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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger (left) on stage at VMworld 2019 with Joe Beda, a principal engineer at VMware and one of the three original creators of Kubernetes. VMware
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger (left) on stage at VMworld 2019 with Joe Beda, a principal engineer at VMware and one of the three original creators of Kubernetes.

VMware Propagates Its Kubernetes Solution Tanzu Across Hyperscale Clouds

It has an attractive message for enterprises making the transition to containers and cloud, but can it win net new cloud-native workloads from the hyperscalers?

VMware announced several new cloud services and capabilities on its partners’ hyperscale cloud platforms Tuesday, as it kicked off its virtual VMworld 2020 conference.

It has added support for Tanzu Mission Control for VMware Cloud on AWS, which is available immediately. Tanzu Mission Control is VMware’s software for centralized management of Kubernetes resources deployed across a variety of clouds or on-prem data centers. Tanzu is also now available as a preview on Google Cloud VMware Engine and as part of the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. VMware is working with Microsoft to launch a Tanzu preview on Azure soon, a VMware spokesman said.

Tanzu Mission Control is part of the Tanzu portfolio of Kubernetes products integrated into VMware Cloud Foundation software, which allow customers to run and manage VM-based and container-based applications across a hybrid cloud environment.

The theme running across VMware’s partnership announcements Tuesday was VMware as a one-stop software shop for enterprise customers’ multi-cloud needs, Matt Morgan, VP of global marketing for VMware’s cloud services, told DCK in an interview. The promise is that companies can easily and seamlessly migrate their apps to any public cloud without having to refactor them.

“Our customers are asking how they can maximize the value of the multi-cloud world. Many of them have found themselves in a place where each and every cloud is requiring a separate stack, a separate operating team…. And they are trying to unify it,” Morgan said. “We want to help businesses unify the cloud, and we have enormous breadth and depth of technology and great partnerships to do that.”

VMware has spent the past few years partnering with cloud providers to beef up its hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategy.

In 2016 it announced a partnership with AWS to build VMware Cloud on AWS; Oracle Cloud VMware Solution and Google Cloud VMware Engine became generally available this July; Microsoft launched its new VMware cloud-based service called Azure VMware Solutions just last week; IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions has been available for several years.

The partnerships with cloud providers allow VMware to leverage its large installed base of on-premises vSphere customers to capture revenue from the hybrid cloud trend. On the flip side it helps the cloud vendors get more enterprise business.

“It’s very important because VMware’s footprint is so big,” Jean Atelsek, a 451 Research analyst, told DCK. “There is a shortage of cloud platform expertise, but there is plenty of VMware expertise, so this is a way for the hyperscaler cloud providers to leverage VMware’s footprint for their advantage.”

'Proving Ground'

Gary Chen, IDC’s research director of Software-Defined Compute, said VMware’s hyperscale cloud announcements on Tuesday are incremental improvements.

“It’s incremental, but they are all nice additions,” he told us.

VMware Cloud on AWS tends to get the newest VMware features first, such as Tanzu support, because AWS is VMware’s preferred cloud partner, Chen said. VMware co-engineered the cloud service with AWS and manages it.

The company tests new features on VMware Cloud on AWS, gets experience on it, and works out the kinks before making them available on the other clouds. “VMware Cloud on AWS is the proving ground for their technologies, and over time it will trickle down to the others,” Chen said.

Here are some more highlights from VMworld announcements Tuesday by VMware:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware announced strong user adoption on VMWare Cloud on AWS. Total virtual machines running have increased 140 percent, and the total number of hosts has jumped 130 percent year-over-year, as of August, the company said. In addition to new Tanzu Mission Control support, VMware has added enhancements to its HCX migration tool, which makes it easier and more efficient to migrate on-premises workloads to the cloud, Morgan said. The company has also added new VMware vSAN compression technology, which makes storage more efficient and reduces the cost of storage, he said.
  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service. VMware also announced a new DRaaS service called VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS. It’s an easy-to-use, on-demand service that allows enterprise customers to protect their in-house vSphere workloads and quickly failover to the cloud when disaster strikes, the company said. Chen, the IDC analyst, expects the service will prove popular among VMware’s enterprise customers who need a disaster recovery solution for their data centers. “They’ve had a lot of success with Site Recovery Manager, which existed since VMware’s early days. It’s been popular and made disaster recovery so much easier and a lot cheaper,” he said. “Now with cloud, this is the new model of it. The cloud has all this capacity. You can fail over and not have to keep all this capacity (in-house), so it’s even better as a service. I think it’s going to be a really good, popular service.”
  • VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. VMware has added HCX workload migration capabilities, improved performance, new host types, and support for multiple clusters in a single rack on VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, a datacenter-as-a-service that allows customers to use Dell hardware on-premises through a cloud-like subscription model. The new features are available immediately.
  • Horizon 8 Virtual Desktops. VMware is making its Horizon 8 virtual desktop infrastructure software available on VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, Google Cloud VMware Engine, and Azure VMware Solution. It will be available before the end of the current calendar quarter.
  • Single Marketplace. VMware has consolidated two marketplaces, VMware Cloud Marketplace and VMware Solutions Exchange, into a single solution called VMware Marketplace, where users can download thousands of validated third-party, open-source, and first-source solutions, Morgan said.
  • VRealize Cloud Universal. The company has combined its SaaS and on-premises management software into a single subscription license.

Competing for Cloud-Native Workloads

VMware’s message of being a unifying force in a multi-cloud world now gains more credibility because the company has partnered with all the major cloud providers. But in truth, enterprise customers have diverse environments, and while VMware’s platform is widely deployed, it is just one of many platforms available, Chen said.

Some apps will be lifted and shifted, and VMware will be a popular platform for that. But when enterprise customers build new, cloud-native apps, they may choose the hyperscale cloud solutions instead.

“A lot of the net new cloud-native apps will go to cloud providers, and that’s one area that VMware has to work on,” Chen said.

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