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VMware Cloud Foundation to run on new Google Cloud service

VMware and Google signed their second deal in less than a year, this time to support VMware Cloud Foundation workloads on Google Cloud.

Google Cloud users can now run VMware Cloud Foundation workloads, thanks to a new managed service deal between the two companies.

The service, dubbed Google Cloud VMware Engine, builds upon the company's existing VMware offering. VMware users can run VMware's full Cloud Foundation stack on dedicated bare-metal servers provided by Google. The Cloud Foundation stack includes VMware vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX-T and HCX.

Last July the two companies signed a deal that allowed VMware users to run workloads natively on Google Cloud, which gave VMware users an alternative to AWS. As part of that deal, CloudSimple administered the platform running on Google Cloud with Google-provided first-line support.

Google subsequently acquired CloudSimple in November. The new Google Cloud VMware Engine service offers unified billing, a UI within the Google Cloud console, and integrations with native Google Cloud services such as BigQuery, Anthos and Cloud AI. Google handles lifecycle management of the Cloud Foundation stack.

CloudSimple's technology has also powered Microsoft Azure's similar VMware service. This month, Microsoft delivered a preview of the "next evolution" of that service but offered few specifics on what will change. "Our newly announced service Azure VMware Solution does not use CloudSimple, but the Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple continues to be a Microsoft Azure GA service backed by Microsoft SLAs," Microsoft said in a statement.

It makes sense for Google to aggressively go after VMware workloads, as each company has complementary positions in a number of markets, said Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC in Gilford, N.H.

"Google Cloud needs more enterprise traction and VMware needs to get with more cloud partners, and it doesn't upset any existing relationship they have with other [cloud partners]," he said.

Another reason Google is strengthening its relationship with VMware is the anticipated hit Google will take over the next couple of quarters to its advertising revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They will be looking more toward their cloud business to generate more earnings as a way to compensate," Gardner said.

The downside of VMware cloud choices

While enterprises now have their pick of VMware hosting options among the cloud hyperscalers, this is a case where choice can lead to complexity, analysts said.

They point to the added administrative costs users take on in introducing another cloud platform in their environment along with the time it takes to get C-suite level approval. Given the technical similarities among the top three cloud providers, the bureaucratic headaches may not be worth the trouble.

"It gives VMware users an option, but how rich an opportunity is it for Google with many VMware users already deploying multiple clouds?" said Brian Kirsch, an IT architect and instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College. "Also, with just one cloud provider, sometimes it's easier for IT organizations to have all their cloud billing in one place."

The pandemic has created a rich opportunity for cloud providers to form strategic partnerships with so many of corporate users working remotely.

Google has some pretty unique capabilities in the area of AI, so you can run VMware workloads and still access those Google services to work in your VMware environment.
Gary ChenResearch director, IDC

"Amazon has never looked stronger and Microsoft is also doing very well financially," Gardner said. "So, other [cloud] players in the field looking to become number three, now is the time to get really aggressive because this opportunity may not be there later on," he said.

Another analyst sees both the advantages and disadvantages for VMware shops incorporating Google Cloud, especially if they already support one of Google's competitors.

"A lot of companies have selected Google for a particular set of reasons, so getting VMware for another cloud can be a hassle," said Gary Chen, research director, overseeing IDC's software-defined compute practice. "But Google has some pretty unique capabilities in the area of AI, so you can run VMware workloads and still access those Google services to work in your VMware environment."

The Google Cloud VMware Engine rollout begins with availability limited to two U.S. regions today. Eight more around the world will be added in the second half of the year, according to Google.

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