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​Why service providers are vital to VMware’s cloud strategy

​Why service providers are vital to VMware’s cloud strategy

Virtualisation vendor outlines route to cloud success via the channel.

As customers seek greater agility and cost reductions through cloud, VMware is opening the door for further adoption through its expanding service provider channel.

“We’ve listened to what the customers want and formed our business units,” VMware vice president of cloud services provider channel, Geoffrey Waters, said.

“The Australia and New Zealand markets are highly virtualised and high adopters of cloud technologies. Essentially, it’s about market demand and digital transformation for these cloud service providers.

“So we want to offer them choice and flexibility to build and offer their own data centres or offer an asset light model.”

Waters stressed the importance of its vCloud Air network partners, claiming that it “fundamentally underpins” the vendor’s cloud strategy going forward.

“Our cloud service providers are building their own clouds and data centres and might be leveraging third party clouds,” he said. “They form our vCloud Air network.”

As explained by Waters, the VMware vCloud Air Network Program enables partners to invest in VMware infrastructure on a monthly subscription basis, spanning both public and hybrid clouds.

Comprising VMware vCloud Air and the vendor’s global ecosystem of service provider partners, Waters said the initiative is targeted at companies currently offering hosted services to third parties, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, cloud service providers (CSPs), application service providers (ASPs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers.

“The vCloud Air network is at the heart of our cloud strategy,” he said. “We’re building in all these other pieces to support that.

“The VMware vCloud Air Network Program has more than 300 partners on the network in Australia and New Zealand and offers customers choice and flexibility.”

Specific to Australia and New Zealand, Waters said the vendor will launch its vCloud Air Managed Services Provider program locally by the end of 2016.

According to Waters, the VMware vCloud Air Network Program is expanding to enable service providers to leverage vCloud Air as core infrastructure while differentiating through managed services.

For Waters, offering both licence subscription and vCloud Air resell models providers partners more choice and flexibility in how to build and offer cloud solutions and accelerates service provider growth.

“Our motto for the program is choice and flexibility - how do we deliver as broad a choice for platforms that customers can take their applications to,” VMware telecommunications and cloud services director, Dan McLean, added.

Locally speaking, McLean said VMware is adopting a “two-fold strategy” within the cloud.

“We’re gaining as many footprints as possible,” he explained.

“We’re getting the vSphere platform on the enterprise grade features in as many destinations for the customers to leverage. Our partnership with IBM fits into this.

“Our recent work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) also plays into this as it takes the same capability in a VMware offered service and have that run out of AWS.”

VMware Cloud on AWS

As reported by ARN, VMware and AWS recently announced a strategic alliance to build and deliver an integrated hybrid offering, designed to offer a more rounded software-defined data centre (SDDC) experience across private and public clouds.

In short, the partnership is designed to offer enterprise enterprise inroads that will maintain profitable growth in 2017 and beyond.

“The partnership between AWS and VMware will allow customers to run and manage VMware workloads on AWS’ cloud infrastructures in addition to on premises,” Technology Business Research analyst, Meaghan McGrath, added.

“VMware Cloud on AWS, currently in technology preview, will open opportunities for AWS to penetrate VMware’s enterprise customer base and allow VMware to utilise AWS’ leadership in public cloud infrastructure to gain visibility and enable its “Any Cloud” strategy.”

In essence, the ultimate objective of this partnership will be to co-deploy a hybrid cloud solution using each vendor’s core strengths while creating a complementary primary partner relationship spanning public and private deployments.

Yet for McGrath, AWS is positioned to benefit in the near term from VMware customers pivoting from isolated environments to a hybrid IT strategy, with AWS public cloud absorbing a portion of the workloads.

From a channel perspective in Australia and New Zealand, the deal has the potential to create new opportunities for partners across the board, due to the market’s higher virtualisation adoption rates.

As reported by ARN, the VMware Cloud Foundation, in being central to the joint offering, is where local partners should begin investigating if they want to find out how to make the most of the new product when it becoming available in Australia.

“For the channel, they should look at what VMware Cloud Foundation means for the evolution of what they do with VMware,” Gartner research director, Michael Warrilow, told ARN.

Service provider partners

McLean said service provider partners that take the same compatible technology sets, while building and operating VMware based clouds, can provider customers with an “extensible layer” to take those applications into the cloud.

As a result, McLean said partners can help meet application, location and regulatory requirements.

“The second element around that cross cloud architecture is to enable and support customers to have applications not on a VMware based cloud, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google,” he added.

“That’s where our cross-cloud architecture will enable the networking to extend into those cloud services and give customers a common and consistent way to approach security, networking and compliance for those applications.”

In addition, Waters said offering “choice, flexibility and data sovereignty” represents a “move away” from the traditional vanilla offerings, paving the way for specific vertical focuses.

“We’re also trying to reduce channel service provider costs by giving them efficiencies in their data centres or we’re trying to create new products and services for them to monetise,” he added.

“We’ve then got a whole framework around go-to-market where we help service providers in terms of creating programs, tools, and processes.”

Going forward, Waters said the vendor will also be increasing investment in demand generation for service provider partners.

“We aim to give them all the support they need if they want to build their own - the full SDDC stack, with VSAN NSX management, vSphere, and vCenter,” he added.

“We package all that up and give them the ability to rent it in a pay-as-you-go model.

“If they want an asset light model, then we have managed services that they can offer others. It’s all about choice for them.”

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