VMware, channel, see big benefits in VMware Cloud on AWS Canadian availability

VMware thinks that their now being available on the AWS cloud in Canada will make it much easier for customers to migrate some applications which have been problematic move candidates to date.

The panel from L to R: Tara Fine; Sean Forkan; Eric Gales; Peter Near; Stewart Beak

TORONTO — Today, VMware and AWS announced that VMware Cloud on AWS is now available in the AWS Canada (Central) region, a development that both companies think will have major implications in the Canadian market.

“We are announcing that the VMware Cloud on AWS in Canada is now available,” said Sean Forkan, country manager for VMware Canada, at a media briefing held at the AWS Toronto offices. “I’ve been in this business for a long time, and the trick has always been figuring out what workload belongs where to be most effective. That continues to be the challenge today. These partnerships with AWS and Scalar make sure that customers will be able to pick the right workloads. As a result, customers are exited for this to come to Canada. We also think this is a material business opportunity for VMware proper, because we are participating in where the customer spend is going.”

“This is a jointly engineered solution by AWS and VMware that lets customers leverage their skills and solutions in VMware, and leverage it in the AWS cloud,” said Eric Gales, Director, Amazon Web Services Canada. “Every customer today wants to get more agility, and their environments are constrained by what they own and operate. The benefit of the VMware Cloud on AWS is the ability of customers to extend their VMware tools to the cloud. There is no retraining acquired to extend the software-defined data centre to AWS. This opportunity is substantial in Canada, because there is a huge VMware install base here.”

“Canada was late to the cloud,” said Peter Near, National Director, Solution Engineering at VMware Canada. “A lot of it had to do with regulations like the Patriot Act. When Canadian customers showed an interest in the cloud after 2011, they discovered that these regulations put a stop to their cloud-first strategy. In Canada, VMware held off because we didn’t have providers in the cloud we could leverage. In 2016, the big providers established data centres in Canada, and that sparked a surge in the cloud. Still, the majority of workloads running in Canadian data centres have not been easy to move to the cloud. This has been a block to innovation. Being available on AWS in Canada is an easy button to migrate key applications to the cloud and take advantage of innovative services from AWS.”

Near said that Canadian customers today actually benefit from the late start, because they get to benefit from lessons learned in the U.S.

“I think of this as more than catchup,” he stated. “It’s a leap frog year. We now have access to tools our global competition did not have, and we think that this will allow Canadian organizations to shine on the world stage.”

VMware Cloud on AWS has been available in the U.S. since 2017, even before AWS established a zone in Canada. So it has taken a while to make its way north.

“It’s been an issue of capacity,” Forkan said. “We started with the biggest addressable market, which was the U.S., with a very predictable plan to add resources as they became available. Future zone availability has been announced, and will continue to be announced over time.  Eric and I have had joint customers where the issue of data sovereignty wasn’t a big deal, and they have been using US zones. This has been the case in the private sector, and also, Interestingly, in the public sector. But there has been a lot of confusion over data sovereignty issues and this takes that right off the table.”

Customers who don’t care about data sovereignty may still opt for U.S regions, if they are closer to them than the AWS Canada data centre in Montreal.

“Western Canadian customers who don’t have data sovereignty requirements may use a region closer to them, which would be the U.S. West,” Gales said.

VMware will provide the customer support.

“VMware Cloud on AWS is a VMware managed service, while a separate AWS account gives the customer access to the AWS services,” Near noted. “They are both in the same availability zone.”

The third company at the formal launch announcement was Scalar Decisions, a joint channel partner of VMware and AWS.

“We are really excited about the opportunity here for our partner community, which is why it is being launched with our key strategic partner Scalar,” said Tara Fine, VMware Canada’s channel chief.

Fine indicated that VMware will be focusing on their most skilled and experienced partners around cloud with this offering.

“We want to make sure they can deliver it the way VMware and AWS see it,” she said. “So we will be thoughtful when we have discussions with our field teams, about which partners can help them get to where they want to be with their customer. We will be very prescriptive. We have a ton of traction on this from our strategic partners in Canada. Scalar is a prime example, and why we wanted to move forward with them first.”

“This is a very big step to closing that ideological gap between public and private cloud,” said Stewart Beak, Director of Product Cloud Services at Scalar Decisions. “Our role is to give customers an honest opinion about this choice, and having this available presents another option to us.”

It doesn’t always mean that the cloud is the best option, especially if the customer doesn’t take the necessary steps to optimize their situation for the cloud.

“As a solution provider, it’s really important to provide a voice to the customer for the right thing to do,” Beak stressed. “The one thing we will push back on is wanting to review customer environments, and tell customers things to do to make them better. Sometimes, you have a customer who drinks the koolaid and just wants to move to the cloud. They are just downloading their technical debt. They will later be saying to us ‘how come it’s so expensive and why didn’t you make it better.’ There are things that customers need to do to optimize and get more out of these environments, and we push that from the get-go.”

VMware Cloud on AWS is now available in Canada.