VMware expands vCloud Air to help firms move from private to public cloud

The virtualisation specialist is to make its vCloud Air platform available from a datacentre in Germany, introduce new database and object storage services, and roll out the ability to pay per minute for infrastructure.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

VMware is continuing to build out its vCloud Air platform aimed at helping enterprises move in-house workloads onto the public cloud.

The virtualisation specialist announced that it will make its vCloud Air service available from a datacentre in Germany in the first quarter of 2015.

The vCloud Air service, formerly known as vCloud Hybrid Service, is a public cloud platform based on the VMware vSphere operating system. Firms running applications on vSphere in-house can move them to the vCloud Air service with minimal compatibility issues, at least relative to pushing virtualised workloads to other public cloud platforms.

However, until recently the platform lacked some of the features found on some of the other public cloud platforms — such as the object storage options offered through Amazon Web Services (AWS).

VMware plans to improve the services offered through vCloud Air, according to VMware general manager of the hybrid cloud services unit Bill Fathers.

Planned services include continuous-integration-as-a-service for developers, database-as-a-service to extend "structured or unstructured" databases into the cloud - starting with SQL and MySQL, and an object storage offering based on EMC's ViPR technology. The object storage service is available in beta and will be generally available from the beginning of 2015. VMware's AirWatch mobile device management will also be available on vCloud Air.

"We launched vCloud Air almost exactly a year ago today and our timing of entering the market really could not have been better," said Fathers at VMware Europe on Tuesday.

"It's clear that we're entering a whole new era, that we call the professional era of cloud computing. The benefits we're seeing in public cloud in terms of agility, efficiency and cost savings are far more profound [than running private cloud].

"We're seeing multinationals', governments' and start-ups' ability to reap the full benefits of public cloud, in terms of agility and cost savings, is becoming the make or break for those companies."

Fathers has said he doesn't see vCloud Air as a direct challenger to AWS, which he sees primarily as a platform for building new apps that run in the public cloud. In contrast, he characterises vCloud Air as a platform to allow firms to move existing in-house workloads running on VMware technologies to the public cloud.

While VMware hopes to profit from companies extending private cloud infrastructures in to public cloud platforms there is a school of thought that private cloud market is a transitional phase, and that firms will eventually transition to accessing the majority of services from the public cloud.

When the vCloud Air datacentre comes online in Germany VMware says it will provide customers with a location for storing data that is compliant with German and EU data protection regulations. European vCloud Air customers are currently served by a datacentre based in Slough in the UK.

vCloud Air is run out of datacentres in the Asia, Europe and the US. VMware partners with infrastructure providers worldwide to host the service out of their datacentres, recently striking deals to bring the service to Beijing in China, as well as Japan. 

VMware also announced that US and European firms will be able to participate in an early access programme for VMware vCloud Air Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand from November, with general availability from early 2015. The on demand offering allows users to spin up virtual vSphere infrastructure "within minutes" and pay for services by the minute.

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