VMware vCloud Test Drive Tempts New Users

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A virtual data centre, virtually free for a virtual spin

VMware is offering potential customers an online service that allows them to try out a cloud built using the VMware vCloud platform.

Dubbed with the catchy moniker of the vCloud Service Evaluation, the idea is to give potential customers the chance to experiment with the vCloud platform, and use the VMware vCloud Director software, which enables IT departments to combine pooled compute, network and storage resources as a “catalogue” offering. Essentially it allows for the creation of a virtual data centre.

Cloud Push

VMware made its name in the world of data centre virtualisation software, but for the past two years it has been steadily building up the capabilities of its vCloud platform, most recently via acquisitions. In February this year it launched its vCloud Integration Manager to help cloud service providers automate the delivery and operations of VMware vCloud Director-based clouds.

VMware’s vCloud platform is of course the company’s cloud computing initiative that allows customers to run applications in a private cloud, or alternatively migrate these cloud workloads to partner-hosted public clouds.

“VMware and its vCloud service providers have created a broad ecosystem of cloud services to meet the needs of any business, and now we’re going to give customers an easy way to see the power of a vCloud for themselves,” said Mathew Lodge, vice president, cloud services, VMware.

“With the VMware vCloud Service Evaluation, customers will have a quick, simple and low-cost way to evaluate a vCloud so they can understand the value of working with a vCloud service provider and be prepared to make an informed decision on which public cloud best suits them,” Lodge added.

In order to take advantage of the test drive, customers simply register from today with a credit card, and from 27 August are promised access to their own vCloud.

Once there they can “deploy pre-built operating system and application templates and use vCloud Connector to move workloads from their private cloud or VMware vSphere environment.”

Prices start at $0.04 an hour for a Linux VM with 1GB of RAM.

Once they have completed their evaluation, they can migrate to a vCloud service provider for production vCloud services.

Trough Of Disillusionment

The uptake of cloud computing continues, leading to an increasingly competitive landscape. Indeed, VMware is not the only vendor offering free trials. Earlier this week Rackspace for example opened up for free download its Rackspace Private Cloud Software (codenamed Alamo), powered by OpenStack.

But cloud dangers remain, a point underlined by analyst firm Gartner, which recently warned of a “trough of disillusionment” for cloud computing users.

Gartner suggested that cloud computing has passed the so-called ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’, and is now heading into the next stage, the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, characterised by public disillusionment.

Are you avoiding the cloud’s ‘trough of disillusionment’? Take our quiz.