AWS vs. VMware: Is a cloud collision inevitable?

AWS vs. VMware: Is a cloud collision inevitable?

Summary: Amazon Web Services' management console is bait for VMware customers to move virtual machines to the public cloud. VMware's bet is hybrid datacenters win.

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Amazon Web Services has launched a management console that could make it easier to port VMware virtual machines into the cloud. The move could put Amazon Web Services and VMware on a collision course in the years ahead.

Late last month, AWS launched a management portal for VMware's vCenter, which is used to manage virtualized datacenters. AWS integrated sign-ons and coupled the look and feel of vCenter with its own management portal. AWS's Management Portal for vCenter can be downloaded and installed within the vSphere application.

vsphere_04_aws_portal_main_1

The upshot is that AWS should be easier to try out for hybrid datacenters. Ultimately, the reduced friction of moving virtual machines to AWS's EC2 could enable more cloud trials for enterprises.

How important is AWS' move? Judging from VMware's reaction Amazon's management console struck a nerve. In a blog post, VMware CTO Chris Wolf argued that AWS' vCenter console may just make things more complicated for cloud architects. Wolf wrote:

Amazon announced the AWS Management Portal for vCenter. Administrators will find this tool useful for importing virtual machines into Amazon and conducting basic management tasks from VMware vCenter.

However, as I’ve said before, the virtual machine is the easy part. Consider all of the management dependencies above as well as third-party integration. If you want to move those workloads or simply run additional instances in a region with no AWS presence, an outsourcer, another cloud provider, or your own datacenter, you may find that the cost and complexity associated with migration or a new deployment is too much.

The service stack would likely be bound to proprietary APIs, and all or most of the third-party management and operational software will have to be replaced. You will be burdened with new QA challenges and likely will need to reengage with the procurement teams.

Wolf then said that customers should question the strategic value of the AWS portal since third-party integrations, software licensing, and workload portability and orchestration are all big question marks.

In other words, VMware argued that AWS' portal could break things.

ScienceLogic, which has its CloudMapper application to move cloud workloads around, chimed in. ScienceLogic CTO Antonio Piraino quipped that AWS is batting its eyelids at VMware's users and that the virtualization player was wailing. Piraino said its hybrid management tool is really bait for enterprises to migrate workloads to AWS.

Like Wolf, Piraino did note that there are complexity issues and moving workloads to AWS from VMware isn't easy. Not surprisingly, Piraino then plugged CloudMapper.

The biggest takeaway here is that AWS could disrupt VMware like it has other big tech companies. As compute and storage move to the cloud enterprise, hardware is stumbling. VMware isn't a hardware company, but rest assured that the company's software runs on all those boxes that are sold.

Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha said:

The critical element is that Amazon workloads can be created on-premise and then shipped off-premise, reducing the need for owned capacity. Clearly, this balances interoperability between on-premise and off-premise and needs to be worked out in practice; however, it does highlight the continued disruption that AWS provides to traditional IT spending and pricing.

AWS's continued innovation, rising scale and price cuts come amid a subdued outlook for IT spending. We fear Amazon's offerings compress the effective total addressable market for traditional IT vendors and that the company is contributing to the muted IT spending.

Garcha added that AWS is mostly a threat to IBM, Cisco, HP and NetApp, but could hamper EMC, owner of VMware too.

Simone Brunozzi, chief technologist and vice president of VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service, isn't buying Garcha's argument. Brunozzi used to work at AWS and said he became sold on the hybrid datacenter approach after seeing the limitations of the public cloud. He also argued at a recent breakfast that VMware's prospects are strong because the vendor can play a big role in simplifying interdependencies and making public and private clouds interoperable.

The reality is that VMware and AWS will have plenty of room to grow going forward. However, the two are likely to collide at some point on cloud management tools.

Bottom line: AWS is a threat to VMware should it make the hybrid datacenter lean a bit more to the public cloud.

Topics: Virtualization, Amazon, Cloud, Data Centers, VMware

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9 comments
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  • AWS lack of granularity

    It might make moving a little easier, but as far as I know, AWS still has a major lack of granularity compared to vmware. It ties cpu to memory (with a couple of variations so not completely 1:1), but you can't do extremes like a 64GB vm with 2 CPUs and a 8GB VM with 16 CPUs. Makes it rather wasteful to move some work loads to AWS...
    John Lauro
  • Ahh the humble comma..

    Once little more than a lesser punctuation mark, nowadays a reasonable indicator distinguishing the credibility of ye olde professional journalist from the contemporary 'internet blogger'.
    Flawless Cowboy
    • (ninja edits noted)

      Flawless Cowboy
  • Amazon has the better long term play as computing becomes a utility

    It's not there yet, but the LONG term destination will eventually be computing as a utility. Much like the fact that companies a 100 years ago had their own power stations, eventually most companies will not have data centers (or VERY small ones).

