VMworld 2017: Everything you need to know about VMware's hybrid cloud strategy

VMware rolled out a series announcements that outline its grand ambition to be the glue between apps, infrastructure, the end user, and multiple clouds.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

VMware increasingly sees itself as the glue in hybrid cloud deployments, as its partnership with AWS is now generally available and the company rolled out a series of advances the preserve and grow its position.

At VMworld 2017, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger rolled out a series of announcements and highlighted its customer base and partner network.

In a nutshell, VMware sketched out the following:

Here's a look at what you need to know about VMworld 2017.


VMware's primary strategy is to be a bridge between private and public clouds, as well as adopt new technologies, such as containers and OpenStack, as they arise, and maintain its customer base -- all as it grows businesses, such as software-defined networking tools like NSX.

So far, so good for VMware. The company highlighted companies such as ADP, Cerner, Liberty Mutual, Medtronic, and Western Digital as customers. These customers are also increasing spending as VMware's quarterly results shine.

Gelsinger sees VMware as a company that can clean up a "messy" app and infrastructure footprint. At VMware's analyst meeting at VMworld, Gelsinger said referring to enterprise apps and delivering them:

Our goal is simple, give you access to those applications on any device, in any modality, and usage model of your choice. Now this is the picture of what that app world looks like today. It's complex and messy. And as you think about it in your organizations, you realize that not only is it messy, but it also crosses lots of silos inside of your organization in different areas. And much of that complexity isn't focused on the total solution. VMware's strategy in this space is put it all together.

And about the cloud Gelsinger said:

We expect a fully-integrated system that just works. And that's our philosophy as we approach this space now. We have to make the private cloud easier. And that's what VMware cloud foundation is all about. Yes, you can buy the pieces, the compute virtualization network and storage. Or you can get the full thing put together.

No matter what niche of the data center market VMware targets, the aim is the same: Abstract the complexity and put the moving technology parts together.


Stifel analyst Brad Reback noted:

We have increasing confidence in VMware's growth prospects given a series of healthy earnings results combining solid growth in newer initiatives (NSX, vSAN, EUC) along with better-than-feared declines in its core vSphere business. It is becoming more apparent that enterprises of all sizes are adopting hybrid clouds at a faster clip than we originally assumed and we believe VMware's emerging partnership with AWS will help extend the half-life of its massive vSphere installed base.

The general availability of the VMware Cloud on AWS only covers AWS' West region (Oregon) for now, but the broader rollout is on deck for 2018.

Read also: AWS cements hybrid cloud position with VMware partnership: Here's what it means

What VMware is really hoping to do is be the enabler that breaks down cloud silos. This graphic tells the tale.

Read also: What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know from public and private cloud to software as a service

And if hybrid cloud deployments are indeed accelerating VMware is in front of integration curve. For now, VMware Cloud on AWS is priced as you go, but VMware will offer one and three-year subscriptions.

Add it up and VMware is clearly embracing hyperscale public clouds. VMware customers get an onramp to AWS and VMware keeps its installed base secure. The limited beta was oversubscribed, so its safe to assume there will be strong demand ahead.

Look for VMware to craft broader deals with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure on some level in the future.

Read also: Hybrid cloud: The smart person's guide | Software defined data centers: The smart person's guide


Speaking of deal making, VMware's software is increasingly being delivered via integrated appliances.

Lenovo, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Dell EMC all announced systems to couple VMware and hardware into one package. These hardware partnerships align to give VMware more of a play into high-performance computing.

VMware also announced partnerships with DXC, the combination of CSC and HPE Enterprise Services, as well as Fujitsu.

The general idea behind these partnerships is to offer integrated systems that can use private and public clouds, Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, and naturally, VMware's own platform.

To VMware, the software defined data center is going to include a bunch of integrated systems.

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When it comes to security, VMware remained on message. Gelsinger's take on security echoed the company's approach with other areas: Make it simple and integrate. VMware again sees itself as the security linchpin between the private and public clouds. Gelsinger said:

Fundamentally, we the tech industry have failed you, the customer. It is simply too hard, too complex and breaches are growing far too fast.

We need a new approach.

VMware's focus on cloud security was echoed by a bevy of other partners. Palo Alto Networks said its Next-Generation Security Platform is available to VMware Cloud on AWS customers. The VMware-AWS partnership has allowed a bevy of security software and service integrations.

Fortinet said its FortiGate virtualized security was available for VMware on AWS. In addition, HyTrust outlined a security policy to protect workloads and support VMware Cloud on AWS.

IBM launched storage software dubbed IBM Spectrum Protect Plus to protect data in cloud, virtualized, and data center environments. IBM timed it launch and demonstration for VMworld.

Trend Micro said its Deep Security lineup is available to VMware Cloud customers on AWS. Trend Micro said it is enabling multiple security techniques such as policy application and vulnerability scanning on VMware and AWS.


There were also a bevy of partners outlining wares connected to VMware.

Here's the quick view:

  • VMware, Pivotal, and Google Cloud outlined a new container service that will meld multiple container environments and integrate them.
  • Sapho, which aims to put a modern interface and workflow on legacy enterprise apps, said it will integrate and support VMware Workspace ONE. Sapho will put its "Mobile Flows" into VMware, along with connections to enterprise systems from the likes of Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and IBM. Sapho also turns workflows into micro apps.
  • CenturyLink bolstered its private cloud lineup with a fully private service based on VMware Cloud Foundry and HPE ProLiant servers. CenturyLink aims to offer private cloud services.
  • NetApp highlighted integrated systems with the VMware ecosystem and outlined hyperconverged systems, Ontap cloud storage software integration, and virtual storage offerings.

In addition, VMware's partnership with AWS cleared the decks for more vendors to participate with products. For instance, Faction is offering managed VMware Cloud services on AWS.


VMware's positioning for 2017 and 2018 looks as strong as it has ever been. In the end, the hybrid cloud has bounced its way and the company has done well navigating various technology trends as well as a change in ownership via the Dell acquisition of EMC.


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