At IBM Interconnect in Las Vegas, IBM and VMware have announced that they are to jointly sell and market new offerings. The deal was announced by Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud and Carl Eschenbach, President and Chief Executive Officer, VMware to a packed audience.
The deal which both companies have kept under wraps is more than just an announcement. Eschenbach said: “We have jointly designed and architected a new platform based on the VMware Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) environments. It will run on IBM bare-metal and will enable customers to automatically provision pre-configured VMs across both on-premises and cloud environments.”
One of the big challenges for customers with hybrid cloud according to Eschenbach is consistency. He told the audience: “Customers want the same security and network policies across their on-premises and public cloud environments. We are bringing this to the new solution. It also means that customers get consistency across their environments, something that is essential for them.”
Both companies are committing tools to this deal. IBM is to enable its CloudBuilder tools to automatically provision workloads that have been validated by VMware’s design patterns for SDDC. For its part VMware has extended its vRealise Automation and vCenter management tools to treat IBM Cloud as if it were part of the local data centre.
According to LeBlanc: “We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen. The strategic partnership between IBM and VMware will enable clients to easily embrace the cloud while preserving their existing investments and creating new business opportunities.”
What is interesting here is what does this mean for the other VMware vCloud Air deployments that we’ve seen over the last year? CenturyLink, Rackspace, OVH and NTT Comms are just a few of the cloud providers that have deployed VMware vCloud networks for customers. While IBM and VMware steered clear of any mention of the impact on other providers there will definitely be an impact on them.
Did Dell know this was coming?
There will also be a lot of people wondering what this deal means for Dell’s planned acquisition of EMC which many saw as a play for VMware to help it achieve its own cloud ambitions. Did Dell know about the deal and development work being done by IBM and VMware? It may have done as it will be working its way through due diligence on the deal and one would have expected this to be part of that work. If it didn’t know this was coming there will be some surprise at Dell that VMware has made this announcement.
This was a surprise for everyone at IBM Interconnect as could be seen on the faces of those attending. After failing to get in early enough to gets its own cloud data centres off the ground, VMware had been busy building alliances. What nobody expected was for that to be with IBM in this way.
It will be interesting to see exactly how both companies market this new solution. VMware will have to be cognisant of the impact on its other partners. While this deal is live as of now it cannot afford to see any of its existing vCloud partners suddenly walking away as there is not the time to easily migrate customers to this solution. For IBM this is a major coup and plays very much to the “all in on hybrid” message that LeBlanc is pushing hard.