VMware is entering the already-crowded public cloud space with vCloud Hybrid Service, adopting the now-familiar approach of paying for hosted computing services on a time utilisation model. Here's what we know so far, starting with why we'll be waiting quite a while to use it in Australia.
The service, which will be hosted in non-VMware-owned data centres running vSphere, will initially launch in the US in the third calendar quarter of this year (a trial is beginning in June). Other locations aren't expected until next year, and the VMware documentation suggests sales will only be to US customers initially. No word yet on plans for an Australian data centre, though given that the service's most obvious rivals are either already here (AWS) or planning a local operation (Azure) that would seem a sensible move in the near term
Sites using vSphere to manage their own internal servers can also use it to manage vCloud Hybrid Service instances, making it simpler to manage hybrid cloud environments. Two models will be available: dedicated resources from 13 cents an hour for a single-processor 1GB machine, or 4.5 cents an hour for the same resource on a shared hardware platform. Those prices are roughly in line with its rivals.
VMware's biggest selling point for the service will be the widespread adoption of its virtualisation software, which gives it a large target market to address. Microsoft is taking a similar approach in driving people to Azure, drawing on its enormous existing Windows base. The majority of virtualised workloads are Windows, so in the majority of cases that customer base is the same group of people. Amazon Web Services can't draw on either group so directly, but arguably has first- mover advantage. This battle is going to rage for a while.