VMware is working with datacentre hosting companies to enable them to offer its virtualisation products as a hosted service to IT departments.
The strategy aims to make it easier for businesses to buy computing capacity on demand by linking internal IT resources to a third-party datacentre running VMware.
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The virtualisation company's vCloud initiative is supported by more than 100 partners including BT, Rackspace, Sungard and T-Systems.
VMware said vCloud is aimed at making it easier for companies of all sizes to tap into extra capacity from an external datacentre provider when required for disaster recovery, peak loads or to meet service level agreements.
Paul Maritz, VMware chief executive officer and president, said that initiative will help businesses overcome hurdles such as disruptive infrastructure and application changes.
Any application currently running on a VMware infrastructure can run in a VMware-based cloud without modification, VMware said.
VMware announced the move alongside its vCloud and vClient intitiatives at VMworld in Las Vegas.
They represent VMware's strategy for the next few years to help maintain its position in the virtualisation market in the face of increasing competition.