The week in cloud: VMware cloud saga continues; Amazon kicks up monitoring wars

We’ve heard it before and we heard it again last week: VMware(s vmw) plans to take on Amazon(s amzn) Web Services. GigaOM reported it last July, breaking news of a planned spin off tasked with this job.  Part of that spin-off would revolve around Project Rubicon, a public Infrastructure as a Platform play. CRN followed up in August with its report on Project Zephyr which it described as a challenge to Amazon’s public cloud. This week CRN again reported on VMware’s AWS killer. The previous week, VMware CEO heated up all the chit-chat when he implored VMware partners to back the company in its holy war against Amazon.
One can only hope that Gelsinger, EMC CEO Joe Tucci and EMC chief strategist Paul Maritz will put some clarity around all this Wednesday when they talk to institutional investors. This event has been billed as an update on the Pivotal Initiative, the aforementioned spin-off which was finally announced in December.
Meanwhile, as talk of VMware’s proposed AWS killer circulated, Forrester analyst James Staten had his own interesting take on how VMware should attack its public cloud problem and it doesn’t hew to VMware’s vSphere-and-vCloud Director blueprint. That’s a non-starter in this new world of mobile and net-new applications, he wrote:

“What you should be doing is admitting you screwed up with vCloud Director 1.0 and 1.5 and kicking ass in engineering to get a true cloud to market ASAP.Your real threat? CloudStack and OpenStack atop Xen or KVM sold to a new cloud administrator inside the enterprise who starts with the service elements of a cloud the DevOps crowd values and worries less about the underlying abstraction layers and infrastructure. This is your real threat.”

GigaOM Pro analyst Jo Maitland took those thoughts a step further. “VMware should buy Eucalyptus for customers that want an internal cloud that is compatible with AWS and build an OpenStack alternative to AWS just like everyone else. vSphere and vCloud Director do not a cloud make.”

AWS partners shouldn’t be shocked, shocked!

awslogojpegSome providers of AWS monitoring services expressed outrage last week after Amazon offered a free trial of its own Trusted Advisor service. The issue is that Trusted Advisor offers configuration advice and other perks that compete with some of what Newvem, Cloudyn, Cloudability and other third parties offer.
Here’s the thing: Trusted Advisor has been around for a while — GigaOM reported on it last June. As Ed Byrne, CEO of CloudVertical, another monitoring provider who seemed less perturbed by the move, put it: “It’s been in beta for probably six months — everyone in the industry knew it would exit beta and become part of the basic offering, It’s a little rich to cry wolf now.”
Indeed. Any third party who thinks that AWS won’t keep building more services and capabilities is nuts. It’s like Amazon started out constructing a big, airy room with lots of space and gaps to be filled by third parties but then starts sucking all the air out of that room as it adds more of its own stuff.
Byrne summed it up: “If we have to make our business hoping AWS won’t do obvious value-adds for their customers, we are dead in the water. Of the $1.7 trillion per year spent on IT infrastructure, probably $3 billion is on AWS. There’s a whole lot of people trying to understand cloud economics for their own organization, for a migration, for a private or hybrid strategy [there’s] plenty of scope for providers like ourselves and the others.”