Microsoft and VMware can't call a truce in the virtualization and cloud wars. There's too much money at stake. The rivalry is only expected to heat up as both companies set their sights on the still-growing public cloud services market.
On Tuesday VMware announced details of its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) product called vCloud Hybrid Service, which will be an alternative to Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and Google Compute Engine.
As InformationWeek's Charles Babcock wrote, "VMware will establish four data centers in the U.S. in which it will host a cloud environment that's highly compatible to the one that its customers use in the VMware-virtualized portion of their on-premises data centers." (See that full VMware storyhere.)
"We believe the hybrid cloud should allow you to seamlessly extend your data center to the public cloud leveraging the same infrastructure, same network, same management and skills," wrote Mathew Lodge, VP of cloud services at VMware in an earlier blog entry.
Microsoft isn't sitting by idly. The day after VMware first announced its hybrid cloud service, Amy Barzdukas, Microsoft Server and tools marketing general manager posted a response: "Just another example of how IT vendors have been rearranging the furnitureto more effectively deliver what they already have on the shelf."
Expect to see Microsoft lob more grenades into the front lines, namely updates to Windows Azure and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) product announcements in the weeks and months ahead.
But the battle lines around vCloud Hybrid Service are just being drawn. There are considerations such as cost, usability, public and private cloud management -- and what if you're a large company that sees virtualization as the key to a flexible, programmable, software-defined data center? Right now, VMware has the advantage there.
Craig-Hallum analyst Rajesh Ghai says cloud virtualization markets have big growth potential. "With nearly 70% of data center workloads already virtualized, the next big growth area is in cloud management and deployment," Ghai said.
Dig into our slideshow to explore the areas in which VMware and Microsoft are duking it out, and who holds the advantage at the moment. Then share your perspective in the comments section.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons Daniel Schwen