VMware and Carpathia have formed a partnership that will leverage both VMware's dominance as a virtualization provider and Carpathia's public cloud infrastructure.
The two are launching a joint offering: VMware vCloud Government Service provided by Carpathia, and yes, that is a long name, but the strategy behind it is rather straight-forward.
The service is a hybrid cloud offering that will help agencies quickly deploy applications and workloads to the cloud, as executives with the two companies explained to me in a briefing ahead of today’s announcement.
The vCGS service is a public cloud built on VMware technology and will let agencies connect to the cloud through their data centers and other infrastructure running VMware.
“It’s the quickest path to the cloud for government customers using VMware,” said Lynn Martin, vice president of public sector for VMware.
The service is built on VMware vSphere, which agencies are using to optimize and manage their data centers.
She describes it as a “natural evolution of what they are already doing.”
Martin and Carpathia CEO Peter Weber emphasized ease of use as a major benefit of the service.
“It’ll be as simple as dragging and dropping what you want to move to the cloud,” Weber said.
Carpathia does about half of its cloud hosting business in the government market, and the alliance with VMware should expand that base. As part of the agreement, Carpathia will have greater access to VMware’s network of resellers and systems integrators.
“They are hungry for a solution like this,” Weber said.
One reason for that hunger is the expense of moving to the cloud when using other public cloud providers because applications and infrastructures need to be rebuilt, he said.
That doesn’t happen with vCGS because the VMware technology is both in the data center and in the cloud, Weber said.
This also helps avoid what he jokingly called the “Hotel California” effect, because there are a lot of concerns about using public clouds and the difficulty and expense of getting your data back out again if you want to move your workload to another solution.
The classic Eagles song has the line, “You can check-out any time you like/But you can never leave.”
Martin said vCGS is a lower risk offering because of the common VMware architecture in the data center and the cloud. And because of the ability to move workloads back and forth, the service also offers a lot of flexibility for users.
The two companies are submitting vCGS for FedRAMP approval and while that process can take time, it won’t limit the ability to sell to customers who don’t require the certification, particularly in the state and local and education markets.
Weber said he sees a lot of opportunities for development and test work in the cloud as well as delivering software as a service.
The way the two connected is a story in itself, but in a nutshell, VMware ran its own request for proposals process, narrowing down potential partners to just four. Then it went out and talked to 30 public sector CIOs. Carpathia’s technology and reputation carried the day, Martin said.
With the dominance of VMware’s technology in the data center being somewhere in the 90-percent range, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly this offering takes off.
With mandates such as cloud first and data center consolidations and closings and the push to drive down overall IT costs through offerings such as software as a service, the market for services such as vCGS is measured in the billions of dollars in the federal space alone.
Posted on Mar 04, 2014 at 1:21 PM1 comments
The international shift continues to gain momentum, particularly among the major defense players.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have both announced actions in the last week that highlight how important international markets have become to them.
Coincidentally both of the announcements involve Australia, which looks like it’s become the launching point for a lot of activity in Asia.
Last week, Northrop Grumman’s Australian business unit completed the acquisition of Qantas Defence Services. The business provides integrated logistics, sustainment and modernization support. Most of its customers are with the Australian government.
The Australian Associated Press reported that the deal was worth $80 million and that the business had about $100 million in revenue last year.
The business has been renamed Northrop Grumman Integrated Defence Services and is now a unit of Northrop Grumman Australia, which itself connects back to the parent’s Northrop Grumman Technical Services.
“We expect this to be an important platform for international growth in our key focus areas of unmanned, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization,” said Ian Irving, Northrop Grumman chief executive for Australia, in a statement.
This week, the Australia Defence Science Technology Organisation announced a 10-year alliance with Lockheed Martin Australia for joint research projects in areas such as predictive logistics, trusted assurance, the Aegis combat system and other areas.
Raydon Gates, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia, said in a statement that the alliance will provide “important direction for future strategic investments in Australia and enable us to be more responsive to emergent customer requirements.”
Lockheed isn’t the only company to sign such agreements. The DSTO also has recently signed alliances with companies such as BAE Systems, SAAB and IBM.
