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VMware vCHS, vCAC show cloud commitment, but raise questions

With recent moves, VMware is staking its claim on the cloud market. But with new directions and services, enterprise IT has some lingering questions.

VMware has reigned king in the virtualization world, but as enterprises move to a cloud model, it's unclear whether the company can keep up. With many moves and announcements in the last month, VMware Inc. has assured the market that it's definitely going to give it a college try. By moving to a more cloud-centric approach with new services, VMware has attracted cloud customers from its existing base, but can it reach outside its walls for new clients?

This is just one of the many questions IT pros have about VMware, and in this feature, we look to address five more.

What happened to vCloud Director?

In efforts to draw more enterprises into its cloud technologies, VMware has shuffled its services cards, including with vCloud Director.

In efforts to draw more enterprises into its cloud technologies, VMware has shuffled its services cards, including with vCloud Director. During VMworld 2013 in August, VMware said it would split intellectual property in vCloud Director into other portions of its vCloud suite, vCloud Automation Center and vCenter. Despite no specifics, a VMware spokesperson said it was fair to assume that vCAC would absorb capabilities such as multi-tenancy management, and vCenter would take the virtual data center.

But what about existing vCD customers? Because of past migration issues, VMware assured customers that it would be a smooth transition. Standalone vCD customers will be moved into the vCloud suite, and vCloud suite customers will specifically move to vCAC -- with the help of a migration tool.

What is VMware vCAC and what services does it include?

After vCloud Director folded, VMware customers learned more about vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). VMware's vCAC is based on the company's DynamicOps acquisition in 2012, and now more and more of VMware's cloud technologies and capabilities are being folded into vCAC to support vCD's shuttering. In December, VMware said vCAC 6.0 Enterprise edition will include Application Director, previously called vFabric Application Director, and will integrate with Data Director and vCenter Orchestrator.

What changes did VMware make with its hybrid cloud service?

Shutting down vCloud Director isn't the only recent wave VMware has made in the cloud market. In fact, some experts say that the introduction of its vCloud Hybrid Service could be the key to wooing enterprises to VMware cloud. Previously, VMware refused to offer its own public cloud service, instead referring virtualization customers to partners, such as Bluelock and CSC Corp., and then advising them to use the vCloud Connector tool. But with the introduction of vCloud Hybrid Service in 2013, VMware has changed its course.

Why would my enterprise use VMware's hybrid cloud service?

If you're an existing VMware customer, using vCloud Hybrid Service seems like a seamless transition to public cloud services and may be the path of least resistance. In addition, you may already have the staff and talent in-house to cope with any headaches the service may create. However, there is value in VMware for non-virtualization customers as well.

Shawn Wiora, chief information officer of Creative Solutions in HealthCare, actually chose cloud services with Microsoft's Windows Azure -- but when he hit snags, it was VMware who came to his aid. VMware offered Wiora free training and implementation services if he switched to vCHS. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said that this is exactly what his company is aiming to do, reaching out to customers with different value propositions and fitting a service to their workloads.

Does VMware really have a chance against Amazon in the cloud market?

Six months after the general availability to vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware claims hundreds of enterprise customers. However, that number is far behind Amazon Web Services'. VMware has made moves to become a cloud-centric company, but its success must mean reaching beyond its existing customer base.

"Today we think the world is fairly bifurcated between born-in-the-cloud-type providers like Amazon, who are fantastic for targeting next-gen apps, and other providers targeting traditional apps," said Bill Fathers, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's Hybrid Cloud Business Unit, to SearchCloudComputing in a Q&A. "If you ask any enterprise, what they really want is someone who can do both."

And this is precisely where he believes VMware has a chance against AWS.

But with vCHS and is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) still in beta, cloud watchers will have to wait until at least September, when vCHS goes into general availability, to know for sure.

Caitlin White is site editor for SearchCloudComputing. Contact her at cwhite@techtarget.com.

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