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Adieu pour toujours! VMware flogs vCloud Air hosting biz to OVH

French corp catches Pat Gelsinger's hot potato

VMware is selling its core infrastructure-as-a-service hosting business vCloud Air to OVH, the French cloud computing company.

Financial terms of the sale, which is due to close in the second calendar quarter, were not revealed.

Announcing the deal on Tuesday, Pat Gelsinger, VMware chief executive officer, called its sale “the next step” in vCloud Air’s evolution.

vCloud Air customers in the US and Europe will move to OVH. The French company has 260,000 servers in 20 data centres located in 17 countries.

Gelsinger packaged the deal as a win for customers, saying they will benefit from greater choice, with the ability to select from OVH’s global data centres, and experience faster performance.

Gelsinger insisted that VMware remained committed to its “broader cross-cloud architecture for hybrid cloud”.

VMware announced its vCloud initiative in 2008 and rebranded the service in 2014 as a hybrid, public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to extend data centres already running vSphere. It provides a common management and network infrastructure.

VMware has never broken out customer numbers for vCloud Air, making it difficult to assess take-up for the service.

During its most recent fourth quarter, however, the Dell-owned VMware said the vCloud Air business had grown “robustly.” Overall, company revenue for the quarter to December 31 grew nine per cent year-on-year to $2.03bn.

But it’s safe to say that vCloud Air was not considered a top priority or worthwhile investment to Dell EMC, VMware's ultimate owner. Dell dropped the notion of running its own cloud some time ago, faced with a world defined and dominated by Amazon Web Services and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft and Google.

VMware announced a partnership with AWS in October 2016 to provide a VMware vSphere-based cloud service on AWS.

In 2011, VMware released Cloud Foundry, the open-cloud Platform-as-a-Service, which was shifted ito Pivotal Software and then on to the Cloud Foundry Foundation for stewardship.

The company in December 2016 announced Cloud Foundation, which bundles vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX network virtualization for software-defined data centres to the cloud. The beta was also announced the same month. The plan had been for Cloud Foundation on vCloud Air. ®

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