VMworld 2013: VMware Reveals Plan To Bring Hybrid Cloud To Europe

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Unfriendly vCloud to fall on Slough, it does not fit with partners now

At VMworld in Barcelona, VMware said it will bring its hybrid cloud service to Europe, with a promise to meet European privacy and legal demands while offering a means to ease hesitant cloud customers from their ‘private cloud only’ mindset.

The vCloud Hybrid Service, which was launched in the US earlier this year, will be launching in multiple countries but the UK is first, because it is the company’s biggest European market, VMware’s vice president for hybrid cloud Bill Fathers told VMworld in Barcelona.

Virtual shrug

The service will be available as a private beta in the fourth quarter of 2013, and generally available early in 2014. Both Fathers and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger shrugged off suggestions that the move might alienate VMware’s UK partners. Asked about this, Gelsinger replied that there was room for everyone: “Our strategy is to continue to make as many of our partners successful as possible. They can really differentiate themselves. It may be seen as competing, but this is a vast market.”

Fathers would not say whose data centre would be used in the UK but, given that he joined VMware from hosting company Savvis, which has a data centre in Slough, we can make an educated guess that Savvis is involved. Future plans involve France, Germany and the Benelux countries, while the UK’s hybrid vCloud will use space and equipment provided by a “partner”.

“Sovereignty is the keyword,” said Gelsinger, emphasising that the cloud service would meet requirement for local data and also for the European Data Protection Directive. The notion of meeting these requirements was not new to VMware, he said, because VMware has been helping to build private cloud data centres for years: “That’s what we’ve been doing since the beginning, so this is a very natural extension.”

On top of the vCloud, Gelsinger announced an online marketplace which includes 3,800 applications pre-qualified to run on the service. The company has also integrated its cloud management solutions in the form of the vCloud Hybrid Service, including vSphere web client, and vCloud Application Director.

In Gelsinger’s keynote, Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos and a former French IT minister, endorsed VMware’s approach and linked it to the European cloud strategy. “The software defined data centre has transformed our company,” he said, claiming that a private cloud had enabled Atos to apply its policy to eliminate internal emails. “Before, we were running IT to reduce cost, now we can focus on change management and growing opportunities.”

The European cloud strategy is important said Breton: “We believe as Europeans that it is time to build a single market for cloud. We are trying to adopt the same regulation across Europe. It is not about protectionism – it is the exact opposite.”