Australia by itself is strategically important, just from the fact of how many shipping lanes pass near the country. Gaining situational awareness of that region is critical to international security and commerce.
And as Northrop said in its announcement, Australia is a great platform work throughout the region.
That companies such as Lockheed and Northrop are making investments in the region isn’t surprising, but what I wonder about is whether this activity will open more opportunities for other U.S. companies, particularly the next tier down.
Right now the international play is dominated by defense opportunities, but will we see that expand to more civilian operations?
If it will, companies will likely need to follow the pattern similar to Maximus, which has gone global with its social services expertise.
Maximus has an expertise that translates to nearly every country on the globe – building and managing systems that countries need to administer social services programs. Every country has a need here.
That’s the key for international expansion: Identify your expertise and then match those capabilities with needs in other markets. It could be cyber, financial management, modernization, data center consolidation. It’s a long list.
Stage two is identifying the specific countries to enter and how to enter them. You also need to identify who is providing those services today. They are your competitors and your possible takeover targets.
Stage two is well beyond my skill set, but we’ll be watching this international trend and who follows Lockheed’s and Northrop’s lead.
Maybe it’s time for road trip down under.
Posted on Mar 03, 2014 at 9:15 AM0 comments
Tom Simmons, the leader of Citrix’s federal team, knows what one of the next big things in the federal market will be. It is just starting to peek out over the horizon, but it still three or four years away.
A virtual desktop is where applications, the operating system, storage and everything else that now resides on your PC is housed in a data center – or several data centers – and is served up to your device when you log on. It is the long-talked about promise of the thin client and the concept of buying everything as a service.
The potential is there, as Simmons describes it, to save money, increase efficiencies, and improve security. Mobility and the need to access applications from any device and location also are driving the push for a virtual desktop.
It will enable organization to take advantage of the bring-your-own-device trend without sacrificing security. It can be a new line of business for systems integrators.
“It’s a transformational technology,” Simmons told me.
The virtual desktop allows for more centralized management of devices for activities such as patch management and roll outs of new applications. Controlling access is also easier and more efficient.
As a company, Citrix is betting that by 2015, the virtual desktop will have reached the same level of maturity in the commercial markets that virtual servers and storage enjoy today.
But it will take a bit longer to reach that level of maturity in the government market, Simmons said.
There are several challenges; the return on investment calculation is tough the first year because to the infrastructure needs to be built to support a virtual desktop platform, he said.
And unlike virtual servers and virtual storage, which basically only changed how those technologies were accessed, a virtual desktop is much more complicated, Simmons said.
“A virtual desktop is a platform,” he said. “You have to take into account all of things that go into your desktop environment.”
This includes managing applications, printers, storage, resident applications, virtual applications, the operating system, the server infrastructure and the network infrastructure.
“You have to get of all that right,” he said.
The approach to desktop virtualization is critical to its success. “If you treat it as a platform, the results are good,” he said.
Simmons points to the intelligence community where virtualization allows analysts to use a single computer to access multiple networks that isolated from each other. “They have 70,000 users on a virtual desktop environment,” he said.
“But when you treat it as just another applications, that’s when there is trouble,” Simmons said.
Systems integrators have been slow to jump on board because a virtual desktop has the potential to turn their business models upside down because it potentially changes how you bill customers and what you bill them for.
There are also issues to be figured out on the software licensing side of the equation.
He singled out Computer Sciences Corp. – a Citrix partner – as an example of a major systems integrator that has established a practice that specializes in virtual desktops. The company is providing virtual desktop services, known as workplace as a service to the Homeland Security Department.
CSC also is rolling the technology out internally, Simmons said.
More systems integrators will make similar moves as agencies look to buy more technology as a service, he said.
Adoption will gain momentum as success stories come out of DHS, as well as with projects underway at the State Department and what DISA is doing with its enterprise email offering (which is a step toward a virtual desktop platform), he said.
The General Services Administration also is taking a leadership role in this area, Simmons said.
Citrix, of course, faces competition for delivering this technology, primarily from VMware, and to a lesser extent, Dell. Amazon Workspaces also is a very basic form of desktop virtualization, he said.
“But our biggest competitor is the status quo,” he said.
Posted on Feb 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM0 comments