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VMware takes a new direction

Promises PPT presentations everywhere...

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Comment VMware is buying SlideRocket, a service that offers presentations-as-a-service, cloud-style. Your slide deck is held on VMware servers and you can edit it or play it from a variety of internet-accessing devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktops.

Terrific, yet more mind-numbing presentation decks coming my way... but, hang on a minute, why is VMware doing this? It sells virtual server and virtual desktop and virtualised data centre software to businesses. That is the bulk of its offering. What does this have to do with end-user slide deck construction?

A couple of weeks ago, EMC transferred its Mozy end-user cloud backup service to VMware. At the time, VMware's chief technology wonk, Steve Herrod, said: "Mozy has taken the base technology that keeps you from losing your data and turned it into a scalable, fail-safe way of building out a collection of highly-automated data centres with strong security and 24/7 operations fronted by elegant user interfaces across many client types. This is the foundational architecture for the many cloud-based services being delivered today."

He continued: "We ... see the opportunity to leverage Mozy's data compression, synchronisation, client integration, and analytic tools to extend several existing and not-yet-announced VMware products." Herrod referred to small and medium business (SMB) customers as the market target.

Essentially, this is VMware operating data centres in the cloud to provide applications-as-a-service for SMBs. EMC's Iomega unit sells storage products to these customers. Mozy sells them storage-using application services. Why stop there? Will VMware offer raw compute services, raw storage services? What are its application intentions?

In the EMC/Mozy data centres, VMware and EMC will gain huge operational experience of running cloud data centres. The two will be well-placed to offer enterprise public cloud application services should they wish to move up into that market as it becomes established. EMC/VMware would then compete with IBM, HP and any other supplier offering similar services.

Presently we can view EMC as a storage products company with a data centre, server and desktop virtualisation software company companion. In the future we could see VMware as an application cloud service provider using its own virtualisation products with, by the way, a storage supplying companion. Who knows how this is going to pan out? ®

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