VMware today announced vCloud Express, a new class of service that will deliver on-demand, pay-as-you-go computing power as a service, much like Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Built on VMware vSphere, vCloud Express enables to quickly start using enterprise quality computing platforms based on vSphere. As the vCloud environments are based on vSphere, it is easy to import and export workloads between the internal IT environment and external cloud providers.
VMware vCloud Express will be available through many service providers. Several of them are launching beta releases of these services today. Among those are Terremark, Hosting.com They can be found through the VMware Website.
So far, this field has been dominated by Amazon. The vCloud Express solution will probably kickstart some serious competition, both on price and service levels. Several “big names” announced support for vCloud and vCloud Express today. Since debuting the vCloud initiative at VMworld 2008 last year, more than 1000 service providers have signed up. Today the spotlight is on a few of the bigger “enterprise” cloud providers, that are collaborating closely with VMware on the vCloud API.
VMware submitted the vCloud API to DMTF to get it certified as an open standard, to ensure customers can “get their data out of the cloud” if needed, and to allow interoperability between different clouds.
Enterprise infrastructure providers
Several large infrastructure providers announced their own vSphere based cloud offerings. AT&T, Verizon Business, SAVVIS and Terremark all announced similar offerings.
Several software providers already support the vCloud API to automatically provision virtual appliances to vCloud-compatible service providers. This greatly facilitates software distribution. Several of these VM build services like CohesiveFT and rPath have announced support for vCloud.
More open source competition coming up
While VMware only spoke about Amazon EC2, another interesting development is the Xen Cloud Platform, an initiative of the Xen Project to enable completely open source cloud infrastructures. XCP was announced yesterday. The Xen project will build upon the work done by projects like the Eucalyptus Project and OpenNebula to create what basically is an open source equivalent of the vSphere / vCloud stack.
Citrix, a major contributor to the Xen Project and a major competitor of VMware, is expected to announce a commercial XCP offering soon.