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3/7/2013
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Will VMware Stay Public Cloud Course? Bluelock Bets Yes

Bluelock opens VMware-compatible public cloud data center, as questions swirl on whether VMware will stay the course with vCloud or shift to OpenStack.

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Facebook's Futuristic Data Center: Inside Tour
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Bluelock, one of a handful of primary VMware public cloud supplier partners, recently opened a third data center in Las Vegas to complement its existing data centers in Indianapolis and Salt Lake City.

The move reflects the investments some third parties are making in VMware's vCloud Suite software stack and VMware's interpretation of how its customer base will tap public cloud services. As the members of the VMware ecosystem embed vCloud deeper and deeper into their environments, it potentially leaves them in trouble if VMware decides its existing public cloud strategy isn't working and switches to Plan B.

Just what Plan B might be isn't clear to members of the ecosystem, and may not be clear inside VMware itself. In a short period since 2010, it has built a much more extensive network of public cloud providers than most people realize. A list of those service providers begins with ACP IT Solutions AG in Munich, Germany, and ends with Zumasys in Irvine, Calif.

But that barely scratches the surface of VMware's public cloud effort. Also included are: Adacor Hosting, Adapt, Ajubeo, Amaris, Anitel, ASP4All, Area9, AT&T, Attenda and Ayera, and that's just the As. There are 175 vCloud-compatible suppliers named on VMware's full list.

[ Want to see why Bluelock is a respected VMware public cloud supplier? See Bluelock Lets Customers See Charges, Control Bills. ]

Bluelock doesn't give out details on the dimensions of its data centers, but they are described as Tier 4, SSAE 16 Type II caliber facilities. Tier 4 means a highly resilient data center with many redundancies and protections against outage, capable of supplying 99.995% uptime. SSAE 16 Type II, based on the former SAS 70 standard, requires auditable control processes that help ensure a service meets all compliance requirements.

On Aug. 27, VMware quietly launched test drives for selected customers of its vCloud Service Evaluation, which is sometimes referred to as a private beta of a VMware public cloud offering. In fact, it is a test drive of the vCloud software stack hosted by one of the previously mentioned, public cloud partners.

It's only recently, with the announcement that that former CEO Paul Maritz (now EMC chief strategy officer) would be heading up something called Pivotal Initiative, that outsiders began to speculate that VMware might be formulating its own public cloud service. Pivotal Initiative was to include VMware's sole existing operational public cloud, Cloud Foundry, based on open source code. With Pivotal still ill-defined, outsiders have begun to speculate how VMware might be dissatisfied with the pace of progress through its network of public cloud suppliers and contemplating launching its own public cloud service.

Such speculations would have remained beyond the pall but for inflammatory comments that came from current CEO Pat Gelsinger at VMware's Partner Exchange conference in Las Vegas. The possibility that more and more VMware customers were slipping away to Amazon's EC2 was an alarming one, one that possibly meant that VMware and its ecosystem were going to be left behind in the race to the public cloud.

"We all lose if they end up in these commodity public clouds. We want to extend our franchise from the private cloud into the public cloud ... Own the corporate workload now and forever," Gelsinger told the assembled partners in remarks that seemed to try to eliminate a source of future competition.

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