VMworld 2019 – Names Matter!

September 10, 2019

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By Steve Kaplan, Kovarus, SDDC & Cloud Management

If you’ve had a conversation with me about what VMware has been up to over the last 6 months or so, you’ve likely heard this tale: VMware is really becoming a SaaS-first company for many of their products. Whether that’s VMware Managed Cloud (VMC) on AWS or products from the cloud management portfolio that kind of looked like things that map to the vRealize Suite (more on that in a minute!), new features, capabilities, and enhancements are happening in these SaaS services first, then coming back to the on-premises release in the normal order of release cycles.

This is a really important thing for a few reasons:

  1. Get the latest and greatest features, since SaaS gets updated and new things show up all the time, typically every 2 weeks or so.
  2. You stop worrying about infrastructure (hardware lifecycle, upgrading, etc.) … it’s an easy button! No more hardware compatibility fire drills, no more making complicated integration mapping exercises.
  3. As a provider of services in a public cloud, VMware has to be a lot more thoughtful about API changes that may cause breakage, and more importantly, have to be on top of making sure the rich ecosystem of third-party platforms built on top have time to adjust before making a change.
  4. As a provider of SaaS, VMware is committing to delivering public roadmaps for all of their products. This is in place today for VMC on AWS, and I believe the other services are working to get their public roadmaps published over the next quarter or two… but don’t quote me on that.
  5. If you’re part of an organization that doesn’t adopt SaaS and/or can’t live on the bleeding edge, you get the inherent advantages of the tires being kicked on these products on the SaaS side, which should lead to more reliable software being deployed on premises.
  6. If you are an org that deploys on premises, you’re also reaping the benefits of the fact that these applications are being built to be more modular and modernized; that in turn means the upgrade path for your own on-premises platform.

With all of that said, one of the things I struggled with was the naming of some of these services. While they did illuminate a lot about what they did, there was a lot of confusion in the larger community of VMware customers about what the relationship between the SaaS and on-premises products was, and personally, I haven’t felt like VMware has done a great job of discussing this openly.

Case in point, the product formerly known as Cloud Automation Services (CAS) and vRealize Automation (vRA). As I wrote about here, those two platforms are headed on a collision course, but unfortunately if you’re on the outside looking in, you probably didn’t know that (unless you read that blog post!).

OK, Let’s talk about names…

During my week in San Francisco at VMworld, we had a number of meetings with various product management teams to discuss plans around various products in the portfolio. Given where our focus is as a company, it should come as no surprise that our first meeting on Monday was with some of the product management team within the Cloud Management BU (CMBU) discussing automation.

Early on in this meeting, the term “vRA Cloud” was used a few times, to which we kind of paused what we were discussing and asked what this “vRA Cloud” thing they kept talking about was! Turns out, CAS was renamed to vRA Cloud. That, in turn, inspired somebody from our side to ask whether that was going to be a naming change introduced across the entire CMBU’s SaaS product offerings, to which the response was an enthusiastic, “YES!”.

We noted it at the time and carried on, assuming at some point in the week, an announcement of some kind was going to be made about the names, but… as of the time of me writing this, I still haven’t seen anything come out about it, but when I went looking at VMware Cloud and brought up their hybrid services, guess what’s already been updated there?!

The important thing to note here, particularly around vRA, is that the three key services that make up vRA Cloud today (Cloud Assembly, Service Broker, and Code Stream) are still the same and those names have not changed!

Putting aside the jokes about shooting oneself in the foot unintentionally and unnecessarily, this was a much needed branding update for these services to clearly identify which existing on-premises product they relate to, and will provide a clear path to knowing what capabilities are on the way for both the SaaS platforms and the on-premises release.

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