After announcing a deal to integrate with Amazon Web Services (AWS) seven months ago, VMware has entered into a second deal with Microsoft, AWS’ largest cloud rival.
The partnership, announced Tuesday, would allow VMware’s Horizon Cloud Desktop as-a-Service (DaaS), infrastructure to be delivered on Azure public cloud. The capability will be called “VMware Horizon Cloud for Microsoft Azure.”
In a press release, VMware announced the deal. Robert Young, IDC’s director of cloud services, stated that the addition of a major cloud platform like Microsoft Azure could accelerate VMware Horizon’s adoption by customers looking for a new way to manage and deliver Windows 10 desktops.
Many in the industry were surprised by this move, given last October’s announcement about “VMware Cloud On AWS”, which uses VMware’s plumbing technology — such as software defined networking via NSX or software-defined storage via VSAN – to support a hybrid cloud environment.
Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, stated that AWS would be VMware’s primary public cloud infrastructure partner and that VMware would be AWS’ primary private cloud partner. Jassy did not discuss DaaS or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), nor endpoint management. It appears that VMware has decided that it is going to significantly expand its cloud partnerships to include No. Microsoft’s No. 2 public cloud provider.
It makes sense as a strategy. Azure is growing rapidly and adding customers at an accelerated rate. AWS is still the leader, but Azure is catching up, especially in enterprise. According to a recent survey by Sumo Logic, Azure has taken the lead in the enterprise space, while others have found Azure to be ahead of AWS — to the point of widening its lead — in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) segment of the market.
The Azure deal is another confirmation of VMware’s rethinking public cloud. AWS and Azure were at one time the main competition for VMware’s attempt to create its own public cloud platform. This was originally called vCloud Hybrid Services. It was eventually renamed to vCloud Air.
vCloud Air, which was launched in August 2014, was designed to help VMware customers move to the public cloud without leaving its infrastructure. vCloud Air failed to take off and remained a hybrid cloud and on-premises solution. VMware sold vCloud Air to OVH, a European hosting provider, last month due to this failure.
VMware stated that VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure will be available in the second quarter of 2017. Although pricing details were not provided, Horizon Cloud currently costs $16 per month.