Last week at VMworld 2015, VMware revealed a new set of hybrid cloud capabilities for vSphere through a technology preview, Project Skyscraper. VMware claims Project Skyscraper will enable customers to seamlessly (or rather, more seamlessly than before) extend their data center to the public cloud or extend the public cloud to their data center. The plan is for Project Skyscraper to be a seamless extension across boundaries with enterprise-level security and business continuity customers need.

What do I see? I believe Project Skyscraper is yet another attempt to make it easy to capture enterprise workload and migrate it to the VMware-owned public cloud. Given that this workload is packaged as VMware virtual machines the result is only one: 100% lock-in to VMware. Now of course, that’s what VMware wants, but what about cloud service providers? We see many service providers and telecom operators wanting to launch cloud services to offer virtual servers based on KVM, Hyper-V, Virtuozzo and VMware as well (although many recently have wanted to migrate workloads away from VMware). I can only assess that the reason for this is that VMware has abandoned the service provider. Its entire focus at VMworld appears to be on hybrid cloud management enablement for enterprises and IT operations (where the public side of “hybrid” is their public cloud). vRealize, formerly vCloud Automation Center seems to be evolving mostly to support this hybrid model and prepare the grounds for this migration.

If that didn’t quickly get you on edge, here are a few more reasons why service providers need to move away from VMware.

  1. VMware seems to be still focused primarily on infrastructure. Despite its long-awaited cloud-native division came up with some exciting stuff, most of the VMworld 2015 didn’t contain mentions of application-aware intelligence or tools. As cloud management moves up the stack, away from infrastructure and into application specific problems, there seems to be a lack of a clear strategy around application management from VMware.
  1. VMware’s main strategy is to transfer VMs from on-premise vSphere to vCloud Air. The strategy only looks to preserve existing business, not create new business. They’re shifting from a technology vendor company into a services company. For service providers relying on their technology, that’s a problem. A defensive approach, is the wrong approach.
  1. The spotlight of this VMworld has still been for VMs and legacy workload that benefit from being managed from outside the OS. Legacy workload is here to stay longer than one could ever imagine, but it’s not definitely going to be a growing market. Their cloud-native division seems to be a bit sidelined when it should be much more at the center of the attention.

VMware is no longer a safe bet for service providers and hasn’t been since 2013 when it ended availability for vCloud Director (vCD). It is protecting its business by supporting a hybrid approach to the cloud and leaving service providers behind.

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