VMware Deal an Example of Past Rivals Accepting, Acquiescing to AWS Dominance

Time to surrender?
Time to surrender?

A number of companies that saw themselves as Amazon Web Services (AWS) competitors are not building much of their strategy around helping customers better utilize AWS.   Announcing a deal with AWS earlier this month, VMware is one such company.

In 2013 VMware expected to beat Amazon Web Services. Companies would create private clouds using VMware virtual machines in their own data centers and would upload public cloud workloads into VMware’s public cloud, not Amazon’s. VMware president and COO Carl Eschenbach, speaking at the VMware Partner Exchange Conference, said, “I look at this audience, and I look at VMware and the brand reputation we have in the enterprise, and I find it really hard to believe that we cannot collectively beat a company that sells books.”

The next year, VMware’s competitive stance against AWS went from derisive to defensive.

In June 2014, Amazon Web Services introduced AWS Management Portal for vCenter, a tool specifically designed to allow VMWare customers to migrate workloads from the VMWare cloud to AWS public cloud.   VMWare immediately countered with a flurry of communication claiming that the AWS tool was of questionable value and limited options. In a highly critical, detailed blog post Chris Wolf, VMware’s VP and CTO Americas wrote “there are many things that the AWS Management Portal does not do that should lead you to question its strategic value.”

VMWare was defending its turf, and the battle was on. Fast forward to October 2016 and it appears that the war has been won by the bookseller. Last week the companies jointly announced VMware Cloud on AWS, a partnership in which VMware customers can move their workloads to AWS’ public cloud.

“VMware Cloud on AWS offers our customers the best of both worlds,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware. “This new service will make it easier for customers to preserve their investment in existing applications and processes while taking advantage of the global footprint, advanced capabilities, and scale of the AWS public cloud.”

Gelsinger admitted that his customers strongly desired the AWS option and all but admitted defeat to Business Insider, saying, “the adoption of public cloud and AWS has accelerated, beyond even analysts or [AWS CEO Andy Jassy’s] expectations.”

Rather than their previous bold statements about beating AWS, VMware is seeking to help their enterprise customers do more with AWS. That’s what many enterprises want to do, and VMware is one of a growing number of companies in the infrastructure space that see that as their new reality.




Image courtesy of Wikimedia.org under Creative Commons license.