VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) took their relationship up a notch with the announcement that customers can now buy VMware Cloud on AWS directly through AWS and the cloud provider’s partner network. Previously customers could only buy the hybrid cloud service through VMware or its partners.
This also allows customers purchasing through AWS to use incentive programs like the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).
“We wanted to provide the customer that flexibility to purchase through us, or VMware, or our partners, or VMware’s partners,” said Sandy Carter, VP of enterprise workloads at AWS, adding that “demand is so great [for VMware Cloud on AWS] that we can expand the sales team.”
How great? The companies still won’t say how many customers use the fully-managed service, which launched in August 2017 and allows VMware customers to run their workloads in the AWS public cloud using the same VMware software stack.
But, added Mark Lohmeyer, SVP and GM of VMware’s Cloud Platforms business unit, “we are seeing some really great momentum based on the use cases.” One of the “killer use cases,” he said is cloud migrations — enterprise-class workloads like Oracle and SQL databases, for example, that customers want to move to the public cloud. Because VMware Cloud on AWS uses the VMware platform that customers use in their on-premises data centers, “we can take cloud migrations that would have previously taken two to three years and do them in two to three months. It reduced the cost and time to execute.”
“We view this as taking our partnership to the next level,” Carter said.
What About Microsoft Azure?
The VMware-AWS news follows a new hybrid cloud partnership between VMware, Microsoft, and Dell Technologies that will allow customers to run VMware’s software stack in Microsoft Azure’s public cloud. “Our goal is to provide a single view from edge to core to cloud – an integrated platform for our customers’ digital future,” said said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, who announced the deal at Dell Technologies World late last month.
But despite this budding romance between VMware and Microsoft, the virtualization giant says AWS remains its No. 1 squeeze.
“Look, VMware and AWS have a very special relationship,” Lohmeyer said. “AWS is our primary and preferred public cloud partner, and what we’ve built together is incredibly unique.”
It is a jointly engineered service between the two companies that is delivered, operated, and supported by VMware, he continued. Plus, it’s the only managed cloud service directly operated by VMware, while the Microsoft deal is part of VMware’s Cloud Provider Program. Additionally, VMware Cloud on AWS has uniquely integrated networking with VMware NSX and AWS Direct Connect and storage with VMware vSAN and AWS EBS.
“It’s where we deliver all of our new innovations first because it’s a VMware-delivered service,” Lohmeyer said. “We’re really pleased with the partnership and even more pleased with the customer success.”
VMware, AWS Moving In Together…On Prem
In addition to adding new cloud services and new VMware Cloud on AWS regions globally, the partners are also moving into the enterprise data center. “RDS and Outposts are very unique to this partnership,” Carter said.
AWS CEO Andy Jassy joined VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger on stage at last summer’s VMworld conference to announce Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) on VMware. This service allows customers to deploy the public cloud-native database in their on-premises VMware-based data centers.
A few months later at AWS re:Invent, Jassy announced AWS Outposts, which, in one flavor, will deliver the entire VMware software-defined data center (SDDC) to run on premises and to be managed as a service from the same console as VMware Cloud on AWS. Outposts will be available later this year.
“These are two very valuable solutions for our customers,” Carter said. “Outposts is really built for certain sets of use cases — low latency, for example, or where someone would need a lot of compute power on premises. The power of VMware cloud but also connecting into other AWS services as well.”
From a strategic perspective, these new developments further intertwine the partners and give VMware more cloud clout while opening up the enterprise data center market to AWS. It appears to be a successful — and mutually beneficial relationship — for both vendors. But, of course, customer counts and revenue will tell the real story, and we’re eagerly waiting for those numbers to drop.