VMware is right to introduce a cloud computing service that competes with Amazon EC2. But wrong to focus on the aspect of buying these services with a credit card. We know of at least one company where the act of punching in a credit card number to buy servers is immediate grounds for dismissal.
vCloud Express, unveiled at VMworld in San Francisco this week, lets companies running VMware software hook up to a hosting provider running a public cloud also based on VMware, for additional compute resources on demand.
vCloud Express competes with Amazon.com’s EC2, now infamous for the speed at which users can buy and turn on servers, the low cost point for entry and the ability to use only what you need, when you need it. But chasing Amazon.com’s value proposition of “fast and cheap”, which is how VMware CEO Paul Maritz referred to vCloud Express in his keynote, is the wrong focus for enterprise IT.
Yes, IT managers want more agility and lower costs, but most of them won’t touch cloud services with a 10-foot pole, from VMware or anyone else, until they are sure of the security and reliability of these services. That’s where VMware should be putting its effort and focus, not on a simplistic web interface for entering credit card numbers.
The vCloud Express announcement left the 12,000-strong audience at the keynote cold. Finding anyone in corporate IT at the show that had tried or was using Amazon.com EC2 was tough. It’s still early days for this stuff, but most people said concern around security of their data and workloads in the cloud was an issue. One company we found that is using EC2, Pathwork Diagnostics, said the advantages were less about cost and more about increasing performance. This user said one of the downsides of EC2 was the lack of a job scheduler that works well in a dynamic IP environment.
VMware would be better served listening to these customers and their problems with managing infrastructure in the cloud, than chasing Amazon’s fast, cheap model, which is surely not where the big bucks in cloud computing is going to be anyway.