We are attending the IBM InterConnect conference happening in Las Vegas this week, and probably the most important announcement for CxOs with on premises VMware loads has been the partnership between IBM and VMware. 


So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style (it can be found here):
Las Vegas – IBM InterConnect and Palo Alto, CA - 22 Feb 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) today announced a strategic partnership designed to help enterprises take better advantage of the cloud’s speed and economics. The new agreement will enable enterprise customers to easily extend their existing workloads, as they are, from their on-premises software-defined data center to the cloud.
MyPOV – Good summary of the partnership, all about moving loads from on premises to cloud.
With nearly 100 percent of Fortune 100 customers utilizing VMware technologies, this partnership will help preserve and extend customer investments across thousands of data centers. Customers will be able to leverage VMware’s proven technologies with IBM’s growing footprint of 45 Cloud Data Centers worldwide, helping companies scale globally while avoiding retooling expense, development risks and reducing security concerns.
MyPOV – Here is where the main synergies for the vendors lie: VMware has not been able to build enough data centers to be a viable partner for its existing customers to move loads to the cloud on a worldwide scale, which today is at least 20+ locations. And IBM needs more load for its cloud, being the only major cloud vendor with no ‘organic’ load to fuel its data center growth.
IBM and VMware have jointly designed an architecture and cloud offering that will enable customers to automatically provision pre-configured VMware SDDC environments, consisting of VMware vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN on the IBM Cloud.
MyPOV – This is the beauty of the bare metal nature of SoftLayer / IBM Cloud – in this case VMware can bring its offerings – as mentioned above – pretty much one to one to the IBM Cloud, no modifications, no re-imaging on different hypervisors (something VMware would not be a fan of anyway) necessary.
With this SDDC environment in place, customers will be able to deploy workloads in this hybrid cloud environment without modification, due to common security and networking models based on VMware.IBM will utilize its extensive CloudBuilder tools and workload automation capabilities to automatically provision pre-configured or custom workloads to the cloud, validated by VMware's design patterns for Software Defined Data Center architectures. In addition, VMware has extended vRealize Automation and vCenter management tools to deploy and manage environments on the IBM Cloud, as if they are part of a customer’s local data center.
MyPOV – First thing customers when moving to a hybrid cloud is how to automate things, good to see both vendors have their respective tools. Both vendors need to work on a clarification which tool to use in which scenario to avoid confusion.

The two companies also will jointly market and sell new offerings for hybrid cloud deployments, including seamless workload migrations, disaster recovery, and capacity expansion and data center consolidation.
MyPOV – And after automation tools, customers ask for out of the box offerings, good to see that both vendors are thinking about them.
“This partnership, an extension of our 14-year plus relationship with IBM, demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud,” said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware. “Our customers will be able to efficiently and securely deploy their proven software-defined solutions with sophisticated workload automation to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of IBM Cloud.” 
MyPOV – Good quote from Gelsinger, who I have been asking each VMworld on why VMware is not more aggressive on the topic of cloud migration, well now the data center location and investment side is addressed.
"We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud. “The strategic partnership between IBM and VMware will enable clients to easily embrace the cloud while preserving their existing investments and creating new business opportunities.”
MyPOV – LeBlanc’s favorite topic is right now the ‘tipping point’ for cloud – and I agree to a certain point with him that cloud technology becomes much more of a When? And How? Question than an If? Question for enterprises.
Additional key benefits for customers when the new offerings are available will include:
  • IBM and VMware will provide the expertise, solutions, and cloud infrastructure to help customers manage and scale their IT resources running in private and public clouds, utilizing the tools, processes and APIs with which customers are already familiar,
  • Through sophisticated workload automation, clients will have the ability to quickly provision new or scale existing workloads to the IBM Cloud,
  • Companies will have additional reach and scale to more easily start locally and scale globally with cloud capabilities, and also comply with data residency and other regulatory mandates,
  • VMware customers will be able to use a flexible, monthly-based consumption pricing model that makes it more cost effective for users by enabling a simple pay-as-you-go option,
  • The IBM Cloud will be a showcase platform in the VMware vCloud Air Network cloud provider ecosystem.

MyPOV – Good list of new capabilities, good to see the elasticity argument front and center – for both loads and billing. Equally good to see the data residency question coming up, something we have covered extensively – see here.

Overall MyPOV

It’s always good when customers win, and here customers and both partners win. VMware customers for the first time get a global cloud partner, with who they can negotiate SLAs, rates and get one bill, something the heterogeneous VMware partner ecosystem was not able to provide. VMware addresses the public cloud demand of its customer and IBM gets more load into its cloud, which it needs to compete on the economy of scale level to get to the larger competitors (who all have some sort of organic load).

But a synergetic win / win / win across partners and customers does not guarantee success, there are many areas where IBM and VMware could not execute well, starting with product, licensing and go to market. Given the sense of urgency for both vendors, I think it is unlikely both can afford to not make the partnership work. And the lack of alternatives add additional pressure to make it work. There is no other bare metal cloud provider with 40+ locations that VMware could use, there is no other vendor who has a SDDC architecture and owns approximately 90% of the enterprise on premises load. So enterprise should take comfort of these mechanics, that are making a successful partnership more likely than not. We will be watching.

More on IBM:
  • Event Preview - IBM Interconnect 2016 - read here
  • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
  • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
  • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
    Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM and ARM Collaborate to Accelerate Delivery of Internet of Things - The IBM NextGenApps Stack emerges - read here
  • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
  • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
  • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
  • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
  • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
  • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
  • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
  • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
  • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
  • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
  • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
  • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
  • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
  • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
  • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
  • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
  • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
  • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
  • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here

More on VMWare
  • News Analysis - VMware unveils Workspace ONE – will the EUC adoption begin now? Read here
  • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here
  • Event Report - VMware VMworld 2015 - VMware stays the course - executes - progresses on fight for long term relevance - read here
  • Musings – What will it be this year at VMWorld - read here
  • Market Move - EMC to acquire Virtustream - More paths to the cloud - read here
  • News Analysis - Pivotal makes CloudFoundry more about multi-cloud - read here
  • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to Open Source and Hortonworks - or: Open Source keeps winning - read here
  • News Analysis - VMware makes progress towards the (hybrid) cloud - now let's watch the adoption - read here
  • Speed Briefings at VMworld - read here
  • Event Report - VMware makes a lot of progress - but the holy grail is still missing - read here.
  • First Take - VMware's VMworld Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here.
  • Progress Report - Good start for VMware EUC - time for 2nd inning - read here.
  • Speed Briefings at VMworld - inside and outside the VMware ecosystem - read here.
  • VMware defies conventional destiny - SDDC to the rescue - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here