VMware, in all its permutations, is still a force in the cloud

RightScale has been managing public cloud resources for companies since 2006, and thousands of users later, it appears to have a pretty good sense of what’s happening in the cloud space. Recently, the company released its State of the Cloud report, including a survey of more than 1,000 companies about the clouds they’re using and plan to use. Kim Weins, RightScale’s vice president of marketing, came on the Structure Show this week to talk about the results.
Here are the highlights of that interview, but you’ll want to hear the whole thing for all of Weins’s thoughts on which cloud platforms are most popular (as well as for my and Barb Darrow’s takes on the week in cloud and big data news). And if you’re really into learning about the future of cloud computing — the business models and the architectures — make plans to attend our Structure conference June 18 and 19 in San Francisco,. It features a who’s who list of cloud executives, architects and users from companies such as Google(s goog), Amazon(s amzn) Web Services, Airbnb and more.
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VMware: Lots of products, lots of lock-in and lots of interest

Of course, most respondents of the RightScale survey were using Amazon Web Services. However, Weins explained:

“If you look within the enterprise segment … we saw that the vCloud Hybrid Service from VMware came in No. 2. That surprised us a little bit and we were a little bit suspicious of that for two reasons. One is, it’s a pretty new service … . And the second is that people get often very confused about the different VMware products and which ones they’re using. We call it ‘vSoup.’ They’re not sure. You put ‘v’ in front of something, and if they’re using anything VMware they say ‘yes.’”

When RightScale did some follow-up calls to determine whether respondents actually were using vCloud Hybrid Services, it found that more than half were experimenting with it, some others thought they were using it, and some others were just confused about which VMware products they were actually using.

And as RightScale moves more into managing private cloud environments, as well, Weins said it’s seeing a lot of interest from customers that want to turn their vSphere servers into a cloud. So, RightScale has developed a lightweight appliance that helps “cloudify” vSphere so it can be managed as part of the RightScale service.

However, she added, as much interest as their is from VMware shops who want to bring that trusted environment with them into the cloud, there’s also a concern:

“What we’re actually seeing more of there is people who are concerned as they move to cloud, they don’t want to be in the all-VMware, all-the-time-forever camp. They want to preserve their options. They want to know that they’re not locked into always using everything VMware, whether it’s the hypervisor or other services, because they know that that’s a costly option. So I think that people are being very cautious about how they dip their toes in the water there.”

State of the Cloud Private Cloud Usage_0

OpenStack: Yes, it might matter

“Definitely a a lot of interest. Definitely a lot of interest,” Weins said of OpenStack. “In the private cloud world, they’re No. 2 really in adoption so far in terms of people running applications, but they have the most in terms of people experimenting or planning to use it.”
No. 1? VMware. If RightScale’s data is indicative of the IT world at large, that puts a lot of pressure on the OpenStack community to gets its act together.
“I think the one question mark is will people overcome the learning curve next year associated with OpenStack and the complexities of implementing it,” Weins said. “… I think the jury is still out whether a lot of those experimenters are going to take the leap in the next year or two, or if it’s going to take longer.”

What of Google, Microsoft and the telcos?

In the RightScale survey, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform — the platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service options — both had more people interested in using them than actually using. But that interest level is very high for both.
“It was very interesting to see the interest in the PaaS options, both from Google as well as from Azure,” Weins said. “… Now the difference between those two players is that within the larger companies Azure was stronger in terms of mindshare, and within the small and medium-sized companies, Google was stronger in terms of the mindshare.”
As for telcos like Verizon(s vz), AT&T(s t) and CenturyLink(s ctl), which have invested heavily in their cloud services and are often suggested as natural fits to dominate enterprise cloud workloads, well … Weins said RightScale occasionally comes across telco users interested in using its management service. In the survey, “a handful of people” mentioned those providers in the “Other” category.