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A pilot programme will make its debut in the UK in November 2013, said VMware, with full availability expected mid-Q1. The first location has been revealed as Slough, and VMware will move to replicate the model on the Continent in the very near future.
Taking questions during a press conference at VMworld Barcelona, Bill Fathers, SVP and GM of the Hybrid Cloud Services business unit, defended VMware against suggestions that setting itself up as a service provider could point the way to future channel conflict.
The sheer size of VMware’s installed base, Fathers said, meant there would be plenty of cake to go around – although he conceded that announcing a potentially competitive service had caused a few awkward conversations for him.
“In one way, sure, this can be seen as a competitive offering, but it is a vast market,” said Fathers. “Partners can continue to differentiate themselves above and around the stack.”
Speaking to MicroScope, Colt director of distribution Gary Moore said he saw the European debut of vCHS positively, saying it would “pique customer interest” in hybrid cloud and said most resellers would have significant differentiators in their back pocket to pull out at the critical moment.
Like Fathers, Moore dismissed the idea that VMware would set out to compete with partners through vCHS, suggesting the firm is currently more preoccupied with getting one over on Amazon Web Services (AWS) than waging war on its partner community.
VMware UK and Ireland channel boss Ed Dolman said the launch would help partners initiate conversations that they had shied away from out of fear of losing control of customers taking their private cloud infrastructures into hybrid or fully-public clouds.
“What we’re now offering them is to say you can continue that conversation – around how to leverage cloud; how to take advantage of the cloud economics that are coming along – to give the customer significant additional capacity in their business and allow them to become more agile and address competitive opportunities, but base it on the same technology they’re used to today,” he said.
“The trusted partner, taking the customer on this journey, will be the same one for hybrid cloud, as it was for what they already did. I think that’s a powerful message for both partner and customer, and we are building out a full two tier model to deliver it,” Dolman continued.
With full availability expected in Q1, Dolman added: “We will announce nearer the time what it will look like from a channel margin structure, we will announce a full programme around vCloud Hybrid Service and this will be an extension to what we have already got.”
Similarly, pricing details are still to be thrashed out, VMware said, although if the situation in the US is replicated, it looks likely that vCHS will be competitively priced against the likes of AWS or Rackspace.