​VMware launches vCloud Air hybrid service in Australia

VMware has officially launched vCloud Air in Australia, which will be hosted initially in Telstra's datacentre in Melbourne.

VMware has finally announced the general availability of its hybrid cloud service vCloud Air in Australia.

The service will initially be hosted out of Telstra's datacentre in Melbourne as part of a non-exclusive partnership, and will also be connected into Telstra's Next IP network. VMware Australia and New Zealand director of cloud and services provider sales Dan McLean said there is, however, potential to expand vCloud Air to other datacentres across the country, depending on market demand.

"It gives a lot of benefits and opportunities in how we address what is often a very complex question for customers -- connectivity for the cloud. We have a lot of reach capability of interconnectivity, and customers can certainly take point-to-point connectivity into the cloud service, as well," he said.

"What the integration with Next IP gives is a very pervasive, direct connectivity across a large number of customers in the Australian market. So customers on the Next IP network will effectively mean a zero-dollar cost and a zero level of complexity to go and get a secured, high-speed, high-performance vCloud-Air service."

Datacom, Data#3, Macquarie Telecom, and Deloitte have also been named as managed services providers of the new service. At the same time, customers will also have the option to purchase directly from VMware.

McLean said the vCloud Air platform was designed on the company's vSphere platform. This means that any migration of applications between a customer's existing datacentre and the vCloud Air, or vice versa, will be able to occur "seamlessly".

"We have a platform -- and this differs drastically from the public cloud in the market -- that we have built reliability and redundancy into the core platform. Our approach is that the platform should support reliable and redundant workloads, and not have customers build those into the applications. This reduces the customer need to retool and redevelop applications," he said.

Customers will have the option to purchase the suite through a subscription service or on demand.

While no Australian customers were named, VMware hybrid cloud services vice president Matthew Lodge believes that international companies with presence in Australia, such as retailers, will take advantage of the offer.

The arrival of vCloud Air comes 18 months after VMware first said that Australia will be targeted as the company's premier geography across the Asia-Pacific for its hybrid cloud service, with intentions of pushing the suite out to Australia in mid-2014. A year later, in 2014, the company confirmed that it would not launch until sometime in 2015.

When asked why it has taken the company so long to launch, VMware Australia and New Zealand vice president and managing director Duncan Bennet suggested that the company's rollout has been pretty quick since it was initially launched in the US.

"In 18 months, we've rolled it out to North America, to both the commercial and federal sector; we've rolled it out to the UK, we've rolled it out to Japan; we've rolled it out to Germany; we've now rolled it out to Australia. We don't think that has taken very long," he said.

Lodge added that by comparison to other players in the market, the arrival of vCloud Air to Australia has happened in a short time.

"If you look at the other guys, they took years to do this," he said.

Lodge said that the introduction of vCloud Air will help organisations address the challenges they face when they transition to cloud.

"The difficulty involved is how they can leverage what they currently have and where do they want to do new transformational things in cloud. What we've seen is hybrid has become the preferred way to do that," he said.

"It allows you to bring along or extend your existing IT, and at the same time support the deployment of brand new cloud-native applications. Hybrid is about integrating the two together."

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