UPDATED 04:40 EDT / JUNE 02 2014

AWS launches stealth bomb on VMware

small__5678899604Amazon has just teleported its cloud into VMware’s management software with the release of its new “AWS Connector for vCenter”. The connector lets VMware administrators buy, manage, and migrate VMs into AWS cloud resources from within VMware’s vCenter management console. vCenter is a widely used piece of software from VMware that lets admins manage large numbers of virtual machines, typically within enterprise data centers.

It might sound like a pretty boring announcement on the surface, but it actually conceals an incredibly sneaky attack on VMware’s business:

“If you are already using VMware vCenter to manage your virtualized environment, you will be comfortable in this new environment right away, even if you are new to AWS, starting with the integrated sign-on process, which is integrated with your existing Active Director,” said AWS in a statement.

“The look-and-feel and the workflow that you use to create new AWS resources will be familiar, and you will be launching EC2 instances before too long. You can even import your existing ‘golden’ VMware images to EC2 through the portal (this feature makes use of VM Import).”

That seemingly innocent statement from AWS will probably be met with fury at VMware. After all, VMware recently launched its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) which delivers more or less the same functionality, only with the company’s own private cloud – the idea being that its customers would use its cloud and not Amazon’s or anyone else’s. But unfortunately for VMware, that’s one of the perils of using an open platform – integrations such as this are pretty easy to do, and now AWS has done it.

AWS’s connector offers another perk too – service providers who sell Vmware-based devices can now offering their own customers “self-service access to AWS” via the portal. In other words, Amazon has found a way to smuggle its own offerings into a market that VMware thought it had exclusive dibs on.

By providing a way for developers to access AWS resources from within VMware’s popular management software, Amazon has scored a massive victory – VMware is effectively now helping its rival to sell its products. Even worse for VMware, the “VM import” function makes it super easy for administrators to migrate apps into AWS’s cloud.

The AWS Connector for vCenter is free and available now. It offers enterprise features like Role-Based Access Controls, governance, automatic tagging of created resources so admins can keep an eye on how much they’re spending on AWS.

Amazon isn’t the only one who’s done this. Microsoft recently pulled a similar trick when it embedded its Azure cloud into on-premise software like Visual Studio and Systems Center. However, Amazon is being much sneakier, leeching off of the existing infrastructure built by one of its main rivals. It’ll be interesting to see how VMware responds.

photo credit: CHUCKage via photopin cc

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