Tag Archives: vCHS

vCloud Air Sold to OVH – Final Thoughts On Project Zephyr

I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes looking back through all my posts on vCloud Air over the last four or five years and given yesterday’s announcement that VMware was selling what remains of vCloud Air to OVH Going over the content I thought it would be pertinent to write up one last piece on VMware’s attempt to build a public cloud that tried compete against the might of AWS, Azure, Google and the other well established hyper-scalers.

Project Zephyr:

Project Zephyr was first rumoured during 2012 and later launched as VMware Cloud Hybrid Services or vCHS…and while VMware pushed the cloud platform as a competitor to the hyper-scalers, the fact that it was built upon vCloud Director was probably one of it’s biggest downfalls. That might come as a shock to a lot of you reading this to hear me talk bad about vCD, however it wasn’t so much the fact that vCD was used as the backend, it was more what the consumer saw at the frontend that for me posed a significant problem for it’s initial uptake.

VMworld – Where is the Zephyr?

It was the perfect opportunity for VMware to deliver a completely new and modern UI for vCD and even though they did front the legacy vCD UI will a new frontend it wasn’t game changing enough to draw people in. It was utilitarian at best, but given that you only had to provision VMs it didn’t do enough to show that the service was cutting edge.  Obviously the UI wasn’t the only reason why it failed to take off…using vCD meant that vCloud Air was limited by the fact that vCD wasn’t built for hyper-scale operations such as individual VM instance management or for platform as a service offerings. The lack of PaaS offerings in effect meant it was a glorified extension of existing vCloud Air Network provider clouds…which in fact was some of the key messaging VMware used in the early days.

The use of vCD did deliver benefits to the vCloud Air Network and in truth might have saved vCD from being put on the scrapheap before VMware renewed their commitment to develop the SP version which has resulted in a new UI being introduced for Advanced Networking in 8.20.

vCloud Air Struggles:

There was no hiding the fact that vCloud Air was struggling to gain traction world wide and even as other zones where opening around the world it seemed like VMware where always playing catchup with the hyper-scalers…but the reality of what the platform was meant that there never a chance vCloud Air would grow to rival AWS, Azure and others.

By late 2015 there was a joint venture between EMC’s Virtustream and VMware vCloud Air that looked to join the best of both offerings under the Virtustream banner where they looked to form a new hybrid cloud services business but the DELL/EMC merger looked to get in the way of that deal and by December 2015 the idea has been squashed.

vCloud Air and Virtustream – Just kill vCloud Air Already?!?

vCloud Air and Virtustream – Ok…So This Might Not Happen!

It appeared from the outside that vCloud Air never recovered from that missed opportunity and through 2016 there where a number of announcements that started in March when it was reported that vCloud Air Japan was to be sold to the company that was effectively funding the zone and effectively closed down.

HOTP: vCloud Air Japan to be Shutdown!

Then in June VMware announced that Credit Card payments would no longer be accepted for any vCloud Air online transactions and that the service had to be bought with pre purchased credits through partners. For me this was the final nail in the coffin in terms of vCloud Air being able to compete in the Public Cloud space.

vCloud Air – Pulling Back Credit Card Payments

From this point forward the messaging for the use case of vCloud Air had shifted to Disaster Recovery services via the Hybrid Cloud Manager and vSphere Replication services that where built to work directly from vSphere to vCloud Air endpoints.

vCloud Air Network:

Stepping back, just before VMworld 2014, VMware announced the rebranding of vCHS to what is now called vCloud Air and also launched the vCloud Air Network. Myself and others where pretty happy at the time that VMware looked to reconnect with their service provider partners.

With the announcement around the full rebranding of vCHS to vCloud Air and Transforming the VSPP and vCloud Powered programs to the vCloud Air Network it would appear that VMware has in fact gone the other way and recommitted their support to all vCloud Server Providers and has even sort out to make the partner relationship stronger. The premise being that together, there is a ready made network (Including vCloud Air) of providers around the world ready to take on the greater uptake of Hybrid Cloud that’s expected over the next couple of years.

So while vCloud Air existed VMware acknowledged that more success was possible through support the vCloud Air Network ecosystem as the enabler of hybrid cloud services.

