Public cloud shakeup: VMware in, Dell out, and OpenStack in limbo?

As providers jockey for position, end users are the real winners

It's been a busy week in the cloud. Dell ditched plans to build its own cloud and instead will work with partners, while focusing on private clouds. In an opposite move, VMware revealed its plans for how it will compete in the public cloud market.

Meanwhile:

[ MORE CLOUD: Former Amazon engineer spills to Reddit ]

So what's going on in the cloud market?

Henry Wasik, CEO of Joyent, says from the provider point of view, companies are positioning themselves to compete against the dominant player in this industry: Amazon Web Services.

"The cloud market is large and growing very fast, but we're clearly got one giant who holds dominant market share," he says. "This technology has set off a huge wave of disruption," and everyone's trying to figure out how to play in this market, he says.

Here's a little bit of a closer look at some of the news this week:

As had been rumored, Dell announced this week that it would no longer pursue building an OpenStack-powered public cloud, it would cease its VMware-powered public cloud and instead work with partners to deliver public cloud services to customers. The company remains committed to OpenStack for customers to build private clouds using Dell hardware and software.

Randy Bias, CTO of Cloudscaling and a member of the OpenStack board of directors, says this move is not surprising. It's really difficult to build a massive public cloud, especially for companies that are not willing to use commodity hardware and software (like Facebook, Amazon and Google have done) to maximize economies of scale. "Dell is a lot more flexible now," he says, working with partners and giving customers choice as to which public cloud provider they work with instead of pushing them into using just a Dell service.

What does this mean for the OpenStack project? James Staten, a cloud watcher at Forrester, says this move is much more about Dell's change in strategy than a commentary on OpenStack as a project.

In a another move that was widely expected, VMware has launched a public cloud service to build out its vCloud Hybrid strategy. The biggest selling point for this service will be that IT pros who are expects in using VMware will feel comfortable using this public cloud system, says Staten.

"This is a very IT ops friendly cloud solution," Staten says. It may be missing some of the features developers like to use, around application deployment and configurations, but it is one of the first public clouds from a major provider aimed squarely at IT operations workers. "These tools are going to look familiar to a lot of people," he says, given how widespread VMware management software is deployed across the enterprise.

As for Joyent, which may be one of the most compelling cloud services that many people have not heard of, the company this week rolled out a major expansion of its offerings. It went from having 10 virtual machine instance types to now having 71 different combinations of compute and storage users can configure in its cloud.

Wasik, the CEO, says the instance sizes are meant to more closely align with those from Amazon, to make it easier for customers who want to migrate from that platform over to Joyent to take advantage of the company's support and integrated proprietary operating system, which he says is ideal for high-performance workloads.

Google, meanwhile, rolled out a price drop for its week-old cloud-based database system that it announced at its I/O conference. Continuing the trend of public cloud providers reducing their prices, the service dropped in price in some cases by up to 25%.

Insider Tip: 12 easy ways to tune your Wi-Fi network
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies