Thursday, 09 April 2015 13:55

VMware vCloud Air goes live in Australia

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VMware's vCloud Air PaaS has moved into general availability in Australia.

"It's on, its available," said VMware ANZ vice president and managing director Duncan Bennet (pictured). "Our customers have been asking for this for a long time."

The main selling point of vCloud Air is that existing vSphere-based workloads can be moved to the PaaS without modification. Furthermore, vCloud Air effectively becomes part of the customer's infrastructure, so existing security and identity arrangements remain in play when workloads move to the cloud.

This works in both directions, said McLean, so new-generation cloud-first applications can easily be moved on premises if desired.

In a pre-recorded video message, VMware executive vice president and general manager of cloud services Bill Fathers said vCloud Air is "the safest, easiest, quickest path" for moving applications into the cloud.

"There's a lot of interest from multinationals," said vCloud Air ANZ director Dan McLean, including some large retailers that have developed POS applications that they are planning to deploy on vCloud Air in Australia.

The best location for a particular application may change either way over time, said Bennet. He expects to see some customers putting most workloads into the cloud, and others mostly using on-premises infrastructure. "We're really not making that choice for them," he said.

VMware's vCloud Air service is compatible with Hybrid Cloud Powered Services provided by members of the VMware vCloud Air Network of service providers.

VMware is eating its own dogfood: its Airwatch business is offering mobile device management as a service, hosted on vCloud Air.

When vCloud Air was announced locally last November the company predicted it would be available during the first half of 2015, a timeframe that has been comfortably achieved.

Asked why the rollout has taken so long, Bennet pointed out that the service has been deployed in the US, UK, Germany, Japan and now Australia. Some larger markets were prioritised over Australia, but "we think it's a pretty quick rollout."

McLean chimed in "I don't think any other cloud has been rolled out so quickly."

vCloud Air is initially being hosted at a Telstra data centre in Melbourne, and Telstra is one of VMware's sales partners for the service. But this relationship is non-exclusive, said McLean, adding that other locations will be added according to market demand.

Other sales partners include managed service providers such as Datacom, Data#3 and Deloitte, and the broader community of VMware partners and resellers. "We've trained in excess of 1,000 people locally," he said.

Datacom director of cloud and enterprise tools Rob Purdy said "Datacom is extremely excited to offer and integrate hybrid solutions for vCloud Air as a VMware-certified data centre provider.

"We see this as a natural step forward for our long-time relationship with VMware, one which makes the leap to hybrid cloud simpler and easier than ever before for our customers."

vCloud Air can be purchased in three ways.

Subscriptions provide predictable cost for running steady-state workloads with known resource requirements, explained McLean.

On-demand pricing is based on consumption. This allows the use of virtually unlimited resources, which suits elastic workloads.

The third option - the Subscription Purchasing Program - allows customers to pay for credits upfront, which can then be applied to subscription and on-demand usage. This is intended to appeal to customers that need to decouple budgeting and use, McLean said.

The price paid by customers will be determined by the reseller, he explained, with the exception of On-demand use purchased online directly from VMware and paid by credit card.

Since the local implementation is hosted at Telstra's data centre, customers that use Telstra's NextIP service will enjoy high-performance connectivity at low and possibly zero additional cost, said McLean, as the traffic will be considered local to the customer.

In the enterprise market "the vast majority of customers are connected to Telstra," he added.

vCloud Air can also be accessed via point-to-point network connections, or over the public internet.

Telstra global products and solutions director of cloud services Michael Riad said "With the VMware vCloud Air Australian region deployed in Telstra’s data centres and integrated into Telstra's Next IP network, customers have the benefit of secure high-speed connectivity for their hybrid computing environments.

"Telstra is providing customers with the flexibility to select the right cloud infrastructure solution and the ability to secure and control high-performance delivery of workloads end-to-end."

As in other countries, certain Google-related services are available on vCloud Air in Australia. These include network interconnectivity (secure, private connections between vCloud Air and Google), single sign on across the two services, and the inclusion of Google's charges on the vCloud Air bill.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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