds someday. And even if someone mentioned it, people would call them insane. Why would you need a private cloud inside a public cloud, right?
In 2017, VMware changed their vision to Any Cloud, Any Application, Any Device and that should have given us a hint about the direction that the company was heading in. VMware Cloud foundation became the building block of this vision. The layer that enabled consistent infrastructure across multi-cloud scenarios and led to the invention on true hybrid cloud model by hosting it on native clouds.
VMware announced their first partnership with AWS to launch VMware Cloud on AWS in 2017 and the service is currently available across 15+ regions globally. This was very well received by enterprise customers and we can see that by the expanding customer base on VMC on AWS.
VMware also announced their partnership with Azure in Q2 2019. This will be available for consumption in Q4, 2019. The Azure Solutions (that’s what it’s called) will be delivered by Cloudsimple and DellEMC’s Virtustream as opposed to VMC on AWS which is owned and delivered by VMware.
Fast forward to 2019
Google today announced that they are going to make the VMware Cloud Foundation stack available on Google Cloud Platform for enterprise customers. This goes to show that there is a huge opportunity in the hybrid cloud space that companies want to tap into and grow their sales.
Who knew in a matter of two years VMware will have their SDDC stack running in all three major public cloud platforms. I would not have believed it. But here we are.
The major reason why these partnerships are seeing success is that the market they are capturing is unique. Most of the times customers try to compare VMC on AWS to native cloud options like AWS and Azure. That’s not what these companies are trying to solve. The market demands for a solution that can give them true hybridity which will enable them to move to a public cloud without facing the challenges like
- Re-skiling their resources
- Using discrete tools to manage the platforms
- Longer migration windows
- CapEx investment
And that is exactly what these partnerships are here to deliver.