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By Mathew Lodge

Last week, cloud watchers were treated to the spectacle of a dust-up between IaaS software camps jockeying to be the fairest cloud vendor of them all. Like a bad remake of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, it seemed like the ugly sisters had gotten the message from the magic mirror that they were not the fairest in the land, and had decided to brew some potions, wave a few wands and declare themselves most attractive cloud IaaS platform.

That’s not to say that VMware doesn’t like a good competitive fight, but the golden rule is to remember that the battle is for the privilege of serving customers. Whoever successfully rides off into the sunset with Prince Charming – the satisfied customer – lives happily ever after.

Last week, while the ugly sisters were squabbling, customers were getting on with business and choosing their Cinderella as VMware quietly passed the 100 vCloud service provider mark. There are now more than 100 verified VMware vCloud public clouds, which is an order of magnitude greater than the ugly sisters’ combined total. You can now get a vCloud in 24 countries, effectively forming the world’s largest community of compatible public clouds. By compatible, I mean where it really matters to customers and their applications: the same VMware cloud infrastructure 350,000 customers trust to run their most demanding datacenter applications, the vCloud API, and the OVF open file format for workload and (perhaps more importantly) data interchange between clouds. 

So what does this mean for customers? The oldest University in the English-speaking world, Oxford, can securely manage and share databases with over 40,000 researchers using hybrid vClouds. Sega, a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment, can standardize its dynamically scalable test and develop environment across private and public vCloud infrastructure. You can hear from both on the “Another VMware Cloud” site.

The growth of the vCloud ecosystem tells the Cinderella story: 18 months ago, the first five vCloud service provider partners launched services based on the vCloud Director 1.0 software release. Many of those partners are now leaders in the Gartner IaaS magic quadrant (available for free from Bluelock, one of those leaders, here). 7 of Network World’s “10 most powerful IaaS companies” offer VMware-based IaaS clouds (not including VMware itself, company #10 on this list).

In 2011, VMware’s service provider business overall grew in excess of 200% year-on-year. This is a direct measure of customer adoption since VMware operates a cloudy pay-as-you-go licensing program for service providers. We only get paid when service providers use our software to deliver services to Prince Charmings the world over. Hear leaders from the University of Oxford and Sega talk about what they’re doing with hybrid (private + public) deployments.

Grimm’s Fairytales conclude with more than the heroes riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. When Cinderella and the Prince are reunited, for example, the ugly sisters see the writing on the wall, attempt to ingratiate themselves with the couple and are rather brutally punished (in the original 1812 book, not the Disney version!) In the end, the Prince always figures out the true state of affairs, seeing through the subterfuge, noise and pretense.