VMware vCloud Air In Australia: Everything You Need To Know

Joining an increasingly crowded local cloud marketplace, VMware has announced plans to offer its VCloud Air public cloud platform through an Australian data centre in Melbourne in 2015. Here’s what you need to know.

Picture: Mike Hauser

The pitch for VCloud Air (formerly known by the more awkward name of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service) is that it’s ideal if you want to run a hybrid cloud mixing on-premises gear with external services. Because you can use vSphere to manage both, there’s less need to rework applications to work in a cloud environment.

“It’s the only cloud that is really built to supporting existing IT applications,” VMware director cloud and service provider sales Dan McLean said at a media launch for the platform. “Most existing clouds require a significant amount of rework.”

Given vSphere’s dominance in the local virtualisation market, that’s potentially going to be an attractive option for many customers. That said, Microsoft can make similar claims about its own Azure service and its integration with System Center and Hyper-V, and Azure already has local data centres and availability.

The vCloud Air service will launch in Australia in the first half of 2015. No pricing details have been revealed, although local MD Duncan Bennet said at the launch that the company was aiming to compete on “capability” rather than getting into a price war.

That makes it unlikely we’ll see a significant difference to the existing pricing from AWS and Azure. It also suggests that, just as those players do, the Australian pricing will be higher than in the US. vCloud Air already operates in the US, where it launched in August 2013, Japan and the UK, and is expanding to Germany next year.

The data centre for the service will be located in Melbourne, and operated by Telstra. (Telstra is keeping itself busy in that department — it also has a partnership with Cisco for its Intercloud service.) Azure operates in both Sydney and Melbourne, as does IBM’s SoftLayer; AWS’ Australian data centre is in Sydney, but it has expanded to a Melbourne edge location for Route 53.

VMware will sell vCloud Air through its local partners, including Telstra, but will manage and operate the service itself. There will be three main packages available:

  • A dedicated cloud package which includes compute space used only by that customer. That has a minimum spec of 30GHz CPU, 120GB RAM and 6TB of storage, along with 50MB of network bandwidth.
  • A virtual private cloud, which includes shared compute space. This has a minimum spec of 5GHz CPU (which can be burst higher during peak demand), 20GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. (This is closer to the entry-level options on AWS and Azure.)
  • A dedicated disaster recovery service to allow systems to fail over in the event of a problem. This will include an “unlimited” number of test failovers.

Further down the track, vCloud Air will also include a number of application service offerings, include database platforms, a CHEF-based devops platform, AirWatch-based mobility and a desktop as a service offering. Those don’t have a release date, but Bennet said the platform would be kept in sync globally, with new options rolling out worldwide rather than being staggered — a significant point of difference from AWS and Azure if it turns out to be true.

Our initial thoughts? For VMware shops, having an easily integrated option is likely to prove appealing. The reality is that many larger organisations are likely to have a mixture of private and public cloud services to mix, which raises the question of how you manage the integration between separate clouds. Regardless, in 2015 Australian enterprises are going to have a lot of on-shore cloud options to choose from.

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