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Expanded IBM-VMware partnership eyes hybrid cloud deployments

A managed cloud service for high availability and additional product integrations for microservices and Watson are the latest fruits of a partnership between IBM and VMware.

IBM and VMware want to route more VMware shops to the cloud, and help them manage workloads once they arrive.

Under an expanded IBM-VMware partnership around hybrid and private cloud computing, IBM has introduced a cloud service for VMware workloads that it said will improve reliability and automate failover within a given IBM Cloud region. The managed service, disclosed at VMworld Europe this week, bundles IBM cloud infrastructure, software-defined networking from VMware and storage that incorporates Intel's new Optane SSD technology, with a pledged 99.99% uptime. It will be offered in 18 availability zones in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, both companies said.

The service offers VMware shops a path to the cloud, and helps them manage cloud workloads, said Deepak Mohan, research director at IDC.

"What we see as companies adopt cloud is that larger companies have a preference for working with a partner," he said.

What we see as companies adopt cloud is that larger companies have a preference for working with a partner.
Deepak Mohanresearch director, IDC

VMware also said that its VMware vCenter Server now supports IBM Cloud Private Hosted, which lets customers manage both containers and virtual machines under a single security model. The Cloud Private Hosted platform, based on Kubernetes, helps IT shops build microservices-oriented applications.

This will enable companies to run stateless components of virtualized applications inside containers, while ones that require state, such as a database, live inside VMs, the companies said. IBM also said it hopes customers will use its services for blockchain, event streaming and other functionality as they modernize existing VMware applications.

Meanwhile, in networking, IBM Cloud Private adds support for VMware's NSX-T Data Center SDN product. In addition, VMware will use IBM's Watson AI technology in its support portals so customers can converse using natural language. The system will analyze a problem and match the customer with a live engineer.

For VMware, the IBM relationship is far from exclusive; it also has deals with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google to run VMware workloads on their public clouds. One difference with IBM is an emphasis on hybrid cloud scenarios, thanks to its retreat from direct competition with the big public cloud providers.

The expanded IBM-VMware partnership gives IBM something to appeal to various types of VMware customers, Mohan said.

For enterprises with the highest level of VMware investment, the biggest single criteria are a safe, reliable deployment with no downtime. A second class of VMware customer sees the company's technology as its best option, but also watches for tweaks and emerging features that can improve its performance, so these additional integrations can have some appeal, Mohan said. And a third set uses VMware because only it offers what they need right now, Mohan added.

"If they can get it at a lower price point, they'll move," he said.

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