Google chases cloud giants with VMware Cloud Universal program

Doing all it can to catch up with AWS and Microsoft Azure for enterprise users

Google Cloud is joining VMware's Cloud Universal program, the aim being to make it easier for enterprises to migrate VMware-based workloads to the cloud while allowing them to re-use on-premises license investments.

The extended partnership centers on the Google Cloud VMware Engine, which was first announced in 2020. This provides a self-contained VMware private cloud that is sold and supported by Google as a fully managed service running on the Google Cloud Platform.

Google Cloud VMware Engine thus provides the infrastructure that makes it easier to migrate and run business-critical VMware-based workloads on the Google Cloud. It is based on VMware Cloud Foundation, which is itself the basis of other cloud-hosted VMware services such as VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Cloud Universal is a subscription service launched by the virtualization biz last year, intended to give customers greater flexibility to deploy VMware infrastructure wherever they need to, whether that is a private cloud or one or more public clouds. At launch, it was restricted to VMware Cloud on AWS or VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, the latter being on-premises infrastructure, but with Google joining the program, customers can now opt for its platform as well.

Purchasing Google Cloud VMware Engine this way allows organizations to speed up the migration of their workloads and applications to Google Cloud, the ad-giant said. Customers will be able to redeem VMware Cloud Universal credits for Google Cloud VMware Engine, but importantly, also make use of existing VMware licensing investments through the VMware Cloud Universal program for Google Cloud VMware Engine.

A foot in the cloud door

This can be seen as a play by Google to capture more of the enterprise hybrid cloud spend, as once organizations have some VMware workloads running on Google, they will be in a position to expand on those with other Google Cloud services, such as BigQuery. In this, Google can be seen as catching up with the other big cloud players, which have been offering a similar proposition for some time – AWS has sold VMware Cloud since 2017, for example.

"Google are working hard on their enterprise appeal, doing everything to catch up with AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud," said Roy Illsley, chief analyst for IT Ecosystem & Operations at Omdia.

According to Illsley, Google sometimes appears reluctant to offer the more "mundane" services that enterprises need in order to make migrating applications and services to the cloud proceed more smoothly, instead preferring to focus on developing more "innovative" services.

"Google has some great stuff," Illsley said, "but they need to do better at getting it integrated with on-prem enterprise infrastructure."

However, Google has perhaps realized that it needs to draw in more of that enterprise spending in order to bolster its cloud business: in its Q4 2021 results, Google Cloud showed losses of $890m for that quarter and $3.1bn across the full year. The firm is also preparing gto introduce new cloud infrastructure pricing that will mean higher prices for some services from 1 October.

With Google Cloud VMware Engine, customers will, say the company, have access to Google Cloud's infrastructure with fully redundant and dedicated 100Gbps networking, for which the cloudy giant claims 99.99 percent availability to meet the needs of the most demanding workloads.

It also points to its global footprint and capabilities such as multi-region and multi-VPC connectivity to further ease the migration of complex enterprise networking topologies to Google Cloud.

Of course all of these shining lights will dim the next time a big outage hits Google Cloud customers. ®

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