VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced today they had formed a strategic partnership under which they will launch a vSphere-based cloud service that runs on AWS.

Called VMware Cloud on AWS, it will be fully available by mid-2017. Invite-only betas will begin earlier in the year.

The partnership is a tacit acknowledgment by these two companies that most businesses run their IT in any number of permutations consisting of public and private cloud environment and they want to be able to run virtualized applications as easily as possible in these hybrid environments.

"As more enterprises move to cloud they want to leverage the investments they have made in on premise software in the cloud," Andy Jassy CEO of Amazon Web Services, said during the live streamed announcement, which he made with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. "They want that tight, seamless integration."

Primary Partners

The two companies will be primary partners for cloud and virtualization services, respectively. VMware was a natural choice for AWS. It is the market leader for virtualization, but it has been lacking a public-cloud offering. It joined forces with IBM earlier this year in a similar partnership for the private cloud.

VMware Cloud on AWS will be powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, a SDDC platform integrating VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN and NSX virtualization technologies. 

Not-So-Secret Secret

By the time the live streamed formal announcement started on Thursday at 1:30 PDT, the secret was out of the bag. 

For starters, the brewing partnership has been considered an open secret in Silicon Valley. Perhaps that is why a blog post by VMWare VP Mark Lohmeyer that went live early providing details about the new partnership was instantly spotted and retweeted several times before Jassy and Gelsinger were able to make their formal debut online. 

"VMware Cloud on AWS will be operated, managed and sold by VMware as an on-demand, elastically scalable service and customers will be able to leverage AWS services such as developer tools, analytics, databases, and more," Lohmeyer wrote.

The service will run on dedicated AWS infrastructure purpose-built for the offering and give users access the same vCenter, UIs, APIS and CLIs they tap in VMware while taking advantage of AWS’ cloud-based services including storage, database and analytics, Lohmeyer wrote. This  "will enable a new set of solutions only possible with VMware environments co-existing on the same infrastructure as AWS cloud-based services," he said. 

Jassy made a similar point during the formal announcement. This partnership between VMWare and AWS, he said, "will be the beginning of a rich cycle of innovation."