Amazon has teleported its cloud business into the management software of a rival that is used in thousands of data centers across the world.
One of the great things about superficially boring tech plug-in announcements is that they usually conceal a nefarious and well thought-out strategic attack on another company's business. This is no different.
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Amazon announced on Friday afternoon that it was making available an "AWS Connector for vCenter", which lets admins import management tools for Amazon's cloud directly into an on-premise data center software package made by one of Amazon's rivals.
The AWS Connector for vCenter tech gives VMware administrators a way to buy, manage, and migrate VMs into AWS cloud resources from within VMware's vCenter management console.
vCenter is a widely used piece of software from VMware that lets admins manage large numbers of virtual machines, typically within enterprise data centers.
"If you are already using VMware vCenter to manage your virtualized environment, you will be comfortable in this new environment right away, even if you are new to AWS, starting with the integrated sign-on process, which is integrated with your existing Active Directory," Amazon explains.
"The look-and-feel and the workflow that you use to create new AWS resources will be familiar," they continue, "and you will be launching EC2 instances before too long. You can even import your existing 'golden' VMware images to EC2 through the portal (this feature makes use of VM Import)."
Those two paragraphs alone are likely to summon up a feeling of dread at VMware, given that the company has recently launched the vCloud Hybrid Service in an attempt to get its customers to sling VMs up into its public cloud, not Amazon's.
Along with this, service providers that sell VMware-based services can use the portal to offer their own customers "self-service access to AWS", Amazon explains. Another way of putting it is that Amazon has just managed to smuggle its own products into a grocery store that VMware thought it controlled.
By giving developers a way to access AWS resources from within a familiar bit of management software, Bezos & Co have pulled off one of the greatest tricks in business: getting your competitor to help sell your product. Better still, the "VM Import" feature makes it trivial for admins to migrate existing applications up into the AWS cloud, guaranteeing Amazon a slice of the enterprise's IT budget.
The free software is available immediately. It comes with enterprise features such as Role-Based Access Controls, templating, governance, and automatic tagging of creating resources so admins can keep track of all the money they may spend on Bezos's big yellow cloud.
Amazon isn't the first to take this approach; a few months ago Microsoft started embedding its Azure cloud into on-premise software such as Systems Center and Visual Studio. The difference here, of course, is that Amazon has no on-premises software and is instead piggybacking, leech-like, on existing infrastructure built by another company. Watch out VMware, you've got a competitor loose among your customers! ®