VMware is making a move to attract more virtualization customers by making it easier for them to keep leveraging their existing investments in networking and security products. By opening up its VMware Ready program to its networking and security partners, the company says validated joint solutions will drive more efficiency and ability benefits to enterprise customers.
Practically speaking, Hatem Naguib, vice president of Networking and Security at VMware, said the VMware Ready for Networking and Security Program makes it possible for partners to easily integrate products with VMware cloud infrastructure, including VMware vSphere and the VMware vCloud product family, to deliver validated joint solutions.
"This new program will enable customers to lower operational costs, meet compliance requirements, and accelerate time-to-market by helping them quickly locate certified solutions that combine trusted networking and security technologies from our partners with the flexibility and security of VMware cloud infrastructure," Naguib says.
Here's how it works: The VMware Ready for Networking and Security Program will incorporate a set of partner-enabling tools, from reference architectures to hands-on training courses for partners.
Partner solutions that pass formal testing criteria will receive the VMware Ready certification and logo, signaling to customers that they have met specific VMware integration and interoperability standards and are optimized to work effectively with VMware cloud infrastructure.
VMware said the program is a co-branding benefit of the Technology Alliance Partner program that makes it easy for customers to identify partner products that are certified to work seamlessly with VMware solutions. The VMware TAP program includes best-of-breed technology partners with the shared commitment to bring the best expertise and business solution to each unique customer need.
Software development kits will be available in October. Final certification for partners is planned for mid-2013.
The Long-Term Winner
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said the time is right for VMware to include networking and security partners.
"The role virtualization plays today is quiet a bit different than even just a couple of years ago. The use of virtualization historically has been more like a tactical technology used to consolidate servers," Kerravala told us. "If you look out five years, organizations will start using virtualization more strategically to do things like automate processes and move resources around data centers."
That, he said, becomes a much more complex task. With tactical virtualization, data center architecture doesn't change completely. But there are more moving parts that have to work together with a strategic virtualization approach.
From Kerravala's perspective, it's incumbent upon vendors to help IT departments understand how these pieces are all tied together. VMware's move to open up its certification program allows the company to branch into broader pre-configured, pre-tested solutions that give customers confidence to use virtualization for much more than they have in the past. That, of course, directly benefits VMware.
"This whole market is becoming a game of stacks. If you look at the VCE Alliance and Oracle's Exadata stack and what VMware is trying to do on its own, we are moving back to an era of pre-integrated, pre-configured solutions just like the mainframe market was. It just happens to be built on open systems," Kerravala said. "So the vendors to offer complete solutions to their customers better and faster will wind up being the long-term winners."