VMware’s Latest: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs!

Can VMware change its spots and play nice with others?

On the surface, VMware’s latest cloud product – and pricing – announcements are just more of the same, one more of the never-ending barrage of enhancements and incremental changes that every IT vendor inflicts on its customers on an ongoing basis. The virtualization leader has updated its cloud management portfolio, including its less-than-two-month-old VMware vCloud Suite, uncorked VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 (formerly known as DynamicOps), and enhanced VMware IT Business Management Suite. It has also unveiled a new token-based program, Enterprise Purchasing Program, that expands on the VMware Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) and enables customers to purchase software licenses in volume and mix and match products and purchase at any time within a three-year term.

However, on a closer examination, one could consider the news more about VMware trying to change its spots and become a more open vendor. “They clearly have done their homework on where they play and what customers think of them,” said Ronni Colville, VP, distinguished analyst, Gartner. While the announcements are largely the usual continuum of product enhancements, she said the biggest aspect of the announcement is the DynamicOps integration that clients have been waiting for since the acquisition in July.

“VMware has made it to every single short list for cloud management because they’re VMware. Now they have DynamicOps, a small but strategic vendor in the market… it really does give VMware a leg up on heterogeneity.” Colville says VMware has taken a page from Microsoft’s playbook, putting more in the bottom of the stack, and then putting the differentiator at the top. “Except VMware puts a little more oomph into the multivendor than Microsoft.”

The cloud is changing the fundamental way IT operates, said VMware’s Rob Smoot, senior director of product marketing for cloud management. “IT is not in control as much as they would like to be of the services their companies are using… and (VMware) is trying to help them be more in control.”

The announcements are also about extending VMware’s strategy around heterogeneous environments to cloud, he said. As part of its playing nicely with others, VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 will act as a service governor, enabling policy-based provisioning across VMware-based private and public clouds, physical infrastructure, multiple hypervisors and Amazon Web Services.

As a long-time observer – and practitioner – of IT operations management, Colville is peeved that enterprises still don’t do a good job of managing things. Gartner follows 25-30 vendors in this segment, and customers buy multiple cloud management vendors, and don’t seem to be worrying about bringing all the pieces together. This wasn’t a concern – or opportunity – for VMware until it bought DynamicOps, she said. Now that the two are together, enterprises may decide to deal with the redundancy of having multiple cloud management vendors by consolidating. While that shouldn’t be an issue for the Big Four systems management vendors – BMC, CA, HP and IBM – VMware will pose a challenge for many of the others, she added.

Finally, for those of you hanging around for the feeds and speeds of VMware’s announcements, here are few more details on the announcements: vFabric Application Director 5.o (updated); vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6 (updated); IT Business Management Suite 7.5 (updated); VMware vCloud Connector 2.0 (updated); and VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 (new).

Smoot said VMware is taking a different approach to management than many of the other management vendors. “They’re (the Big Four) taking their traditional, legacy physical approaches of management and trying to apply them to the cloud;. It’s another approach but we believe it is a challenge.”

All of these products are available today, said Smoot. “Customers have been doing betas across all of these products over the last few months.”

Author: Steve Wexler

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