On August 31, VMware announced the release of enhancements for the company’s public cloud platform in the form of VMware vCloud Air, VMware vCloud Air Object Storage and VMware vCloud Air SQL. VMware vCloud Air represents the public cloud component of VMware’s unified hybrid cloud platform. Recently enhanced VMware vCloud Air components include VMware vCloud Air Object storage, a portfolio of storage solutions for unstructured powered either by Google Cloud Platform’s Google Cloud Storage infrastructure, or by EMC’s EMC ViPR solution. Meanwhile, VMware vCloud Air SQL represents a database as a service SQL platform that delivers a cloud-based platform for the storage of relational databases. VMware vCloud Air also now features a suite of disaster recovery services that leverage cloud services to ensure uptime and availability of on premise and cloud-based deployments by means of a cloud-based management console for orchestration. Taken together, the storage, database and disaster recovery upgrades to the VMware vCloud Air public cloud constitute a notable enhancement to VMware’s overall unified hybrid cloud platform, which prides itself on the ability to deliver cloud services for any application and any device. Given the stark reality that enterprises using cloud services are almost invariably leveraging some kind of hybrid cloud environment, the enhancements to VMware vCloud Air position VMware to more effectively complement its dominance within on-premise data center infrastructures and deliver a stronger case for its unified hybrid cloud solution.
VMware Releases Bevy Of Enhancements To Its Public Cloud Platform, vCloud Air To Bolster Its Hybrid Cloud Solution
VMware has partnered with SoftBank Commerce and Service to deliver VMware’s vCloud Hybrid service IaaS platform to Japan. SoftBank will provide VMware with datacenters, network and a dedicated sales team whereas VMware will manage the implementation and subsequent management of the vCloud platform in Japan. Meanwhile, VMware stands to benefit from SoftBank’s network of more than 7000 resellers in Japan. Japan represents only the third country after the U.S. and U.K where VMware is launching its vCloud Hybrid Service and the first country in Asia. vCloud Hybrid Service is currently available in private Beta and will be generally available in Q4 of this year. vCloud Hybrid Service creates a single-tenant private cloud, a multi-tenant virtual private cloud or a disaster recovery cloud that facilitates the extension of on-premise infrastructures to the cloud. VMware also announced preliminary plans to use its technology in China to build a hybrid cloud service in Beijing in collaboration with China Telecom.
Today, VMware announced the acquisition of Desktone, a Desktop as a Service vendor that specializes in desktop virtualization for Windows desktop environments and applications as a cloud-based service. Features of Desktone’s Desktop as a Service include a multi-tenant architecture whereby each customer receives their own discrete virtual environment, cloud-based self-provisioning and scalability across multiple geographies and IT environments. Desktone is certified to work with VMware’s virtualization ecosystem that includes the vSphere and vCloud fleet of products. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, though the deal does illustrate the depth of commercial interest in desktop virtualization given its cost, operational and security advantages for customers, in addition to its convergence with the industry’s larger migration toward cloud-based IT delivery.
VMware Launches vCloud Hybrid Service IaaS Platform By Leaning On Industry Familiarity With VMware Virtualization Tools
This week, VMware revealed details of its Infrastructure as a Service platform, vCloud Hybrid Service. Based on the premise that enterprise customers are interested in a cloud offering marked by an extension of the technology within their datacenters, VMware announced a cloud solution built around the VMware virtualization technologies with which the enterprise is deeply familiar. VMware’s offering is branded as a hybrid cloud because it enables customers to transport workloads back and forth between their public cloud platform and private customer data centers in ways that allow enterprises to leverage private and public cloud solutions in tandem as dictated by their business needs.
Key features of the VMware IaaS vCloud Hybrid Service include the following:
•IaaS platforms delivered through VMware service providers that provides vCloud Datacenter Services to enable customers to provision virtual environments with ease. vCloud Datacenter Services feature SLAs guaranteeing uptime of 99.5%, role based access control and the ability to configure stacks for compliance with SAS 70 Type II or ISO27001 standards.
•A choice of dedicated or virtual private cloud solutions. A dedicated solution offers customers “physically isolated infrastructure” in contrast to the “logically isolated infrastructure” specific to a virtual private cloud solution.
