VMware has launched its ‘Global Connect’ network, presenting services from its top-tier service provider partners as a single, virtual cloud.
Global Connect was launched at VMworld in Las Vegas today, and linked international, certified providers of vCloud Datacenter Services.
The alliance allowed customers to contract a single Global Connect service provider but have access to other partner data centres in multiple geographies.
It targeted multinational enterprises facing data jurisdiction concerns, providing globally consistent infrastructure as a service based on VMware technologies.
At launch, Global Connect included three of VMware’s seven vCloud Datacenter Services providers: SingTel; Japanese telco Softbank; and US cloud hosting provider Bluelock.
Other vCloud Datacenter partners were Colt, CSC, Dell, Terremark and Verizon. Australian telcos Telstra and Optus were also working towards certification.
Dell was providing vCloud Datacenter services to beta customers, and planned to begin serving US customers later this year, and customers in the Asia Pacific region in 2012.
VMware’s vice president of product marketing Bogomil Balkansky said vCloud Datacenter Services providers could choose to join the Global Connect program.
He declined to disclose details of how revenue would be shared among service providers, noting that commercial terms were determined by the service providers involved.
According to Gartner analyst Kyle Hilgendorf, the Global Connect network could give vCloud the geographic spread to compete with cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services.
VMware expected the year-old vCloud Datacenter Services program to span 25 datacentres in 13 countries by the end of this calendar year.
But the network would likely be challenged by legal agreements, Hilgendorf said, noting that it was hard enough for customers to establish contracts with any single provider today.
“The non-technical side of this announcement will prove to be extremely challenging,” he wrote.
“For a customer to be able to establish those terms and then for the provider to take those terms and pass on to other providers is daunting to consider.
“Customers will now have additional context to consider when negotiating agreements. Pay close to attention for language around the mobility of workloads from provider to provider.”
Hybrid clouds and the ‘psychological hurdle’
VMware today updated its vCloud Connector workload management tool for clusters, private and public clouds to address network drop-outs and increase transfer speeds. It also launched a management portal at vcloud.vmware.com.
The virtualisation vendor also introduced disaster recovery-as-a-service offerings from four of its service provider partners, FusionStorm, Hosting.com, iland and VeriStor.
The ‘Disaster Recovery to the Cloud’ offerings targeted organisations wanting to avoid the cost of establishing a secondary, recovery data centre for disaster recovery.
Service providers and customers would use VMware’s vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 to automate and manage the failover process.
While the cloud service would not allow customers to overcome regulatory barriers to storing data in the public cloud, Balkansky said it would help to address “psychological” barriers.
“The hurdles for cloud adoption tend to be more psychological than technical,” he said, noting however that VMware forecast a hybrid and not a “100 percent public” cloud world.
VMware chief executive officer Paul Maritz told some 19,000 conference attendees that more than half of the world’s server applications were now running on virtualised infrastructure, citing figures from analyst firm IDC.
He said VMware aimed to build “not just a hypervisor, but a complete suite that can address infrastructure operations”.
As virtualisation became increasingly popular, he expected customers to demand virtual infrastructure that was “more invisible and automated”.
“Infrastructure is like plumbing; you have to have it and if it goes wrong, you have a big problem, but you like to be able to forget about it,” he said.
“We want to be relevant to our customers in the long period,” he said, “in terms of not just what’s happened in the past, but what’s going to happen in the future.”
Liz Tay travelled to the United States to attend VMworld and Dreamforce as a guest of VMware and Salesforce.com.