VMware smashes the Google approach on cloud computing

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In February 2009, during his first VMworld Europe conference, the new VMware CEO Paul Maritz decided to provoke Google on a terrain where the search giant is specially sensitive: cloud computing.
By saying that “…they don’t realize that they scale so well only by redesigning their applications and hardware” he ignited a serious reaction.

Considering the audience that Google can reach and the credibility it deserves, it’s safe to say that now VMware has an issue.
Now that cloud computing is the new mantra in Palo Alto, there’s no chance for VMware to let Google pass on this one.

So today Dan Chu, Vice President, Emerging Products and Markets, published a long answer to Google on the VMware executive blog, covertly suggesting that the search giant should do a reality check instead of trying to establish a monopoly (emphasis is ours):

Google has a valid and interesting model but we are finding that it simply doesn’t work for the vast of majority of business IT.

the Google blog claims that their scale and approach of managing servers lends a key advantage. If companies had unlimited resources and were able to build massive datacenters with all of these commodity servers, the Google model may be the way to go. However, this isn’t the picture of most datacenters today. What virtualization is able to provide is improved performance of applications, improved utilization of existing resources and nearly unlimited scalability. And VMware offers what many customers require—choice.

Customers are looking to match their IT platform to their business needs, not the inverse. The Google approach calls for a least common denominator set of non integrated cloud services that everyone squeezes into. Customers want the flexibility and breadth of solutions that exist today along with the efficiency of the cloud. Customers are not about to re-write or modify their applications so that they can run in a specific cloud. In particular, given current macro-economic circumstances, customers have a high priority for a cloud platform that can take their existing apps, and enable them to take advantage of the cloud.

The Google blog closes by asserting that “IT systems are typically slow to evolve,” and that Google is much faster to innovate. This supposition is mostly focused on Google Apps and its pace for new feature rollout. This is fine for customers who are looking for exactly the features that Google happens to be working on, but for any other IT needs that a customer might have, the Google stack is a black box to the customer without the component architecture that lets many different types of partners integrate and contribute their new technologies.

For customers looking to maintain the flexibility to move back and forth between the external cloud and internal IT, Google’s proprietary platform is like the “Hotel California or the roach motel” where your apps go in, but they never come out…

Can we say that the relationship between VMware and Google (if any) is definitively compromised?

The big question here is why Paul Maritz decided to attack specifically Google on this topic during the VMworld?