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Questions linger about VMware on AWS partnership

Is running VMware virtualization on top of AWS the best way to effectively manage workloads? That depends who you ask.

Thoughts are mixed on a new partnership that will allow enterprises to run VMware on AWS. While the deal seems positive for AWS, benefits aren't immediate for current VMware customers.

If you ask IBM about the partnership, you might get a dirty look, as the company has supported VMware on its cloud for over a year. Rank-and-file AWS users probably won't and don't care. And a VMware user might be unsure what to think of the news.

Partnership addresses cloud demand

Shrinking data centers and the rise of public cloud have lowered demand for VMware's software over the last few years. And it could get worse for VMware, as enterprises move 5% to 20% of their workloads onto infrastructure as a service.

The new agreement means VMware will be sold on AWS as a software as a service, giving VMware an answer for customers looking to move to the public cloud. It also enables VMware customers to move images to and from VMware and AWS and from on premises to cloud -- and back again.

*The issue is that VMware is virtualization software running with AWS. AWS has its own internal virtualization engine and tenant management. Developers can allocate a VM on VMware running on AWS’ bare-metal server or just allocate a server resource out of the AWS cloud. Enterprises that want to move from VMware to AWS might benefit from AWS' native capabilities, allocating compute and storage servers instead of sitting inside a VMware image. VMware virtualizes applications and data storage, which means moving to AWS' native compute and storage servers should improve performance, stability and cost. Thus, while VMware is looking to preempt workloads from moving out of its software and into the public cloud, that might not be the best path for its customers.

New source of revenue

AWS benefits from this deal. The revenue from the VMware cloud service likely is on the low end, but it also allows indirect access to VMware customers. You could think of VMware on AWS as a gateway drug for those who want to move to the cloud and use VMware on the cloud as training wheels.

But VMware customers who are trying to find the best platform for their workloads may lose out. While there are good reasons to run VMware on AWS, they are not as prevalent as VMware folks would like to believe. AWS is in a win-win situation when it comes to revenue and buzz in the industry.

* - This paragraph was corrected after publication.

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What do you think the AWS and VMware partnership brings to enterprise cloud?

Your understanding of the VMware-AWS relationship is not exactly accurate, at least per the joint announcement made last year. VMware will be running on bare metal at AWS, hence the need for their own dedicated infrastructure. VMware will also manage and sell the solution - not AWS. That said, it's curious that the beta program, slated originally to launch in January, has instead gone dark. Perhaps "easier said than done" is the phrase of the day.

Scott Rippey
Solutions Architect
System Source
It´s not dark, the problem (acroding to my sources) is that only the big players have been invited to the party. I have not yet heard if there will be a puplic beta or not.
One think, Esxi hosts will be running on bare metal servers owned by AWS, and managed by vmware.

I agree with you it's a better chance for AWS. Of course vmware client will get a easy option for extend their env. But by moving some workload and date "closer" to AWS, give them (and aws) possibility to use AWS services on data stored on vmware (in aws. VPC methodology will be implemented in vmware on aws, and it will be possible to peer with VPC in AWS env. So shifting from on-premise to public seems to be easier.

You have a severe lack of understanding of VMWonAWS. It is NOT a virtualisation system running on a virtualisation system. Or "nested" ESXi. vSphere will run on bare metal in Amazons Datacenters.