VMware Blog Post Targets Open Source Cloud Platforms

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 18, 2012

Last year, Citrix Systems announced that it had completed the acquisition of Cloud.com. Cloud.com had many notable customers who favored its cloud stack infrastructure, including GoDaddy and Zynga. That acquisition has helped fuel Citrix's recent big move forward with CloudStack, its contribution of the Cloudstack platform as open source to Apache, and its choice to abandon the open source OpenStack cloud platform. Meanwhile, OpenStack and Eucalyptus are making clear that there are multiple viable open source cloud computing platforms available.

That last fact must not be lost on VMware, which has to be sensing that open source cloud computing platforms--which come complete with free virtualization tools--have the potential to eat its lunch. A new blog post seems to confirm that.

When Citrix announced its plans for CloudStack 3.0 in February of this year, we noted that it would start to compete heavily with proprietary players in the cloud, including both VMware and Amazon. And as GigaOM recently noted, the fact that CloudStack supports the Amazon API--along with Eucalyptus Systems' support for the Amazon API and long-term deal with Amazon--means that the API war is over. Does all of this cause worry at VMware, which is focused on many proprietary cloud computing tools?

In a new blog post from VMware that appears to focus squarely on the major open source cloud computing platforms, they are characterized as "the ugly sisters," compared to VMware as Cinderella, where customers are Prince Charming. We've heard this kind of talk before from VMware, as open source solutions have encroached on its proprietary ones. The post states:

"Last week, cloud watchers were treated to the spectacle of a dust-up between IaaS software camps jockeying to be the fairest cloud vendor of them all. Like a bad remake of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, it seemed like the ugly sisters had gotten the message from the magic mirror that they were not the fairest in the land, and had decided to brew some potions, wave a few wands and declare themselves most attractive cloud IaaS platform...Last week, while the ugly sisters were squabbling, customers were getting on with business and choosing their Cinderella as VMware quietly passed the 100 vCloud service provider mark. There are now more than 100 verified VMware vCloud public clouds, which is an order of magnitude greater than the ugly sisters’ combined total."

The VMware post maintains that VMware is building out the largest community of public clouds anywhere, and the post does cite some impressive numbers for the company's cloud computing business. Still, the real promise of the open source cloud platforms, apparently "the ugly sisters," is that they are flexible, allowing organizations to build out hybrid public and private cloud deployments with minimal vendor lock-out implied. 

VMware has lots of background in providing quality support, which we've noted is going to be a key differentiator as cloud computing platforms compete with each other.  Yes, businesses and organizations want flexible solutions for their deployments, but they will demand top-notch support.

Let's not forget, though, that Citrix has lots of experience providing support as well. Its GoTo products are used by millions of people and Citrix has supported them for years. GoToMeeting is a classic cloud computing application. Likewise, Rackspace, which is focused on the open source CloudStack platform, has dubbed its focus on support "Fanatical Support."

As VMware focuses on its competition with "the ugly sisters," it will be wise to stay focused on leveraging existing customers and experience supporting them. This is no time to write open source cloud computing platforms off, though.