VMware Chooses AWS over Azure

VMware, the leading virtualization company in the world, went all-in on Amazon Web Services

VMware's main show, VMworld, happened in late August, and Microsoft Ignite is this month. Something happened at VMworld that should worry Microsoft, and spur it to action on the Azure front.

What happened was that VMware, the leading virtualization company in the world, went all-in on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The service is called "VMware Cloud on AWS," and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger announced at VMworld that it was now live, and soon to be available everywhere.

VMware Cloud on AWS essentially allows use of VMware technologies on the AWS public cloud. Because most admins are comfortable with vSphere, using it on AWS eases the painful cloud learning curve by a lot. But what should worry Microsoft even more than that was Gelsinger's attitude toward AWS. He enthusiastically pushed VMware Cloud on AWS during his Day One keynote, including being joined onstage by AWS chief Andy Jassy.

This is significant, because the Day One keynote is the prime real estate of any show, and is meant to demonstrate a company's top priorities. And VMware shouted from the rooftops that its primary cloud partner is AWS, and not Microsoft Azure.

When asked about his company's singling out of AWS to the exclusion of other cloud players, including Microsoft, Google and IBM, Gelsinger paid lip service to the fact that VMware is a "multi-cloud platform"; but it was clear that everyone else is not a priority for the company. There are no co-equals here; there's one company in the winner's circle, and it ain't Microsoft.

Azure has done spectacularly well in the last several years, to the point where it's the clear-cut No. 2 choice for public cloud. It's highly regarded by businesses, and does especially well in the enterprise market.

But it remains No. 2, and with VMware pushing the AWS partnership so hard, many customers considering public cloud may be persuaded to try AWS first, thinking that VMware's endorsement signals a superior platform. Microsoft may be able to overcome this perception, but it won't be easy. VMworld 2017 didn't do Microsoft any favors.

(Note: this article appeared in the September 2017 print issue of Virtualization & Cloud Review magazine).

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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