VMware's hybrid cloud vision falls short in storage

VMware’s vision of the near future of IT revolves heavily around the hybrid cloud in which customers run both on-premise and off-premises cloud.

Listening to VMware execs at VMworld Europe this week the company’s efforts towards this are very much a key message and source of slogans such as “One cloud, one app, any device”.

It is perhaps so far, largely just talk, however, and one area that is certainly the case is in storage.

While VMware’s Virtual SAN (VSAN) has reached version 6.1 and now supports synchronous replication between site clusters, NVME and RAM storage there is little of the oft-talked of “seamlessness” between in-house VSAN deployments and the cloud.

But is it reasonable to expect such cross-platform functionality? Well, storage hardware vendors such as EMC and NetApp have for at least a year offered the cloud as a tier, also with much talk of hybrid cloud functionality.

EMC offers its EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution, while NetApp offers Cloud Ontap. Both come with partnerships with cloud providers and aim at data portability between on- and off-premise datacentres.

More recently, Avere launched its CloudFusion cloud NAS appliance. This works only in the cloud and tiers between classes of Amazon storage. It’s not too much of a stretch to see how in-house and cloud versions of such software could work together.

These types of thing illustrate what might be possible when it comes to seamless (or nearly so) working in hybrid cloud storage.

It shouldn’t be too long before VMware comes up with a take of its own, but storage manager Gaetan Castelein said there is nothing in the VMware portfolio of that nature at present and was tight-lipped about plans.

He said: “We don’t have an explicit product that can be deployed in the cloud that can tier storage. You can have a connection point between VSAN and vCloudAir to allow replication and providers can offer block and object storage but the customer has no visibility into what that underlying storage is.”