EMC to lean on VMware for public Cloud

VMware's Cloud products will be EMC's preferred sales option

In lieu of launching its own public cloud lineup, storage giant EMC has decided to resell the cloud products of its VMware subsidiary, Network World has learned.

Despite being one of the biggest enterprise IT companies, EMC has not been seen as a major player in the public Cloud market.

However, the company now plans to resell VMware's private, public and hybrid Cloud products in an effort to take on industry giants like Amazon Web Services (AWS). VMware's Cloud products will be EMC's preferred sales option, although EMC will continue to sell other service provider options as well.

VMware is a publicly traded company and a subsidiary of EMC since being acquired in 2003.

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VMware has made aggressive moves in the cloud computing market in the past year - most notably the fall launch of vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), which is its public cloud computing platform that is meant to compete with AWS. On the private Cloud side, VMware's vCloud Suite uses vSphere virtualization software (based on the ESX hypervisor) and the vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) as the basis for on-premises private clouds.

As part of this new arrangement between EMC and VMware details of which have been shared with employees but yet publicized -- VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) will be EMC's preferred partner for public Cloud. EMC is also expected to deliver a storage-as-a-service solution in vCHS, which would include backup, object, file, block, archive and database options. The move is meant to position EMC and VMware against AWS in an effort to counter the success Amazon has found in the public cloud market.

EMC and VMware declined to comment.

The move is significant for a number of reasons. First of all, it is one of the clearest articulations of EMC's public cloud plans. EMC has Atmos, which is its object-based cloud storage platform and Syncplicity, which is a file sharing service that competes with DropBox and Box. But for loyal EMC customers who are looking to explore a broader cloud strategy, they will soon have a recommended direction of how to pursue that using VMware technology.

The move also is a boost to VMware's recently launched public cloud plans, which are fighting to gain market traction against the likes of AWS, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, Verizon and others.

The move shouldn't come as a big surprise given the EMC-VMware relationship though. Beyond the reported 80% financial stake that EMC holds in VMware, the two companies partner on various other fronts, as described here on EMC's website. But, EMC and VMware have not thus far been strong public Cloud partners. On EMC's website listing its EMC Cloud Service Provider partners, VMware is listed as a "gold" partner, one notch below the highest-level platinum partner status held by CSC, Rackspace, AT&T and Verizon Terremark.

The companies have had a complementary sales relationship though, says Stuart Miniman, a cloud industry watcher and analyst at Wikibon. Customers buy infrastructure from EMC and software from VMware. But, he says EMC selling VMware's products is like a parent selling their child's Girl Scout cookies. "Of course EMC wants people to use VMware's cloud services," he says. EMC tries to keep sales in its family of businesses if possible, he says.

One issue with EMC backing VMware's public Cloud, he says, could be what it means for EMC's other partners, particularly those that offer Cloud products.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.