•An IaaS infrastructure delivered by certified VMware service providers such as AT&T Inc., Bluelock, Colt, CSC, Dell Services, Optus, SingTel, Softbank, T-Systems
•vCloud Connector 2.0 enables customers to transfer workloads between private datacenters and VMware public clouds. Customers can effect the transfer of workloads betweeen infrastructures by using one network configuration instead of reconfiguring network settings in the destination infrastructure. Additionally, customers can manage the transfer of data between different infrastructures with “One Catalog” that synchronizes the list of available content across all relevant infrastructures, thereby avoiding the scenario whereby customers are forced to manage multiple content catalogs concurrently.
Because VMware’s IaaS vCloud Hybrid Service is delivered through a cluster of service partners, the offering is fundamentally different from the IaaS product offerings of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. VMware plans to make its vCloud Hybrid Service technology and IP available to all service partners, and promises to build one of the most extensive IaaS partnerships for public cloud computing available in the world today. The product effectively gives new meaning to the term cloud interoperability given that customers can transfer workloads not only between private enterprise datacenters and public clouds enabled by VMware’s service partners, but also between VMware’s public cloud, partner datacenters as well. vCloud Hybrid Service will be available through an early access program in June and anticipates becoming generally available in Q3 of this year.
EMC’s Pivotal One Attempts To Bring IT Infrastructures Of Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services To Enterprise
This week, EMC and its subsidiary VMware revealed details of the vision behind Pivotal, its spin-off company financed in part by $105 million in capital from GE. In a webcast announcing the launch of Pivotal on Wednesday, Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz, formerly CEO of VMware from 2008 to 2012, remarked that Pivotal attempts to bring to enterprises the technology platforms that have allowed internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services to efficiently operate IT infrastructures on a massive scale while concurrently demonstrating cost and performance efficiencies in application development and data analytics.
Referring specifically to Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services, Maritz elaborated on the strengths of their IT infrastructure as follows:
If you look at the way they do IT, it is significantly different than the way enterprises do IT. Specifically, they are good at storing large amounts of data and drawing information from it in a cost-effective manner. They can develop applications very quickly. And they are good at automating routines. They used these three capabilities together to introduce new experiences and business processes that have yielded — depended on how you want to count it — a trillion dollars in market value.
According to Maritz, the internet giants are a cut above everyone else with respect to data storage, data analytics, application development and automation. Enterprises, in contrast, leverage comparatively archaic IT infrastructures marked by on premise data centers and attempts to migrate to the cloud in conjunction with meager data analytics capability and poor or non-existent IT automation and orchestration processes. As a result, the enterprise market represents an opportunity to deploy technology platforms that allow for efficient storage, data integration across disparate data sources and interactive applications with real-time responses to incoming data as Maritz notes below:
It is clear that there is a widespread need emerging for new solutions that allow customers to drive new business value by cost-effectively reasoning over large datasets, ingesting information that is rapidly arriving from multiple sources, writing applications that allow real-time reactions, and doing all of this in a cloud-independent or portable manner. The need for these solutions can be found across a wide range of industries and it is our belief that these solutions will drive the need for new platforms. Pivotal aims to be a leading provider of such a platform. We are honored to work with GE, as they seek to drive new business value in the age of the Industrial Internet.
More specifically, Pivotal will provide a platform as a service infrastructure called Pivotal One that brings the capabilities currently enjoyed by the likes of Facebook and Google to enterprises in ways that allow them to continue their transition to cloud-based IT infrastructures while concurrently enjoying all of the benefits of advanced storage, analytics and agile application development. In other words, Pivotal One marks the confluence of Big Data, Cloud, Analytics and Application Development in a bold play to commoditize the IT capabilities held by a handful of internet giants and render them available to the enterprise through a PaaS platform.
Pivotal One’s key components include the following:
Pivotal Data Fabric
A platform for data storage and analytics based on Pivotal HD, which features an enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Hadoop in addition to Pivotal HD’s HAWQ analytics platform.
Pivotal Cloud and Application Platform
An application development framework for Java for the enterprise based on Cloud Foundry and Spring.
Pivotal Expert Services
Professional services for agile application development and data analytics.
Open Source Support
Active support of open source projects such as but not limited to Spring, Cloud Foundry, RabbitMQ™, Redis, OpenChorus™.
