VMware's acquired VeloCloud and will use its wares to extend its NSX software-defined networking platform to the wide area network.
VeloCloud's bread and butter is software-defined WANs, which it operates from a cloud-based “Orchestrator” that takes most of the load off on-premises WAN networking hardware and lets users define the WANs they want, even over wireless or broadband services that lack multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). The company also maintains gateways inside big cloud bit barns, to ensure traffic flows reliably. It can also run WANs over transient links, an increasingly common practice as brokers offer connectivity by the hour or bursting into bigger pipes as needs emerge.
VMware plans to use VeloCloud to provide a single virtual network linking core applications in a private cloud, devices on the edge, and the public cloud. The company believes thinks all three locations need to talk to each other, so could therefore benefit from doing so on a virtual network that obeys centrally-set policies about network configuration and security. VeloCloud's wares will therefore be integrated with VMware's NSX, and NSX-as-a-service, to make that possible.
Also in VMware's sights are carriers, which it hopes to sell to with an offering that lets them run VMware-powered networking services.
Buying VeloCloud therefore does two things for VMware.
Firstly it extends NSX to the WAN, an uncomplicated benefit that few will oppose.
Second, it gives VMware another SaaS offering. The company's very keen on those, because like every other software company it knows that on-premises software is in decline and that subscription services are its future.
It also creates one complication for VMware, because VeloCloud offers an appliance to consume its services. The Register expects that VMware will turn that into a virtual appliance before too much time passes: Virtzilla just isn't a hardware business! ®