VMware and Amazon Web Services are reportedly about to stage a public display of affection.
Fortune reckons the two have been having intimate chats about the same kind of relationship Virtzilla has with IBM. That cloudy tryst sees IBM offer VMware's service-provider-grade-vSphere-as-a-service, the better to help VMware users extend into hybrid clouds.
VMware did that deal after deciding its own cloud-building ambitions were a bit far-fetched. It therefore stopped building new data centres and positioned its own vCloud Air as the virtualisation connoisseur’s cloud, complete with tales of DOS applications humming along inside for very odd clients. IBM got the job of giving VMware world-girdling scale and also the chance to be the one holding vSphere users hands and re-assuring them the cloud won't be scary. The thousands of other vCloud Air partners got the chance to build their own smaller clouds and to explain that vSphere everywhere makes for easier hybrids.
VMware's also, of late, come to realise it can't keep its users on-premises forever and has admitted its flagship vSphere private cloud product is in long-term decline. It's therefore on the hunt for ways to keep vSphere users happy for as long as possible, often with hybrid cloud but also with new lines of business.
Amazon offers plenty of the things VMware needs. Its cloud is bigger than IBM's and also rather better-patronised, which helps VMware's cause by giving its users an option they almost certainly want.
Amazon also has a lousy hybrid cloud story. While it has plug-ins for vCenter and System Center that let them hook into its cloud and isn't opposed to hybrid cloud, it hardly ever mentions hybrids it in polite company.
Replicating the IBM/VMware relationship would therefore improve AWS' hybrid cloud story at the stroke of a pen and give it a way to introduce itself to lots of lovely big enterprises. VMware would gain yet more scale.
VMware's other weakness is developers, who are not charging towards its container vision. AWS could help there, big-time, as it is a developer darling.
Teaming with AWS could also give Virtzilla more credibility for its Cross Cloud architecture vision, articulated at VMworld, which promises abstraction of resources across clouds. When launching Cross Cloud VMware said it would be doable with nothing more than public APIs, a proposition El Reg's virtualisation desk found a little flimsy. A formal relationship would surely be a better launchpad for the new Cross Cloud business.
Fortune says the deal will be announced early next week. Suffice to say we're keeping an eye on this. ®