The week in cloud: VMware fesses up; Amazon adds features; Newvem watches Amazon

VMware, at last, comes clean about its AWS killer
Remember last July when our own Om Malik and Stacey Higginbotham reported on VMware’s plan to take on Amazon with a cloud of its own?  Remember VMware denying it?  Well, last Wednesday it all became official with the announcement of VMware Hybrid Cloud services — in which VMware will host its own public cloud that will be sold by existing VMware partners.
Gartner’s Chris Wolf has an interesting take on his blog here.
Now, there is some wiggle room for VMware here. Our original story showed the big cloud coming out of the then-unannounced spin-off of VMware(s vmw) and EMC(s emc) That spinoff — the Pivotal Initiative — did happen, but it appears that it’s VMware, not Pivotal, that’s running the big cloud. Paul Maritz the former CEO of VMware and now the head of Pivotal, will be speaking this week at GigaOM’s Structure: Data in New York.

Amazon beefs up Virtual Private Cloud

It was an even more busy week than normal for Amazon itself which unveiled new Virtual Private Cloud capabilities for AWS users. Launched 4 years ago Amazon VPC lets users create “a virtual network of logically isolated EC2 instances and an optional VPN connection to your own data center,” according to the AWS blog. what’s new now is that soon, when a new customer launches EC2 instances, they will do so in the “EC2-VPC” platform.

“You don’t need to create a VPC beforehand – simply launch EC2 instances or provision Elastic Load Balancers, RDS databases, or ElastiCache clusters like you would in EC2-Classic and we’ll create a VPC for you at no extra charge.  We’ll launch your resources into that VPC and assign each EC2 instance a public IP address.”

At that point you can assign multiple IP addresses to a single instance, change security group membership on the fly, and add egress filters to those groups.
One of Amazon’s weak points when it comes to the enterprise accounts it wants to attract is the unwillingness of IT pros — especially in heavily regulated businesses — to put mission critical workloads on shared public cloud infrastructure. This new VPC capability might make them more amenable to using AWS at a time when more and more “private” cloud options — from competitors Rackspace(s rax), HP(s hpq), and others are coming on line. GCN has more on VPC.
awsconsoleAlso new his week: AWS tripled the amount of storage that can be associated with each RDB (Relational Database) instance.
“You can now create DB instances (MySQL or Oracle) with up to 3 TB of storage (the previous limit was 1 TB) and 30,000 IOPS (previously, 10,000). SQL Server DB Instances can be created with up to 1TB of storage and 10,000 IOPS.”
And, Amazon also launched a version of its mobile AWS console for iPhone so It types can see what’s going on with their Amazon cloud when they’re not at their desks. An Android version of the console debuted in January.
This public cloud war will only get more interesting if, as has been reported here and elsewhere, IBM is in the market for SoftLayer and/or Rackspace.  If IBM ends up making either of those rather substantial purchases — Reuters put a $2 billion price tag on SoftLayer and Rackspace would be much more — it would only show how critical IBM sees this market that it would spend that kind of dough after already investing billions in its own cloud infrastructure. Of course, no one — from IBM, from SoftLayer, from Rackspace or from EMC (which was also reportedly in the hunt for SoftLayer), is commenting.

Working with your Frenemy: Newvem debuts AWS heat map

Newvem is the energizer bunny of AWS watchers. Amazon keeps “totally copying” Newvem’s capabilities (in the words of Newvem CEO Zev Laderman) and Newvem just keeps on adding more capabilities.
Utilization Heatmap Main ViewNewvem, the Israeli company obsessed with showing you more about your Amazon Web Services use than you know, was at it again this week, unveiling its Cloud Utilization Heat map that shows AWS users their utilization over multiple regions by time, machine type and availability zone.

Newvem CEO Zev Laderman (left) and AWS CTO Werner Vogels.

Newvem CEO Zev Laderman (left) and AWS CTO Werner Vogels.

The sales pitch?A substantive portion (15 percent) of the clouds Newvem analyzes now are underutilized. That means “$30 million of $200 million EC2 spending tracked is wasted,” says Newvem spokesman Cameron Peron. Presumably if you know what resources are being wasted you can make moves to streamline operations and run things optimally. Sell off reserved instances you’re not using, for example.
Here’s my guess: Newvem has focused 100 percent on AWS to this point. But as Amazon keeps adding more of its own dashboard and monitoring alerts, I would bet Newvem, like other monitoring companies, will soon turn its eye to other clouds as well. After all, multi-cloud deployments are one tactic large companies are looking at to avoid locking into a single provider.
That Amazon competes with its own partners is certainly not new. It’s been going on for years as we’ve reported. The company, like Microsoft or IBM before it, treads a fine line between relying on smaller, nimbler partners to come up with innovative new services, and then adding more value-added services itself. Amazon launched a partner program last year to help navigate this terrain.