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VMware teams with Savvis to expand vCloud footprint

New York and Chicago first, hints suggest rest of world real soon now

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VMworld 2013 VMware has struck a new partnership with Savvis that looks as if it will bring the virty giant's hybrid cloud to nations beyond the USA.

News of the relationship was revealed during the VMworld 2013 keynote, when VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger announced that VMware's hybrid cloud is officially open for business. Senior veep and general manager for Bill Fathers revealed that VMware will add new data centres in Santa Clara and Las Vegas, followed by another in Sterling Virginia and by the end of the year in Dallas, Texas.

Fathers, a former Savvis staffer, said the company has also struck a deal with Savvis that will see the company offer vCloud Hybrid-compatible services in its Chicago and New York data centers.

Gelsinger quipped he felt Fathers “is holding out on me” because Savvis “has lots more data centers”. Fathers later said that the Savvis and VMware are “making a joint investment … to start with in two markets”.

Gelsinger's quip and Fathers' open-ended statement are significant because Savvis has data centers in Frankfurt, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangalore. If VMware were to extend the relationship to those locations, it would spare it from the need for larger investments in its own facilities.

Using partnerships to extend the vCloud Hybrid service beyond the US looks attractive. The likes of Microsoft, Google and Apple may be able to fund their own data centers, but their revenues all dwarf VMware's $5bn a year.

For VMware, the mucky and capital-intensive business of building and running data centers is therefore not something it can approach with relish. Indeed, the decision to create the vCloud service was widely seen as defensive.

No matter how deep VMware's incumbency among users, OpenStack and the likes of Amazon Web Services, Rackspace et al offered a tantalizing route to a vision of hybrid clouds spanning different platforms that needed rebuttal.

Creating its own version of an elastic cloud therefore makes VMware less dependent on third party service providers who have little reason to nourish its on-premises-centric software business. It also means customers who like VMware, and are also keen on the idea of numinous cost reduction strategies, could do both in an arrangement that gave them a single throat to choke.

Teaming with Savvis to extend the reach of its cloud therefore looks like VMware adding scale while also scaling back the cost of doing so. The heavy hints that strategy will extend to Savvis' other sites suggests VMware likes the idea of a bigger footprint at lower cost.

VMware also announced four new vCloud offerings , namely:

  • Direct Connect: which will allow private dedicated networks between private data centers and VMware's cloud;
  • A Disaster Recovery as a service offering to replicate data into the VMware cloud;
  • Cloud Foundry in PaaS mode
  • Desktop-as-a-service based on VMware Horizon View.

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The author attended VMworld 2013 as a guest of VMware, which paid for his flights, accommodation and nourishment.

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