VMware comes late to the covert cloud party

Does covert IT simplify things or make life harder for tech bods? Steve Cassidy takes a look.

I may get into trouble for this, but I think I have a different set of conclusions from my esteemed colleague when it comes to the presentations by VMware and its impressive selection of customers at the VMworld Forum last week.

Caroline was bullish about the impact of covert clouds in her piece, making it sound like businesses were getting massive advantage when their smart staff took the option of grabbing some on-demand cloud resources to get work done that otherwise, they'd have to wait for the poor old plodding internal IT people to sort out for them. Let me say first, I can understand why VMware might want to do a bit of talking about this, since it is the last remaining big player who doesn't have a service in the kind of cloud layer that covert IT sits in most often. Everyone talks incessantly at this level about Google (in regard to Google Apps and GMail, not the basic search service), and Amazon EC2 (positing the existence of workers who a) need a whole server spun up and b) know how to get what they want from it once it's running), and with increasing frequency about Microsoft Azure (it says the rate of adoption is climbing at a ratio of 2:1 versus EC2, though I'm waiting until I get a face-to-face chat with them to get some backup for that bold assertion). All of these platforms blur the distinction between free and paid-for cloud IT. Furthermore, they supplant or sidestep the internal IT landscape, mostly by appearing to be more friendly or immediate. Ultimately, they are all presenting these resources so people get stuck in a way of working which begins to be expensive as it scales up. 

VMware is a long way from this type of situation. There is no directly accessible, micro-charged VMware-branded public on-demand cloud data centre, as there is with Azure and EC2/AWS. What VMware is selling is the toolkit from which such things are made. It is closer, if anything, to relative market minnow Citrix, whose add-on tools for making self-service IT "app stores" are well advanced in terms of both technical maturity and market comprehension. In other words, if you have decided to use the Citrix/Xen stack as your hypervisor environment, then it's not going to be that great a leap for you to start doing things with the other stack of web services and application resource directories that feed Citrix Receiver, its tablet abd phone internal app store app. 

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