    The idea of "private clouds" solve some of the short term issues that public cloud computing has not solved such as more granular control and security issues, but long term VMware is looking into the Abyss.

    The analogy to the power company example above is that VMware and hardware manufacturers are the equivalent of those companies that sold, setup and supported a company specific power station 100 years ago. They don't want their business to go away and would rather their customers keep right on making their own power and buying the equipment and services to maintain it.

    Corporations that aren't public cloud providers don't want to have to spend money on hardware if they can avoid it and that trend is increasing.
    Doug0915
    • Right

      I think you are right in regards to the long term, but I think Azure is even better prepared than AWS in this regards with the PAAS offerings.
      craigvn@...
    • Nope. You are dead wrong.

      By your reasoning, we shouldn't have motor cars due to public transportation systems, or private houses due to the lower cost of renting. However we do, and transportation and housing are two of the oldest industries of man. The fact of the matter is that people use public facilities, when they can't afford private ones. That is why most people in the U.S. own private cars, but take public planes. This means that it is highly likely that private clouds / local storage, will likely always be with us.

      As far as I'm concerned, the reason people use public utilities, is because little innovation has taken place in this sector of the economy to make them affordable and convenient. Believe me, if people could put an appliance in their homes which required next to zero maintenance, and was cost competitive with public utilities, they would. In fact, if a company could do this, the world would be its oyster, as it would be able to rack unmanageable loads of business around the world.

      Another important thing to note, is that utilities and other public services, are some of the least innovative on this planet. This is why you see decidedly more innovation in private cars, than you see in public busses. Commerce around private items also generate far more wealth than their public counterparts. Just ask real estate agents how much more money they get from the sale of a house than securing a renter.

      Add up all of the above, and you can see that private clouds are the way to go. Just make them into appliances that are dead easy to use, and let people preferably own them, since when people own stuff, the more money they tend to sink into them.

      Private clouds are simply the best: people get to own their data, destiny, etc.; it is a better arrangement security wise, as splitting up resources mitigates the consequences of data breaches, terrorist attacks, etc.; companies can still provide services to their customers as a form of revenue, etc.
      P. Douglas
  • Consumers underlie Corporation choices.

    These types of articles only talk about Corporations, but never about the consumer. The consumer needs are what is driving the move to AWS, and "that" is what is important.
    billegge
  • http://www.livedrive.com/?a_aid=537373cedf18e

    Use Live Drive.. Two terabytes of fully encrypted storage that you have the ability to access from any computer, tablet, or phone from anywhere for $12/mo... great stuff. I got the briefcase option. This company offers the best price I can find as far as quality cloud storage goes. Here's the link to the different packages http://www.livedrive.com/?a_aid=537373cedf18e
    ugaman4403
  • vCloud Automation Center Anyone?

    I find a couple of things interesting here. First, VMWare has vCloud Automation Center, which can deploy to Openstack Clouds, AWS, vCenter, vCloud Director (while it still exists), bare metal, and a single ESXi host. Each update they add new cloud instances that it can deploy to. I would guess we will see Azure and Google (GCE) very soon. Deploys can be a single VM, a bunch of single VM's, or an entire complex vApp container. This is all from a single pane of glass that includes security groups, governance, costing and reclamation. The interface can be presented to DevOps and other groups so that they can spin-up and down their own instances, based on blueprints that encompass all of the above. Amazon doesn't come close with their plug-in for vCenter.

    If you have ever used VMWare vCloud Hybrid Service, it is based on vCAC, but, of course, it does not give you the option of moving or deploying to a competitor cloud, only between your private site and the vCHS.

    And this comment below, which I find interesting, because vCAC was originally called DynamicOPS and was a Credit Suisse in-house developed tool, that was bought out by VMWare when it was 4.5 and renamed to vCAC. It is now at version 6.01 I believe, and is somewhat complex, but works well, and the VMWare polish only gets better with every version.

    Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha said:

    "The critical element is that Amazon workloads can be created on-premise and then shipped off-premise, reducing the need for owned capacity. Clearly, this balances interoperability between on-premise and off-premise and needs to be worked out in practice; however, it does highlight the continued disruption that AWS provides to traditional IT spending and pricing."

    "AWS's continued innovation, rising scale and price cuts come amid a subdued outlook for IT spending. We fear Amazon's offerings compress the effective total addressable market for traditional IT vendors and that the company is contributing to the muted IT spending."
    vCACdude