Rackspace tries to out-VMware VMware

Rackspace rolls out dedicated hosted VMware virtual machines – which is what VMware is planning to do itself soon

Rackspace today rolled out new functionality that allows customers to run their VMware virtual machines in its cloud on dedicated infrastructure. The move is interesting because it comes just ahead of VMware’s expected launch of its own hosted service.

Rackspace is essentially trying to out-VMware VMware.

Rackspace CTO John Engates (pictured) puts it a slightly different way, saying that there’s a big enough cloud pie out there and that multiple vendors can have their own fair slice of hosted virtual machine workloads.

“With VMware, it’ similar to other companies, they’re not going to have every customer of every VMware deployment with them,” Engates told me, adding that Microsoft had that aspiration for its Azure cloud platform with its Windows customers.  

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Engates says the offering is meant to resonate not just with Rackspace customers looking for a hosted platform for their VMware-VMs, but for VMware customers as well. But why would a VMware customer use Rackspace as a hosting provider instead of VMware itself?

Rackspace has advantages over VMware’s soon-to-be-released offering, Engates says. Rackspace has been doing this whole outsourcing thing for more than a decade. Plus, the company has been hosting VMware virtual machines for years too. The newest offering is a natural extension of the company’s current platform for VMware products, he says, giving customers a no-frills-added VMware vCenter virtualized server running on dedicated infrastructure. In the past, Rackspace’s VMware offerings would come with a Rackspace management layer on top of it where the company would provision VMs for customers through a dashboard. Read the press release from Rackspace here

The bigger issue here is that VMware is likely going to be grabbing a lot of headlines in the coming weeks with its VMworld show happening next week. So, providers like Rackspace and Microsoft are in a sense trying to preempt the show with news of their own. Microsoft basically did the same thing last week with its virtual networking capabilities being rolled out (read about that here). Everyone wants their time in the spotlight.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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