The final part of the conundrum is why AWS would want to get into bed with VMware. What does AWS have to gain from promoting software that can be used to create private clouds?
"AWS has worked hard to get beyond its history of being popular with developers and startups and to build solutions for enterprises," says Finlay. "So I think this is incremental: AWS has enterprise solutions, and this is just one more way for enterprises to use its platform. Its concern must be that if it doesn't offer something like this then it will be harder for enterprises with a large investment in VMware software to use AWS."
Andy Jassy, AWS' CEO, echoes the last part of Finlay's statement. "Our customers continue to ask us to make it easier for them to run their existing data center investments alongside AWS," he said at the time of the partnership announcement. "Most enterprises are already virtualized using VMware, and now with VMware Cloud on AWS, for the first time, it will be easy for customers to operate a consistent and seamless hybrid IT environment using their existing VMware tools on AWS."
In other words, even though large enterprises like using VMware infrastructure, they evidently also like the sorts of public clouds that only specialists such as AWS can offer.
That begs an awkward question: Is there any point in VMware owning and operating vCloud Air if customers can now get far more from AWS? Lohmeyer thinks so. "We continue to invest and target specific use cases for vCloud Air like disaster recovery. We are still finding compelling use cases for vCloud Air."
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