VMware on track for Canadian launch with AWS in first quarter 2019

VMware Canada country manager Sean Forkan

VMware Canada country manager Sean Forkan

LAS VEGAS — Speaking during a VMworld 2019 keynote here, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger CEO said the company’s pledge to make its partnership with AWS a global affair had been delivered on. At the event, which marks the one-year anniversary of the partnership between the two going live, the companies announced VMware’s cloud stack was available on AWS in Australia, which joins existing spin-ups in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. 

And Gelsinger also revealed the next destinations, with Tokyo, Ireland, Northern California, Ohio, and the U.S. Federal-oriented GovCloud spinning up by the end of the year. After that, Q1 of 2019 will see VMware cloud on AWS go live in Paris, Singapore, Mumbai, and finally, Canada.

VMware Canada executives said the timing was good for the launch in Canada — giving them nearly half a year to build out their plan for Canada, and coming at a time when the cloud discussion in this country is gaining more momentum and starting to close the acceptance gap with what that which cloud services have enjoyed in the U.S. for the last few years.

“We’ve seen lots of customer interest, but nowhere near the adoption as the U.S.,” said Sean Forkan, country manager for VMware Canada. “The U.S. has been spending the last six months figuring out the right use cases, and now we get six months to learn from them and ramp up for that. We’ll start working on the plan next week in terms of getting ready for launch and developing initial work cases.”

Peter Near, director of solution engineering for VMware Canada

Peter Near, director of solution engineering for VMware Canada

Peter Near, director of solution engineering for VMware Canada, said the company has been “investing ahead of” the AWS launch in terms of helping partners get ready for the right competencies, and building out the vendor’s own technical team to help partners get up and running with their own cloud businesses. 

The timing, said Near, is right for a launch in Canada.

“Canadian organizations are looking at hybrid cloud as one of several options, and I’m looking for additional partners to join us on the journey,” Near said. “Customers in Canada weren’t early adopter of some of the things we were doing over the last few years, but with hybrid cloud in particular, the ability to take what you do and move it anywhere has become top of mind. And the good news is that we’re mature in that.”

While it also touts its work with rivals Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, the AWS partnership has been particularly strategic to VMware. At this year’s VMworld, AWS CEO Andy Jassy was the only non-VMware keynoter to join Gelsinger on stage.

He was there to trumpet the success of the partnership to date, and also to announce new features, including the upcoming launch of Amazon’s Relational Database Service on on-premise VMware infrastructure. 

“RDS is important because it shows [the AWS partnership is] about moving services to the cloud, but also about taking services from the cloud and bringing them on-premise,” Gelsinger said.

The new service is slated to be available to VMware customers in “a few months.”

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

In a post keynote press conference with press and analysts, Gelsinger said the company’s success with AWS had largely been at the enterprise level, particularly because from launch, it had a four-node minimum, which meant customers had to be running “hundreds of VMs” for it to make sense.

“It’s a pretty hefty entry point,” Gelsinger admitted.

The business has “really picked up over the last quarter” due to new functionality being added, and with more midmarket reach, as it halved the minimum commitment to two nodes. At VMware, it announced it was halving the requirement again, bringing it down to a minimum of just one node, and also offering a “three for the price of two” bundle for customers who need more than one node. 

“We’ll start reaching downmarket further, and we’ll start dong more bundling of capabilities with hardware,” Gelsinger said of the road forward.