VMware pins hybrid cloud hopes on IBM, AWS, Azure

With little uptake for its public cloud, VMware's hybrid plans are now moving to encompass third parties

VMware's failure to create a public cloud to rival AWS or Azure hasn't stopped the virtualization giant from trying to build a hybrid cloud to complement its private cloud empire.

But VMware's latest hybrid cloud offerings -- VMware Cloud Foundation and Cross-Cloud Services -- show that it's leaving the public cloud to the leaders.

Cloud Foundation offers unified management for existing clouds built on the VMware stack -- vSphere, vSAN, and NSX -- wherever they happen to be running. This includes VMware's vCloud Air host, but also VMware stacks hosted in IBM's cloud, an extension of the deal the two companies struck earlier this year.

Currently under development, Cross-Cloud Services consists of management tools that span a user's VMware stacks and the three top commodity public cloud providers (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft). It performs app and data migrations between local or IBM-hosted VMware setups and public clouds.

Right now, live migrations between VMware and those cloud providers aren't on the table. The process, known as "cold migration," require the apps and data in question to be suspended, although it can be performed incrementally if needed.

These are piecemeal improvements to existing offerings. VMware's previously unveiled Cross-Cloud vMotion allowed bidirectional live migration between on-prem VMware setups and VMware's vCloud Air public cloud platform, although not to other commodity public clouds. Also revealed this year were changes to VMware's vRealize toolset, which lets you use VMware's management tools to oversee private and public cloud resources that support vSphere. However, it doesn't support migrations to public clouds or provide the advanced networking and firewall configuration that VMware is now hinting at with Cross-Cloud Services.

Clearly, VMware is settling for the private cloud and is leaving the public cloud to those who already know it and already have a presence.

Few vendors can claim to be as widely and deeply entrenched in private cloud as VMware. But VMware's struggles to build a hybrid cloud with a public cloud component powered chiefly by its platform, either vCloud Air or the ill-fated Terremark/Verizon project, haven't enjoyed major uptake. The company's best bet is to play to its strengths -- its private cloud presence and management tooling -- and leave the public cloud component to those that dominate the market.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.