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VMware Debuts Connector for Hybrid Clouds

VMware this week introduced software that ties internal vSphere virtual machines to service providers' cloud platforms, a move the company described as key to bridging public and private clouds based on its virtual machines.

The company's vCloud Connector, announced at last Fall's VMworld 2010 conference, will ship by the end of March. It is a free plugin to vSphere 4.0 that will let administrators deploy VMs running in the data center to a service provider running VMware's vCloud platform.

VMware announced its hybrid cloud progress at its annual VMware Partner Exchange conference, taking place this week in Orlando, FL.

In addition to moving VMs and their associated workloads from an on-site data center to a hosting provider, administrators can monitor them from VMware's vCenter. "It makes it very easy for organizations to use a vCloud-powered service, an external service provider service, as an extension of their own data center," said Mathew Lodge, VMware's senior director of product marketing.

"It enables vSphere administrators to monitor and manage virtual machines that are running in the cloud alongside virtual machines that are running in the vSphere infrastructure on premise. So you get that single pane of glass." The only thing administrators can't do is manage the hosting provider's own infrastructure resources, Lodge said.

Any VMware hosting provider can use the vCloud Connector; however there are two primary types of service providers: those that are certified providers and those who are just part of VMware's partner program but choose to customize their offerings. There are currently 3,600 partners in the VMware service provider program.

The former is the vCloud Datacenter Services program, targeted at enterprise customers requiring consistency among cloud providers using VMware's vCloud suite. Launched last Fall, service providers must be certified by VMware that their cloud infrastructures are architected by the company.

That is critical to those who want to move workloads from one service provider to another or to those who need to spread out their workloads among multiple providers, Lodge explained.

The first three providers, BlueLock, Colt, and Verizon are now certified and offering services, VMware said. Also announced last fall but still not yet certified are SingTel and Terremark, which agreed to be acquired by Verizon last month for $1.4 billion.

Also this week, VMware announced a new member of the program, CSC. Lodge said he is confident more partners will sign on to the vCloud Datacenter Services program over the coming months.

Still, Lodge said service provider partners outside of that program can run vCloud Connector with VMware's vCloud infrastructure including vCloud Director. The partner must implement the vCloud API, called Open Virtualization Format, or OFV, which allows for the uploading and downloading of data.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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