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VMworld 2017: VMware Talks Up Multi-Cloud and Amazon Partnership

Despite positioning itself as a provider of multi-cloud services, launch of VMware Cloud on AWS looms large at VMworld, where company also focused on NSX-based networking and hypervisor-based security with release of AppSense.

VMware's new cloud offering hosted by Amazon Web Services is now available on a limited basis for customers wanting to host instances out of AWS's U.S. West Region datacenters in Portland, Ore. The launch of VMware Cloud on AWS was the big news at the annual VMworld conference, which kicked off today, and is part of its new VMware Cloud offering, described broadly as VMware's portfolio of public and private cloud services.

The company launched numerous new offerings including its new portfolio of SaaS services called VMware Cloud Services, which consist of six offerings. Among the most notable are the new NSX Cloud that provides cloud-based microsegmentation and its AppSense security platform that delivers app-layer security in the vSphere hypervisor tied to its NSX software-defined network platform.  

But the company characterized the new VMware Cloud on AWS as the most sought-after by customers. The release is limited and will roll out worldwide through 2018. This comes less than a year after the two companies announced what they described as a major partnership to let VMware customers more easily provision their on-premises ESX, vSphere, vSAN and NSX infrastructure into the AWS cloud.

In the keynote address kicking off this week's VMworld and the post-session news conference, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger found himself walking a fine-line between showing elation over the release of VMware Cloud on AWS and position the company has a provider of cross-cloud services.

"There's a lot to be fired up about," Gelsinger said, with AWS CEO Andy Jassy at his side on stage. "Customers are really excited about it." At the post-keynote Q&A with press and analysts, Gelsinger was asked to reconcile the emphasis on AWS, which overshadowed its support for Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and even its close ties with IBM.

"The relationship with Amazon is quite different," Gelsinger said, adding customers have shown more interest in that than the other components of what is now to be called the VMware Cloud portfolio of public and private cloud services. Gelsinger pointed to last week's extended support for Google Chromebooks and the fact that its Horizon Cloud is now on Microsoft Azure.

Michael Dell, VMware's chairman and the CEO of parent company Dell Technologies, who was with Gelsinger during the Q&A session, defended the multi-cloud emphasis. "It's definitely a multi-cloud world," Dell said.

Among the other announcements by VMware tied to that focus, the company launched its new VMware Cloud Foundation, designed to let organizations' cloud-native applications run on-premises and bust to multiple public cloud providers. VMware has tapped CenturyLink, Fujitsu and Rackspace as the initial partners for the new offering. On the hardware side, several suppliers supporting VMware Cloud Foundation include Dell EMC VxRack SDDC and the new releases of Hitachi Data Systems UCP-RS, Fujitsu's PRIMEFLEX and QCT's QxStack. Cisco, HDS, Fujitsu and Lenovo also launched new servers certified for VMware Cloud Foundation.

The company also launched its new VMware Cloud Services, a collection of six SaaS offerings that provide various functions such as monitoring, costing, discovery and a network and security analysis service. The services that took center stage today was VMware NSX Cloud, which provides security and networking via NSX-based microsegmentation networking services called the NSX Cloud and VMware AppSense, a platform that offers threat detection and response, a service that will be embedded and operates within the vSphere hypervisor.

AppSense uses all of the key VMware software-defined data center components including SDDC, ESX and NSX to create a library of incident response routines and can respond accordingly including reimaging a machine. "We are protecting applications that are running on top of virtualized and cloud environments," said Tom Corn, VMware's senior VP for security products. "We think it's going to be an incredibly powerful model."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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