VMware Not Cloud Leader — Next Generation Providers Filling Gaps, Creating New Categories

VMware will spend this week seeking to convince us that it will take the mantle as the cloud leader. But the reality is something far different as we head into VMworld, the company’s annual event. This is a space seeing deep disruption as new categories emerge in the change to more easy to use, commodity type services.

The lack of leadership is apparent when you spend some time talking with the team from ManageIQ,which is clearly articulating the unique requirements companies need to consider when integrating their data centers to any number of service providers. Their story is about how they abstract the complex management issues that come with orchestrating cloud infrastructures.

That’s the takeaway if you are considering how to actually use the cloud. Provisioning your extended infrastructure is the easy part. The difficulty is in managing all the issues that come with it. VMware has pieces of this story and sees its DynamicOps acquisition as helping customers manage multiple cloud environments with an IT focus. DynamicOps supports multiple hypervisors. It can manage apps no matter if they run on VMware, Xen or a KVM virtualized infrastructure. But still, a complete, technologically sophisticated hybrid cloud environment is not available from VMware. And young companies are starting to fill the gaps.

ManageIQ now integrates with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and CloudWatch, the AWS monitoring service. Its new release also includes:

  • DIY self-service provisioning, monitoring, charge back capabilities, adaptive automation and policy based orchestration.
  • Cross platform virtual infrastructure support including VMware, Red Hat and Microsoft.
  • Support for the underlying physical infrastructure.

Abstraction, at least in my book, is the Holy Grail for technology vendors and what users should be pressing for when looking at what VMware and other legacy vendors offer. Apple did it with the iPhone by abstracting the complexity of adding apps to a smartphone. AWS has abstracted the need for building your own servers by making vast infrastructures available that developers can access to manage their services. Platforms are emerging that further abstract the complexity of developing and deploying apps to the cloud.

What’s missing, as Tier 3′s Jared Wray said in a conversation tonight, is the simple UI. Whoever comes out with that easy to use interface for managing data centers and clouds will have the potential to be the gateway to the future IT – where software faces the organization, not people. People will still be part of the equation but only as managing the technology for users who largely depend on their own communities to get their work done and issues resolved.

It’s through this transformation that we are seeing new categories emerge such a hybrid cloud and data center analytics. Startups like ManageIQ are disrupting the market and forcing companies like VMware to consider new ways to translate their leadership from virtualization to the diverse ecosystem of the cloud.