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.
IBM, VMware Cloud Partnership Signals Hybrid Cloud Success
“First, there are many business-critical enterprise workloads and applications that have lived in on-premises IBM mainframe and Power Systems for years, and will continue to do so,” King said. “Second, those same businesses own and manage thousands of Intel-based systems, many or most of which utilize VMware solutions. As those organizations examine the best options for leveraging the cloud, finding solutions that support both their IBM- and Intel-based applications is critical.”
Supporting VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud means that customers can automatically provision preconfigured VMware SDDC environments on IBM Cloud in hours versus weeks or months, VMware officials said.
Meanwhile, IBM said it is training more than 4,000 service professionals to be able to provide clients with VMware solutions.
“IBM and VMware share a common vision for providing customers with an easy path from the data center to the cloud,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO at VMware. “This collaboration has been so successful that we’re investing more deeply so our customers can quickly deploy software-defined solutions in just hours to IBM Cloud with all the sophisticated workload automation they have within their own data centers.”
With this SDDC environment in place, customers will be able to deploy workloads in this hybrid cloud environment without modification, due to common security and networking models based on VMware.
“IBM and VMware are making great strides to enable enterprise hybrid cloud adoption through automation,” said Melanie Posey, vice president of research for IDC’s Hosting and Managed Network Services unit, in a statement. “The IBM/VMware partnership offers enterprises the ability to extend existing on-premises workloads to the cloud seamlessly without the need for a major IT operations overhaul, thus greatly simplifying the entire migration process.”
IBM and VMware will provide the expertise, solutions and cloud infrastructure to help customers manage and scale their IT resources running in private and public clouds, using the tools, processes and APIs with which customers are already familiar.
“The partnership between IBM and VMware gives us an advantage in that Marriott can continue to do what we do best but expands our reach on a global scale with trusted partners whom consistently deliver,” said Alan Rosa, senior vice president of Technology Delivery and IT Security at Marriott International, in a statement.
Moreover, “This partnership gives VMware a bigger cloud play to go up against Oracle, Microsoft and others, and aims to demonstrate a cloud ecosystem and validate Cloud Foundation,” Charlotte Dunlap, principal analyst at Current Analysis, told eWEEK. “The partnership will be even more interesting when it moves up the stack and includes IBM Bluemix in addition to SoftLayer.”
Pund-IT’s King agrees that the relationship between IBM and VMware bolsters their individual and collective cloud offerings and makes them more formidable to competitors.
“In essence, the companies are offering enterprises a collaborative, one-stop shop for all their private, public and hybrid cloud needs,” King said. “No competing vendors can offer better levels of experience and expertise in those use cases and workloads. Plus, by fully supporting the core needs of key customers, IBM and VMware are underscoring their own innovations and adaptability. This is a partnership where everyone wins, except for other vendors trying to get a toehold among these same enterprises.”