VMware preps vCloud-based public cloud service

VMware is preparing to launch its own vCloud public cloud service, which some industry watchers consider a Hail Mary pass to compete with AWS.

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VMware has invited customers to be part of an exclusive private beta for a forthcoming public cloud service, but some remain on the fence about whether they'd actually use such an offering.

The service, which is to be built on VMware's vCloud products, including vCloud Director, according to multiple industry sources, is still a ways away from general availability. In the meantime, VMware loyalists who use public cloud can find service providers with vCloud, so switching to a VMware public cloud wouldn't be necessary.

VMware's offering would have to be a very compelling story for me to want to switch [from BlueLock], though I would definitely listen to see what they had to say.

Bryan Bonds,
senior systems administrator, eMeter Corp.

"VMware's offering would have to be a very compelling story for me to want to switch [from BlueLock], though I would definitely listen to see what they had to say," said Bryan Bonds, senior systems administrator for eMeter Corp., which has been setting up a hybrid cloud with the vCloud partner.

A customer on the West Coast was invited to join the private beta last week and said that while he'll investigate the offering, his company is on the fence when it comes to public cloud.

Meanwhile, some industry watchers see this as a possible Hail Mary pass from the company as it competes with public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS). VMware must compete with AWS on price to prevent losing further market share, since Infrastructure as a Service has become somewhat of a commodity, one analyst said.

Others see it as a reflection on VMware's existing cloud partners.

"They haven't been doing as good a job of promoting the business as VMware wanted," said Bill Hill, infrastructure IT lead for a Portland-based logistics company. "It looks like VMware's now saying, 'You've had your opportunity.'"

Though Hill didn't have direct knowledge of VMware's plan to have a public cloud service, he said he wouldn't be surprised to see it emerge. "Ultimately, if you want to do something right, you've got to do it yourself sometimes," he said.

While VMware declined to comment on reports of its public cloud plans, CEO Pat Gelsinger reportedly engaged in some public saber-rattling against AWS at last week's VMware Partner Exchange, saying VMware wants to own corporate workloads and that if Amazon wins, "we all lose."

Changes afoot in vCloud Service Evaluation Beta

VMware also updated the terms and conditions for its vCloud Service Evaluation Beta on March 1. While the initial offering announced last August cost a minimum of four cents an hour per 1 GB RAM server, the terms now include a 90-day free trial.

There is no limit on the time a customer can use the vCloud Service Evaluation, but a Knowledge Base article linked in the beta interface still refers the service's users to vCloud partners for more permanent public cloud projects.

VMware officials also declined to comment on momentum and future plans for the vCloud Service Evaluation Beta.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchCloudComputing.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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