To understand the relationships between VMware’s neatly integrated virtualization and cloud management technologies is to gain a window into one possible future for technology solutions and managed services providers (MSPs).
If the software maker’s bets are right, the pace of digital transformation is hurling organizations of all sizes toward a world shortly dominated by software defined data centers (SDDCs) and mastery of networking, computing and storage of IT workloads, across any clouds and from any tools.
Geoffrey Waters, VMware’s vice president of service provider channel, is working to convince more and more MSPs to take a hard look at the vision his firm is pursuing – an approach he says could offer rich opportunities for sellers of managed services.
“There’s two ways we can help service providers and MSPs,” he told MSPmentor during an afternoon chat at VMworld in Las Vegas this week. “We either help reduce their costs of managing their own clouds … or we give the ability to add new services to drive new revenue streams.”
As part of that, VMware announced that IBM would become the first vCloud Air Network partner to offer its newly unveiled VMware Cloud Foundation platform on IBM Cloud.
“VMware Cloud Foundation is basically our full SDDC stack,” Waters said. “So it’s networking, it’s compute and it’s storage, and then it packages it up in an automated way.”
The cross-cloud-friendly platform – available as a service – gives customers freedom to select their own infrastructure and integrates other VMware products, including vSphere, Virtual SAN, NSX and SDDC Manager.
“It takes that provisioning of the full stack and it reduces it from a matter of weeks and months, to literally hours,” Waters explained. “That’s going to be a huge time-to-market advantage.”
Nearly all of the Fortune 100 companies use VMware tools and adoption of the NSX network virtualization platform has increased more than 400 percent during the past year and a half, a data point celebrated throughout this week’s conference.
Meanwhile, more than 500 VMware clients have already begun moving their environments to IBM Cloud, which reports that its footprint of 50 scalable data centers around the world continues to grow.
“Enterprises need fast and easy ways to deploy and move workloads between on-premises and public cloud environments,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud, in a statement announcing the enhanced partnership. “Our collaboration with VMware is becoming the glue for many organizations to scale and create new business opportunities while making the most of their existing IT investments in a hybrid cloud environment.”
Wide adoption of VMware solutions is translating into strong momentum for the channel ecosystem, where 4,200 partners in 119 countries are serving about 99 percent of the cloud total addressable market, Waters said.
“That means our network of partners across the globe are able to offer end users choice and flexibility on a local basis, so you can get your cloud on a local basis.” he said. “Think about data sovereignty. Think about the different compliances that people need. Think about the different vertical markets.”
Managed Services ‘Around’ Cloud
Within the complexity of those innumerable and byzantine domains lies a huge opportunity for technology solution and service providers, Waters said.
“In essence, what we’re doing is we’re offering them our building blocks,” he said. “We have all the different products that we have and they’re basically leveraging them in an OPEX manner so they don’t have to buy it.”
The vCloud Air Network program is targeted to services providers who currently or eventually plan to provide hosted services.
“It’s them building some sort of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and then offering managed services around that,” Waters said. “And obviously, that’s very lucrative; those other services are very lucrative.”
VMware’s future also finds a place for companies with no interest in infrastructure.
“For the smaller players who don’t have the infrastructure – a lot of the, sort of, classic MSPs are working with our vCloud Air Network,” Waters said. “So that’s the OVH’s of the world, the Rackspaces’ of the world have a great program; IBM has a great channel program. Fusion is another one that has another great MSP program.”
“They’re tapping into the infrastructure of all these service providers.”