Since I started to write my first articles about VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, I received some emails from people asking me if those articles where well suited with my daily job. For those who do not know, I work in Switzerland in a vCloud Service Provider, so maybe these two things were felt as in contrast. I talked with my employer about it, and I would like to share with you some of the reasonings we ended up with.
First of all, a premise. My blog has nothing to deal with my daily job, but obviously there are some topics I prefer to check internally before writing about them. Not in oder to get official approvement of waht I write, but simply to avoid to disclosure confidential informations. that’s for example the reason I never wrote about ZeRTO: we use it in production since several months and we have many customers, but the design of the solution is something we prefer not to share with others.
In reagrds to vCHS, also by talking with other System Integrators or Service Providers, I’ve found different opinions.
For sure, the most common one is opposition: “VMware has always sold via its partners, and now it wants to compete with them?”. I often heard this statement, and even if it’s not completely true, it is not completely wrong. But I think we should separate this issue based on the role inside the VMware ecosystem each of us has.
vCHS vs System Integrator
When these complains are coming from a system integrators, they sound to me out of place. If you say this new solution from VMware is a competitor for you, it means first of all you are running your own solution based on vCloud Director. But to be honest, many System Integrators simply design and deploy on-premise infrastructures for their customers, and really few of them have a proper “cloud” offer. We should also really think about the size of those “clouds”, because in reality those that call themselves service providers at the end only have a couple of racks, with some servers and a storage, almost always localted in a datacenter owned by someone else. Can this be considered a direct competitor with VMware (or a proper Service Provider?). I don’t think so. I completely agree instead with Enrico Signoretti, and his article “L’era degli ISP cantinari è finita” (It’s only in Italian, you can translate the title as “The era of basement ISP is over”).
Enrico crearly exposed an idea I also have about the way those kind of providers should act and evolve in the future, and we are also trying to teach this idea to our partners: it’s useless to create several small datacenters, because economies of scale, required technical skills, budgets, are all against this kind of projects, and ultimately the quality and price of the final offer are not convenient for the final user. It’s much better to specialize in consultancy and support about these technologies, and offer the customer a really high added value, to help him/her during the migration to the cloud, and then in the daily use.
I’ve seen lately, at least based on my experience at the service provider where I work, yes there are some customers jumping all the supply chain and buying solutions directly from cloud providers, but they are few. Even with the promise of an IT “self service”, many customers prefer to transfer to others not only the infrastructure, but also its configuration and management to service providers, and completely get rid of this burden, maybe to concentrate better on the application management.
In this scenario, a system integrator can still have an active role: it can help the customer in its journey to the cloud (it’s going to happen anyway, with or without the System Integrator), offer consultancy, guidance, and at the end manage its customers on a daily basis. And delegating all the infrastructure management efforts to the Cloud Provider.
For these people, VMware vCHS is nothing more than another offer the System Integrator can evaluate when choosing a CSP.
vCHS vs vCloud Service Providers
Here we have a totally different situation. Both are offering the same solution, maybe with some (small or big) differences, but at the end VMware can be considered as a competitor. The problem is: how much?
First things first, VMware has absolutely no will to close the VSPP program, instead is going on to fully support all those Service Providers using their products. So, more than thinking about “how to fight” against VMware (also, how can you fight against the company producing the technology you use?) is better to find out how to use this for your own advantage.
VMware, with its own vCHS, is creating additional value to the solution used by all the VMware CSP, that can now tell to their customers they are using the same technology offered by VMware itself. Can you do they same with Amazon AWS?
Also, there is a massive amount of “intellectual property” being produced by VMware even today. If you look at their Knowledge Base and do a search for “vCHS”, you will already find some papers even if the service is not generally available. Add these to all the papers available about vCloud Director, and you see there is a huge amount of information available for all the CSP using the same technology, so they can access and take advantage of all this know-how to better design and operate their own infrastructure.
Finally, there are many use cases where a CSP can use vCHS to expand and improve its own services! Some examples: a CSP needs some external resources, but he does not want or he does not trust another CSP; in this situation VMware could be seen as a “super partes” resource. Again, one can use vCHS to fulfill a customer’s request when the customer itself is a global company requiring resources in a different part of the world where the CSP does not have its own datacenter. Or, the CSP would like to have a small teneant to install some monitoring software in order to control its own datacenter from outside. As you can see, there are many many use cases where a CSP can take advantage of vCHS.
For sure, there will be some case where the competition will be complete, but this is something usual in many markets. Again, I think nonetheless there will always be different offers with pros and cons, and there could even be CSP having a bettere solution than VMware itself (I was talking about ZeRTO at the beginning: many CSP offers DRaaS, VMware does not). Think about backups for example: as I showed in my previous article, vCHS will have a self-service backup offer. But will it be the best available on the market? We do not know anything about the technology Vmware will be using, but maybe some other CSPs using a different technology will have a bettere backup solution, and maybe this will be an added value for customers while choosing the CSP to go to (or the System integrator choosing for the customer).
And you, what do you think?