Final Final Thoughts:

To say that I’ve had a love hate relationship with the idea of VMware having a public cloud is reflected in my posts over the years. In truth myself and others who formed part of the vCloud Air Network of VMware based service providers where never really thrilled about the idea of VMware competing directly against their own partners.

vCHS vs. vCloud Providers: The Elephant in the Cloud

I would now say that many would be glad to see it handed over to OVH…because now VMware does not compete against it’s vCAN Service Providers directly, but can continue to hopefully focus on enabling them with the best tools to power their own cloud or provider platforms and help the network grow successfully as what the likes of OVH, iLand, Zettagrid and others have been able to so.

Pat Gelsinger statement in regards to the sale to OVH are very postive for the vCloud Air Network and I believe for VMware hybrid cloud vision that it revealed at VMworld last year can now proceed without this lingering in the corner.

“We remain committed to delivering our broader cross-cloud architecture that extends our hybrid cloud strategy, enabling customers to run, manage, connect, and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment”

The VMware vCloud blog here talks about what OVH will bring to the table for the customers that remain on vCloud Air. Overall it’s extremely positive for those customers and they can take advantage of the technical ability and execution of the vCloud Air Networks leading service provider. Overall I think this is a great move by VMware and will hopefully lead to the vCloud Air Network becoming stronger…not weaker.

vCHS vs. vCloud Providers: The Elephant in the Cloud

A couple of years ago I remember first hearing about Project Zepher which was rumored to be VMware’s first attempt at a public cloud offering…though it wasn’t officially announced at VMworld 2012 it was the basis for what would later become vCloud Hybrid Services. Just after VMworld I wrote this post where I stated:

…VMware always being about the partner cloud ecosystem it felt like a shift in direction overnight one which is obviously driven by the fact the big boys of Amazon, Azure, Google and to a lesser extend RackSpace have all taken significant chunks of the market space.

With that I do understand VMware’s nervousness in the fact the vCloud ecosystem hasn’t grown as quickly as they would like, but I would argue that the pure public cloud space where vCloud offerings sit are completely different market verticals and. Extend that to my local market of Australia, we are only now just seeing RackSpace and Amazon show interest in availability zones locally to counter the huge data sovereignty issue that exists in Australia the big boys aren’t really here yet and hopefully won’t get established for a long time I also believe that Australian companies…be it a large corporate or an SMB trust and like to do business with local providers of whom there is an existing strong relationship.

Fast forward two years AWS (and to a lesser extent, Rackspace) are well established and growing strongly and Azure is about to drop in Australia officially in the next couple of months. My worry remains that the focus can’t help but shift from partner based Cloud offerings to vCHS for local VMware staff to push and there has certainly been a shift in company mentality where it’s very much ok to look at Public Cloud offerings now at the expense of traditional MSP and/or IaaS providers.

vCloud Powered Providers generally fall in a category that’s not Public Cloud, but not Managed Service Provider Cloud…most vCloud Providers “should” have a level of automation and self service and should be nimble enough to offer competitive pricing and reliable service. Certainly the best vCloud Powered partners have product offerings that complement basic IaaS services such as DR/RaaS and VPS products and in general most should have a locality advantage over the likes of AWS, Azure and now vCHS who can not put an availability zone in every state and city…there should be plenty of the Virtual Pie left.

One of the biggest questions that remains unanswered for me is how local VMware sales and support practices will react to vCHS arriving in their region. We recently had the first APJ (hosted out of Japan) vCHS datacenter open and by the end of the year it will arrive in Australia…my guess is that VMware will/have Partnered with Telstra (who have, rather surprisingly won Cloud Service Provider of the year two years running at PEXANZ) and be offered out of at least Sydney…if not Melbourne at launch. It’s not a surprise anymore and it’s something I understand VMware must do to complete with AWS and Azure here in Australia.

Working for the current largest vCloud Power Provider in Australia it does worry me that VMware will shift focus of sales towards vCHS and the backing and support that has been up to this date, tremendous…will start to decline. However I must counter this by saying that I don’t believe VMware will pull a Microsoft and look to screw partners by way of going out of their way to lure clients away.

So the elephant in the cloud remains…what impact will vCHS have on VSPP and vCloud Powered Providers?

I’m interested to hear of vCloud SPs in the US and Europe who have already had vCHS drop in their regions…Has it had an impact? Are you still getting the same amount of love from VMware? What have you done to counter added competition?

Please feel free to comment below or reach out to my over Twitter or email.