Amazon picked a fight with VMware in the cloud, and VMware fought back

Late last week Amazon Web Services released a new feature in its market-leading public cloud computing offering that allows VMware workloads to more easily be migrated into the company’s cloud. VMware within days shot back discounting the effectiveness of the tool.

The back and forth moves show the competitive nature of the cloud computing market, and the willingness of the company that Gartner recently named the top dog in the industry to basically pick fights with smaller competitors. While the new functionality is welcomed by independent analysts, AWS announcing a migration tool specifically designed to run in VMware’s vCenter software also seems like an attempt by AWS to sway users away from VMware’s own public cloud, named vCloud Hybrid Service.

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The new product is named AWS Management Portal for vCenter and it’s a plugin to the popular VMware software, which allows AWS virtual machines to be managed from the vCenter software. AWS says this allows VMware administrators to control both their on-premises VMware workloads and cloud-based AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in one user interface. AWS released the news in a blog post last week.

Then this week, VMware’s CTO for the Americas Chris Wolf - who is a former Gartner analyst - responded with his own blog post titled, “Don’t be fooled by import tools disguised as hybrid cloud management,” in which he outlines multiple reasons this import-only tool falls short. Namely, it does not allow resources to be allocated back into your private data center or VMware environment, and it only deploys to one public cloud endpoint. “Don’t be fooled by basic management that is tactically useful today but can lead to increased lock-in down the road,” he writes.

He goes on to extoll the virtues of VMware’s vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), which he said is a multi-cloud broker software. VMware isn’t alone in that market though, there are a variety of other software tools companies can use to broker workloads between their data centers and the public cloud, such as RightScale.

Overall though, independent cloud experts seemed intrigued by AWS’s announcement of an import tool dedicated directly for VMware workloads. It’s undeniable that AWS is a major force in the public cloud computing market, and VMware is an extremely popular virtualization management tool. Having a program that can easily launch workloads from VMware into AWS was welcomed by some analysts. Gartner IaaS expert Kyle Hilgendorf tweeted the following:

So while some may call this a welcome tool for easier integration between AWS and VMware, it’s also a move that is jostling some competitive juices between these two companies. VMware has made a big deal about its vCHS public cloud service, but it has a long way to go before it catches up to the leaders of this industry, who Gartner recently recognized as AWS and Microsoft. One big advantage VMware has though is its hybrid story between its on-premises workloads and its native public cloud. AWS recognizes that and is essentially acknowledging that even though it is focused on its public cloud, it is actively making hybrid cloud integrations easier.

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