Pivotal currently claims Groupon, EMI, and Salesforce.com among its customer base. The company already has 1250 employees and, given GE’s financing and interests, is poised to take a leadership role in the industrial internet space whereby objects such as automobiles, washers, dryers and other appliances deliver real-time data to a circuit of analytic dashboards that iteratively provide feedback, automation and control. Pivotal One also represents a nascent trend within the Platform as a Service industry whereby PaaS is increasingly evolving into an “everything as a service” platform that sits atop various IaaS infrastructures. For example, CumuLogic recently announced news of a platform that allows customers to build Amazon Web Services-like infrastructures marked by suites of IaaS, Big Data, PaaS and application development infrastructures on top of private clouds behind their enterprise firewall. EMC’s Pivotal One is expected to be generally available by the end of 2013.
This week, Puppet Labs announced VMware’s investment of $30 million. This is a huge investment by VMware, and one that bears significant implications for cloud automation and IT automation more generally. Puppet’s total capital raise now stands at $46 million. The company boasts more than 700 paying customers and 3.5 million product downloads in the last year.
Some quick thoughts about the investment’s significance and implications:
•VMware’s investment in Puppet Labs represents much more than an infusion of cash. The investment points toward a “strategic partnership for delivering IT management solutions that will enable customers to fully realize the agility and productivity benefits of virtualization and cloud in heterogeneous, multi-vendor IT environments.” Given VMware’s positioning with respect to the enterprise as a result of its server virtualization technology, the investment stands to offer Puppet a clear road deep into the enterprise IT market in ways that could well propel it into the undisputed market leader in IT automation. The partnership represents a huge coup for Puppet because it maintains the independence of its product roadmap while concurrently earning the opportunity to let its technology complement the most powerful, respected and profitable company in the virtualization space.
•VMware’s investment reveals that DevOps holds one of the keys to cloud adoption and success. By DevOps we mean the ability of development resources to optimize the operational issues specific to deploying and managing enterprise software. Puppet Labs stands at the heart of the DevOps revolution by virtue of its products that streamline IT automation by simplifying software deployments and hardware provisioning. Because the confluence of development and operations is increasingly critical to cloud deployments of any stripe or flavor, Puppet’s partnership with VMware will add fuel to the DevOps movement and its associated array of IT automation vendors such as Chef and RightScale.
•Software Defined Networking (SDN) represents another other clear winner indicated by VMware’s investment in Puppet. As Puppet CEO Luke Kanies reminds us in his recent blog post, VMware bought Nicira to streamline the management of virtualized data centers. Puppet’s technology is likely to interface with technology from the Nicira acquisition as part of its strategic partnership with VMware and subsequently accelerate the deployment of software defined networking solutions throughout the enterprise.
Dell is incubating a new platform as a service offering built upon the Cloud Foundry PaaS infrastructure. The product, Project Fast PaaS, claims enhancements to the Cloud Foundry PaaS project. Project Fast PaaS boasts compatibility with Ruby, Node.js, Java, PHP and Python in addition to support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Redis databases as well as the RabbitMQ messaging system. An open-source solution, the product additionally features compatibility with application development frameworks such as Django, Grails, JavaWeb, Lift, Node, Play, Rack, Rails, Sinatra and Spring. Participants must already subscribe to Dell’s IaaS enterprise public cloud, Dell vCloud, in order to preview Dell’s Project Fast PaaS offering.
Dell’s investment in Project Fast PaaS illustrates the emerging currency of the VMware-EMC Cloud Foundry PaaS platform as the de facto standard infrastructure for Platform as a Service offerings. ActiveState’s Stackato, for example, which is similarly based upon the Cloud Foundry platform has recently been licensed by HP for HP’s Cloud Application PaaS offering. The other trend represented by Dell’s PaaS offering consists of the willingness of heavyweight tech behemoths such as Dell and HP to supplement their IaaS public cloud offering with a PaaS solution of some kind. IaaS customers are likely to want a PaaS offering as well, and correspondingly, PaaS may well end us serving as an originator for IaaS customers. The industry should expect to see more IaaS-PaaS combination offerings as public cloud vendors, in particular, strive to accommodate demands for preconfigured development frameworks from their customers alongside their IaaS platforms.