Australia first for VMware hybrid cloud push but NZ leads on cloud

As the virtualisation vendor lines its ducks in a row for its new vCloud Hybrid Service in Australia, it says New Zealand is the region's cloud leader.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Thanks to its high rate of virtualisation, and viewed upon as a mature market, Australia has been targeted by VMware to be the premier geography across the Asia-Pacific for its new hybrid cloud service.

"If you look at the plans we've put in around the region, it's all focused on getting Australia up and running first," said Andrew Dutton, VMware general manager of Asia-Pacific and Japan told ZDNet. "Because the CIOs there are probably the most advanced in the way that they will say, 'plan it, get it done, test it, implement'."

Rather than follow the model used in the US, where the vendor will roll out its own branded datacentres as well as use datacentres from VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) partner Savvies, Dutton said that the APAC rollout would follow a pure partnership approach.

"I can't see a reason today as to why you would pour concrete and build things; there's just so much available in the marketplace," Dutton said.

"I don't know why you would do the alternative [to build a datacentre], it just doesn't seem to be logical to go the other way 'round. They have in the US, because they wanted to bring the brand up very quickly and build a market presence, but we will probably leverage off that presence."

Businesses looking to move onto VMware's hybrid service, which promises customers that they will be able to dynamically move between a private and hybrid model, will know the details in the first quarter of next year.

"My intent is to have major markets at least announced, with a couple up and running by the middle of next year. I'd like to announce a little earlier than that, if we can," said Dutton.

As for who the vendor will be partnering with to roll out vCloud Hybrid Service, Dutton would not reveal names, but said there had been a lot of interest from partners and other service providers.

"There's a lot of people that want to come and play," he said. "But I don't think we've sat down with them and gone through the detail of what both parties have got to do to make this run effectively.

"I'm not going to go into any market unless I've got absolutely strong hands under this infrastructure, because I'm not going to let a customer fail on this. It doesn't make any sense, it would damage the brand way more than the value of doing it quickly.

"We haven't chosen anyone yet, but there's a lot of people banging on the door."

Similarly, VMware said it has seen a good deal of customer interest since its announcement on Monday.

"We've already had the phone calls saying, 'come on, boys, at least give us an understanding of what this will look like and how we do it'."

Dutton said that while many CIOs understand what it is that the vendor is offering, they will not move to it, nor bet their network on it, until they are able to mirror into and test the new environment properly.

"There are some companies that don't want to be on the leading or bleeding edge, and they'll do it on the normal cycle refresh — they're technology dependent, not technology led.

"But if you get some of the larger customers that are technology only — the banks, the insurance companies, some of the health people, some of the governments, actually — they will actually go hunt this down, because it makes such a competitive advantage for them.

"The sooner we can draw a line in the sand, they'll grab that."

Meanwhile, VMware's Australia and New Zealand managing director Duncan Bennet said he sees New Zealand leading the way in virtualisation and cloud discussions.

"I guess what we've seen in the last few years after Christchurch is that New Zealand is very advanced in areas of reliability, desktop virtualisation, and recovery," he said.

"We think that they are slightly more mature than the Australian market in terms of virtualisation."

Dutton similarly praised the New Zealand government for its cloud-first initiatives.

"When the [New Zealand] government decided that they would go more to an outsourced, standardised, cloud-based platform, the whole partner community and the ecosystem changed quite dramatically," he said.

"I think that's quite refreshing, actually, to find a government that will actually go, 'We know we want to go in that direction, there are fundamental legal issues that were not evident when we wrote the law a while ago, and we really need to have that discussion with the community and the technology providers to allow us to get on top of that.'

"They're probably leading the thought right across the Asia-Pacific just because they are a little bit ahead of the game."

With New Zealand leading the way with its cloud computing code of practice, Dutton said it was another reason for the partnership model.

"Often, those folks have a deeper understanding or a deeper relationship with the legal structures of a country than we do initially.

"I think having that understanding in a partner that says, 'No, no, no, no. This is the way we are going to do it.' I think it is highly valuable to us, and I'd like to be able to mirror that across the region."

Bennet said that the ultimate driver for VMware's hybrid cloud push is to move the decision on how to approach and implement in the cloud from one that is based around technology details to a pure business decision.

"It just makes it a business decision as opposed to a technology exercise trying to get in, and an even harder technology exercise trying to get out again."

Chris Duckett travelled to VMworld 2013 as a guest of VMware.

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