VMware is selling off its hybrid cloud product, vCloud Air, in a clear signal that the company realized it couldn’t compete in the public cloud space after years of effort. The deal to sell the business to French cloud hosting provider OVH was announced today. OVH said in a press release that it is “…one of the largest cloud service providers in the world with more than one million customers and 260,000 servers deployed.” OVH will re-brand the technology as “vCloud Air Powered by OVH.”
VMware had high hopes for vCloud Air when it was officially launched in August 2014. Originally christened “vCloud Hybrid Service,” it was aimed directly at the industry leader in public cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS). VMware envisioned scores of VMware admins using vCloud Air to move workloads back and forth between private, hybrid and public clouds, all within the familiar vSphere confines.
But vCloud Air never gained significant traction in the public realm, and lagged far behind AWS and Microsoft’s competitor, Azure. Today, AWS and Azure are still the clear No. 1 and No. 2 players in the field, and vCloud Air never threatened either. Google is now making a strong play in the public cloud space (led by former VMware CEO Diane Greene), and IBM and others are trying to stake their claim as well, but AWS and Azure remain well atop the leaderboard.
The writing on the wall for vCloud Air was seen by many at last year’s VMworld conference in Las Vegas, when VMware announced a new partnership with AWS to be a provider for its cloud platform. The new service, called “VMware Cloud Foundation,” integrates VMware’s compute, storage and network virtualization products, along with vCenter management, to optimize and run workloads on elastic, bare-metal, AWS infrastructure.
At the time of last year’s announcement, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said AWS “… will be VMware’s primary cloud infrastructure partner.”
The announcement of the sale of vCloud Air is an example of VMware’s new “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude when it comes to public cloud. “”We remain committed to delivering our broader Cross-Cloud Architecture that extends our hybrid cloud strategy, enabling customers to run, manage, connect, and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment,” Gelsinger said in the OVH press release.