‘One Cloud’ No Longer: VMware Goes Cross-Cloud With Azure, AWS, IBM

VMware's Pat Gelsinger

James AndersonVMware VMworld — Virtualization giant VMware is embracing rival cloud providers as it seeks to give enterprise customers freedom and control over where their applications reside.

VMware announced its Cross-Cloud Architecture on Monday, signaling a shift in the company’s public cloud strategy. CEO Pat Gelsinger said his company is accepting the fact that end users want to make their own choices about their public cloud platforms.

“Sometimes those clouds are built on us; sometimes they’re not. Cross-Cloud [sic] is allowing those capabilities to be better managed, better secured, better connected — more application capabilities across whatever cloud may be the case,” he said during a press briefing at VMworld. Gelsinger announced the new architecture and two related concepts during his keynote speech on the first day of the conference.{ad}

The two supporting announcements include the VMware Cloud Foundation – a platform for unified Software-Defined Data Centers – and a preview of Cross-Cloud Services, which allows customers to manage, monitor and secure their applications across various clouds.

The cross-cloud services are compatible with Azure, Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud, but VMware executives say the plan is to eventually support as many clouds as possible.

“We’ll focus on those [Azure, AWS, IBM Cloud] first and then sort of expand this,” said Guido Appenzeller, chief technology strategy officer of VMware’s networking and security business unit.

VMware calls its new vision “Any cloud, any application, any device,” which has changed in a single, yet gigantic way. Earlier this year, Gelsinger told Network World the phrase to remember was “One cloud, any app, any device.” Some analysts and members of the technology media have labeled the change of vision as an effort to secure a badly needed foothold in the cloud market by taking more of a neutral role.

Gelsinger on Monday revealed research that he says helped cement the decision. One statistic found that organizations had applications deployed on an average of eight different cloud platforms.

“Here we are in this period of traumatic change, and the tension is heightened,” he said. “You and your users want the freedom to choose any cloud service, but you must maintain some level of security and compliance and control.”

Private and public cloud use have increased from 2 percent of total IT workloads in 2006 to 27 percent in 2016, according to Gelsinger. The same researchers estimate that cloud will account for …


… half of workloads in 2021 — on June 29 at 3:57 p.m. PT, to be exact.

Gelsinger said that as cloud has proliferated, companies that want data centers have shifted from doing it on their own to looking for service providers.

“2016 is the crossover year where that becomes the dominant way that data centers are built and operated,” he said.

He said cloud service providers have succeeded by providing capabilities like monitoring, automation and security across massive cloud platforms like AWS.

“They are becoming managed cloud providers for their customers. Enterprises don’t want to build, don’t want to operate the hardware themselves. And they’re looking – instead of having an outsourcer – having a managed cloud provider,” he said.

Gelsinger also predicted that the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) will surpasss the number of traditional mobile devices in 2019.

VMware executives spent Monday detailing the “Any cloud” plank of the company’s vision. The company announced that it has expanded its partnership with IBM, which will become the first partner to offer VMware Cloud Foundation.

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