VMware vCloud Air Network: The next generation of the vCloud

August 21, 2014 by Pat O'Day

As you’ve likely heard, the VMware vCloud ecosystem has been reborn as the VMware® vCloud Air™ Network. This is much more than a re-branding effort, it represents the next era of VMware’s cloud strategy. The news and the program itself are very new so the full scope of the effort will become clearer as the finer details continue to roll out over the next two quarters.

The vCloud Air Network, which now includes vCHS and Bluelock, is a reboot of the original VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP program) that was brilliantly spearheaded by Neela Jacques back in 2007. It’s now under the care of Geoff Waters, Mathew Lodge and Bill Fathers who are leading VMware’s cloud strategy into its next and best chapter. VMware has been working really hard at this for a long time and it’s exciting to see the strategy come to life.

I’m most excited about the program’s potential to do these key things:

  • Leverage and lean into the best of what has been created and learned over the past 7 years
  • Shed or provide course correction for the confusing or dysfunctional elements
  • Incorporate modern messages, programs and technologies for hybrid cloud, as it will exist in 2015 and beyond

The real magic is in Air’s unique ability to pool the combined innovation and diversity of leading vCloud providers, as well as leverage their focus, reach and scale to benefit both new and existing VMware users.

  • Need a FedRAMP approved vCloud? Check.
  • Need a vCloud in Berlin? Check.
  • Need a vCloud for HIPAA? Check.
  • Need a SAP-certified vCloud provider? Check.
  • Need a vCloud with credit card sign up so you can provision resources immediately? Check.

…And so on and so forth.

The vCloud Air Network should also make the vCloud ecosystem more attractive to ISVs that want to enable cloud capability in their products, or create vCloud compatible services or virtual appliances. In the past ISVs weren’t sure which vCloud or version of VMware to develop toward. No one vCloud was big enough, and each vCloud was different enough that the return on investing precious development and marketing dollars wasn’t obvious.

Best of what VMware is keeping:
vCloud compatibility. This is a critical feature to enable hybrid cloud architecture. Applications, workloads and processes need to work and perform well on both sides of the hybrid cloud architecture (private & public) to be effective.

Best of what VMware is shedding:
What’s going away? Hopefully it will be much of the confusion that the current ecosystem has caused consumers, partners and providers in terms of which vCloud, when to vCloud and why to vCloud. The vCloud Air Network will provide a prescriptive approach that should address each of these areas with the best thinking to date.

The best of what VMware has modernized:
To ensure proper compatibility, vCloud Air Network members will be identified with competency badges. The core cloud hosting badges, IaaS Powered and Hybrid Cloud Powered designate whether a provider has vSphere and/or vCloud Director (multi-tenant) compatibility, respectively. Additional badges for Desktop as a Service, Recovery as a Service and maybe someday even more niche certifications like SAP or Oracle will help users determine which set of vClouds would be the best fit for their needs.

In the end, there is still a lot of work to do and the opportunity is tremendous both for the users, the partners and the providers to deliver the best vCloud experience yet. We are in the early days of course, and though cautiously optimistic, team Bluelock can feel the excitement building. I would say that excitement is palpable.

Bluelock’s participation in the vCloud Air Network:

Bluelock has been a VMware service provider since the inception of the VSPP and is delighted to be part of the Network launch as a Hybrid Cloud Powered service provider. Bluelock provides managed cloud solutions tailored towards small IT infrastructure teams in charge of high potential, high risk workloads that want to focus on strategic projects for their business without needing to deal with complex day-to-day management of infrastructure. Our tools and processes were developed specifically with this in mind and our people are trained and excel at providing insight and service at a level that drives results for IT leaders with a small infrastructure group.