As more startups come forward to launch new cloud-based services, more established tech firms are realizing they must follow suit if they want to thrive – let alone survive – in an ever-competitive IT landscape.
With the public cloud services market forecasted to grow 18.5% in 2013 to total $131 billion worldwide, up from $111 billion in 2012, according to Gartner, older players including VMware are coming forward to get their pieces of the pie. Infrastucture-as-a-service (IaaS), which includes cloud compute, storage and print services, continued as the fastest-growing segment of the market in 2012, growing 42.4% in 2012 to $6.1 billion and is expected to grow 47.3% in 2013 to $9 billion.
On May 21, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger unveiled VMware vCloud Hybrid Service — an IaaS cloud operated by VMware and built on its VMware vSphere. The biggest selling point of the VMware hybrid cloud is the common platform VMware customers will now have between their private cloud internal systems and this new VMware-operated public cloud.
VMware is smoothing the path for customers to get to that “hybrid cloud nirvana” of having public and private cloud resources dynamically working together, according to Forrester Research virtualization analyst David Bartoletti – which raises the question: Is VMware’s public cloud an Amazon killer?
“Absolutely not,” Gartner analyst Chris Wolf told Network World. “It’s more of a VMware survival tool, allowing them to live another day.”
Although they both offer IaaS, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware appear to be going after different customers. AWS offers developers a way to acquire cheap, fast access to virtual machines and storage. For now, VMware will likely attract infrastructure and virtualization folks based on the nature of the platform, which will be offered by VMware partners and compatible with other VMware-based cloud services.
VMware believes a new approach is necessary, one that starts inside the data center and extends out to support all applications – both the new “born in the cloud” application and existing systems, Mathew Lodge, VMware’s VP of cloud, recently explained.
“We believe the hybrid cloud should allow you to seamlessly extend your data center to the public cloud leveraging the same infrastructure, same network, same management and skills,” Lodge wrote in a blog post.
Upon VMware’s official hybrid cloud announcement, Gelsinger said the introduction service is a big step forward for the company by coupling the value of VMware virtualization and software-defined data center technologies with the “speed and simplicity” of a public cloud service.
“vCloud Hybrid Service will seamlessly extend VMware software used by hundreds of thousands of customers into the public cloud,” Gelsinger said in a statement. “This means customers will be able to extend the same skills, tools, networking and security models across both on-premise and off-premise environments.”
But some experts maintain VMware is late to the cloud game, and unlike its competitors, does not have massive data centers set up all over the world to host the volume AWS is equipped to handle. VMware has also not yet revealed pricing and setup details. Only time will reveal whether VMware’s hybrid cloud will really change the IaaS market.