New managed private cloud services hoist VMware workloads

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CenturyLink and Rackspace will target VMware customers with recently released managed private cloud services based on VMware Cloud Foundation.

Companies are gradually becoming more comfortable with the public cloud, but many remain uneasy about keeping their data isolated from other tenants, said Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst at GlobalData in London. A VMware Cloud Foundation managed private cloud may be the logical next step for existing VMware customers to reduce the demands of day-to-day data center management.

“They still want some barriers and separations. And this gives them a sense that it is walled-off and separated, [and] that it is running in a dedicated environment,” she said.

However, it might not be the best bet for companies that want to reduce reliance on VMware, or for companies that don’t have VMware in their long-term cloud strategy — especially those that want to go all-in with the public cloud.

“They could wait to see if there are developments in another platform that makes it more appealing,” DeCarlo said.

For Rackspace — a co-creator of a competing managed private cloud service, OpenStack — the new service reflects a strategy to support customers on multiple platforms. For many years, the company used VMware and offered managed support for Amazon Web Services.

OpenStack is still important to Rackspace, but the company recognizes this is an era where it must support a multicloud environment, said Peter Fitzgibbon, vice president and general manager of the company’s VMware practice.

Like many VMware customers, ShoreTel Inc. runs applications on premises, but wants to reduce use of its own data centers. The company uses VMware tools, and its staff has deep knowledge of the VMware platform, said Zachary Webb, a platform architect at the telecommunications provider, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. A VMware managed private cloud is a first step for the carrier to move from its data center to the public cloud.

About two years ago, Webb started to push ShoreTel to move its IT infrastructure from a leased colocation data center managed with VMware software to a managed private cloud. Today, the split is 60% to 40% between Rackspace’s managed private cloud and ShoreTel’s own data centers. The carrier’s international locations live in a Rackspace data center. ShoreTel will continue to migrate workloads to the VMware managed private cloud at Rackspace, as hardware comes up for a refresh.

CenturyLink’s new VMware managed private cloud, CenturyLink Dedicated Cloud Compute Foundation, rearchitects its flagship private cloud onto Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) hardware. It is cheaper and 50% faster to provision than its predecessor, which required multiple integration points across network, compute and virtualization from five vendors. That’s typical with many private clouds that require users to coordinate technologies, either within OpenStack or earlier versions of VMware, said David Shacochis, vice president of product management at CenturyLink.

VMware Cloud Foundation serves up an integrated stack with vSphere, NSX and vSAN, which means fewer moving pieces, improved self-service features and security control, Shacochis said. The VMware private cloud targets modernized versions of line-of-business applications, enterprise resource planning and back-office system applications that could go to the public cloud, but for which companies want more control.

“They would look at a flexible private cloud with an easy user experience as a nice tradeoff to public cloud,” Shacochis said.

Both these managed private clouds based on VMware Cloud Foundation are available from Rackspace and CenturyLink data centers, with plans to extend them to customers’ data centers or colocation data centers.

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