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2/6/2012
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VMware Rapidly Expands Cloud Partner Network

VMware users who want to run virtualized workloads in the cloud now have 94 cloud service providers to choose from in a wide variety of worldwide geographies.

VMware has decided that its fight to remain the leading virtualization software supplier may be decided not in the data center but in the cloud. At least that appears to be its conclusion, as it rapidly expands a cloud ecosystem that is compatible with its product line.

VMware users now have 94 cloud service providers to choose from in a wide variety of geographies, company spokesmen announced Tuesday. In addition, VMware is redoubling its efforts to make those service providers more functional and effective.

The cornerstone of its network is a set of seven infrastructure-as-a-service providers, each of whom is required to offer enterprise-level cloud services through a VMware-originated API. Each member of the group must be able to provide high availability guarantees as part of its services. Four of them were previously announced: COLT, whose locations include London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Paris; SingTel in Singapore; Bluelock in Indianapolis; and SoftBank in Japan. Three others have been added: Verizon (owner of longtime VMware partner Terremark), Dell, and CSC, the former Computer Sciences Corp.

The group is distinguished by its ability to supply redundant hardware for high availability services and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduling, which allows a user to dynamically move virtualized resources around via automated processes. They must also supply high-performance storage.

These sites are prime targets for hybrid cloud operations, where a data center offloads parts of peak loads or designated public cloud workloads rather than expand existing data center facilities.

[ Learn more about VMware's view; see VMware's Maritz Predicts Hybrid Cloud Future. ]

The other 87 service providers are not subject to the same stringent requirements as what VMware calls its seven vCloud Data Center providers, but they also offer cloud services compatible with VMware's product line. That is, they make use of vCloud Director and other service provider software to receive and run ESX Server virtual machine workloads.

They include service providers such as Hosting.com, Virtacore Systems, Peak Colo, iland, GNAX Global Net Access, and NTT Communications. They are located in all parts of the world, including Russia, China, Brazil, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Finland.

Mathew Lodge, senior director of cloud services, said in an interview that VMware also announced Tuesday that it was releasing another piece of service provider software, vCloud Integration Manager (vCIM).

VCloud Integration Manager is "purpose-built for service providers to get them in high gear," said Lodge. VMware's service providers, in some cases, started out "struggling with manual processes," such as manually entering the time to be billed a customer into the invoicing or accounting systems. Through Integration Manager, data from several VMware service provider applications will automatically flow into the provider's backoffice applications.

It will also help providers capture customer orders, provision virtual servers from orders, and present a service catalogue to customers.

Cloud data centers in different geographies capable of running the same workload are a proven asset. Amazon.com offers the same services in seven data center regions around the world; all run its AMI virtual machine file format; CenturyLink's Savvis and Verizon's Terremark offer 50 and 49 sites, respectively. In announcing it has 94, VMware has leapt out in front in terms of number of sites, although it made no claims for them being tightly linked by network segments, as Verizon and CenturyLink are able to do.

IT's jumping into cloud services with too much custom code and too little planning, our annual State of Cloud Computing Survey finds. The new Leap Of Cloud Faith issue of InformationWeek shows you what to be aware of when using the cloud. Also in this issue: Cloud success stories from Six Flags and Yelp, and how to write a SAN RFI. (Free registration required.)

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