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VMware vCloud Express: Right move, wrong focus

VMware is right to introduce a cloud computing service that competes with Amazon EC2. But wrong to focus on the aspect of buying these services with a credit card. We know of at least one company where the act of punching in a credit card number to buy servers is immediate grounds for dismissal.

vCloud Express, unveiled at VMworld in San Francisco this week, lets companies running VMware software hook up to a hosting provider running a public cloud also based on VMware, for additional compute resources on demand.

vCloud Express competes with’s EC2, now infamous for the speed at which users can buy and turn on servers, the low cost point for entry and the ability to use only what you need, when you need it. But chasing’s value proposition of “fast and cheap”, which is how VMware CEO Paul Maritz referred to vCloud Express in his keynote, is the wrong focus for enterprise IT.

Yes, IT managers want more agility and lower costs, but most of them won’t touch cloud services with a 10-foot pole, from VMware or anyone else, until they are sure of the security and reliability of these services. That’s where VMware should be putting its effort and focus, not on a simplistic web interface for entering credit card numbers.

The vCloud Express announcement left the 12,000-strong audience at the keynote cold. Finding anyone in corporate IT at the show that had tried or was using EC2 was tough. It’s still early days for this stuff, but most people said concern around security of their data and workloads in the cloud was an issue. One company we found that is using EC2, Pathwork Diagnostics, said the advantages were less about cost and more about increasing performance. This user said one of the downsides of EC2 was the lack of a job scheduler that works well in a dynamic IP environment.

VMware would be better served listening to these customers and their problems with managing infrastructure in the cloud, than chasing Amazon’s fast, cheap model, which is surely not where the big bucks in cloud computing is going to be anyway.

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Your lead-in doesn't make any sense. Every company has different rules for purchasing. I have worked with several that ONLY buy equipment and software with a credit card.
Kapa: My guess is that Ms. Maitland is referring to the idea that quickly, cheaply, easily putting mission critical data "out there somewhere" is not encouraged in too many companies. Nevertheless, your point is correct- with the right controls, CCs are fine. I run a small co. providing virtual machine services to SMBs. Yet it is rare that I run into [B]ANYONE[/B] who knows more than I do about IT security-- and when I do, I really pay attention. This is the fundamental problem- corporate doesn't understand how insecure their IT assets are [I]right there in their own building[/I], or how much effort it takes to train staff to be security conscious. Until that issue is addressed more comprehensively, cloud computing will not take off.
Buying stuff with a credit card is not the issue. Buying cloud services with a credit card and working around the IT department's policies for security and reliability is the problem.