VMware’s Cloud And The Fit With IT, Cloud Foundry And OpenStack

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VMware announced general availability of VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vCloud Suite at VMworld today. The new  version of its virtualization technology includes the integration of Cloud Foundry, the platform-as-a-service that is now part of Pivotal, which spun out from VMware parent company EMC.

Cloud Foundry used to be VMware’s crown jewel. But now it will work as a platform that Pivotal will build for VMware to integrate with its new cloud, vCloud Hybrid Services. Dubbed Pivotal CF, the service will be made available later this year on VMware vSphere and vCloud Hybrid Services. vSphere is designed as an enhanced set of virtualization-management tools for cloud computing. vCloud Suite manages vSphere to help companies pool resources for more elasticity.

Gelsinger highlighted vSphere 5.5 as part of the company’s overall strategy to be the leader in what it calls the “software defined data center.” vSphere 5 represents the compute aspect of the architecture. Its new virtual storage will be wrapped into its newly introduced “virtual SAN.” The networking is embodied in NSX, the new network hypervisor it launched today. The concept is to pool the resources and leverage cloud when need be.

The new versions of the vSphere Suite and vCloud are designed to integrate with VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services, an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) play that will get investment with new data centers in California, Virginia and later in Dallas. Managed hosting service Savvis will also work with VMware closely in its vCloud Hybrid Services.

VMware will focus on the deep integration between a customer’s data centers and the VMware hybrid cloud, all running on its virtualization technology. The company is not providing compatibility with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which means that customers are forced to work pretty much entirely with VMware if they go with the full integration. That’s handy for the VMware customer that simply wants to connect to a VMware external service. But even if they do, customers will not get the rock-bottom pricing that comes with a service like AWS. VMware has not announced pricing but they have maintained it would not be as low as AWS.

VMware appears to be putting more of a bet on OpenStack, which is now supported in vSphere and can be integrated with Nicira, which is heavily invested as a contributor in the open cloud movement.

One VMware executive at a press conference compared OpenStack to buying a home theater system. A customer can buy the VMware package deal that comes with vSphere and vCloud’s hybrid integration or they can use the OpenStack framework with VMware technology.

There are a number of customers who are starting to build out on OpenStack. Cloud Foundry has some general acceptance in the market, but none of this is plug-and-play which benefits the consultants most of all.