VMworld: AWS isn't the only kid in town for hybrid clouds, for now

VMware has demonstrated to partners that Amazon Web Services isn't the main cloud opportunity for its wares at the moment, even though it's the newest kid on its block. At this week's VMworld in Barcelona, it gave the stage to more established cloud partner IBM to show off what it is doing for the channel in partnership with the virtualisation market leader.

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At last year's VMworld, VMware announced a surprise hybrid cloud tie-in with AWS, which many at the time thought was a snub to its slightly more established cloud partner IBM. And VMware itself promised more business for its partners as a result of the AWS deal. Both deals are designed to allow VMware virtualisation software customers to easily move and process their on-premise workloads in the two respective cloud offerings. But with the vast reach AWS already has in the public cloud the newest agreement was seen as more significant.

At this year's show though, IBM senior vice president David Kenny was allowed to strut in front of 10,000 delegates – including around 3,000 VMware partners – to tell them that in a year after its VMware cloud deal, it had taken 1,400 VMware customers into the IBM Cloud in partnership with VMware and/or its partners. Globally, VMware says it has around 33,000 partners with 95% of its sales coming through the channel.

VMware predicts that by 2030, a whopping 52% of business IT workloads will be in public clouds, which is why it is striking these cloud partnerships – to make sure the customers of its expensive software can get get the most out of it by being able to easily move their data between private and public cloud infrastructures.

A key technology to allow them to do that is the newly launched VMware HCX Technologies, which is designed to allow customers to connect their on-premise clouds and older infrastructures to public clouds through “accelerated migration”. One of the first partners to adopt this technology is in fact IBM, with IBM's Kenny saying it would “bring more enterprises into our cloud”.

Big Blue has also expanded its cloud partnership with Dell EMC [VMware's majority owner], which is providing its VMware-based customers with access to the IBM Cloud. When asked by IT Europa whether VMware planned to make any similar cloud partnership deals with Microsoft Azure or Google in the short- to medium-term, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said: “There is no change regarding Google and Microsoft from last October [when the last VMworld Europe was held] in terms of integrating complete core infrastructures, although we are open to make more limited arrangements around certain products and services.”

This will be some relief to both IBM and AWS, who clearly want to push home their efforts to facilitate the hybrid cloud working organisations are steadily adopting.