The expansion of IBM's partnership with VMware indicates just how eager customers are to adopt hybrid cloud environments as part of their IT transformation strategies.
IBM and VMware announced an expanded cloud relationship this week at the VMworld 2016 conference in Las Vegas, where the companies will enable customers to use IBM Cloud to move existing applications to the cloud within hours rather than weeks. Demand for the companies' combined cloud offerings has surged.
The relationship between IBM and VMware is more than a decade old; however, this year the companies announced an expanded partnership at IBM InterConnect 2016 in February to enable enterprise customers to easily extend their existing workloads, as they are, from their on-premises software-defined data center (SDDC) to the IBM cloud.
Since that announcement, the companies have seen more than 500 new clients, including Marriott International, now running VMware software on IBM Cloud.
In a blog post this week, Geoff Waters, vice president of VMware's Global Service Provider Channel, said at InterConnect, "IBM and VMware first announced our strategic partnership to accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption, by allowing customers to extend their existing workloads from on-premise SDDCs to the cloud without changing processes or toolsets. Since that announcement, we've been feverously collaborating to provide solutions that meet business' evolving needs, and we've seen sustained month-to-month growth with hundreds of new customers subscribing to IBM Cloud for VMware solutions."
Later, in June, IBM and VMware further expanded their partnership by announcing the availability of the Horizon Air portfolio for global enterprises on IBM Cloud, "which empowers customers and partners to transform the way they deliver Windows applications and virtual desktops in the cloud, allowing employees to embrace business mobility anytime, anywhere and from any place," Waters said.
At VMworld 2016, VMware announced VMware Cloud Foundation, its new unified SDDC platform that brings together VMware's vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX into a natively integrated stack to deliver enterprise-ready cloud infrastructure for the private and public cloud. And VMware announced that IBM would become the first vCloud Air Network partner to offer VMware Cloud Foundation on its cloud platform—the IBM Cloud.
"This collaboration is an extension of a 14-year plus relationship with IBM that demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud," Waters said.
IBM has 47 cloud data centers around the world supporting the IBM Cloud, the latest launched last week in South Korea.
"Enterprises need fast and easy ways to deploy and move workloads between on-premises and public cloud environments," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, in a statement. "Our collaboration with VMware is becoming the glue for many organizations to scale and create new business opportunities while making the most of their existing IT investments in a hybrid cloud environment."
For modern IT vendors, maintaining or growing their relevance to enterprise customers is job number one, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Many times, they can accomplish that individually but the partnership between IBM and VMware highlights a situation where creative collaboration is absolutely critical. The reality that the pair's relationship addresses is twofold, he noted.