Posted by: Greg Ness | November 14, 2014

Amazon Declares War on VMware

I returned from re:Invent last night after three days of what was probably one of the most memorable and impactful trade shows I’ve ever attended. Period.

More than 1500 attendee applicants were refused.  The show was packed. This time with more enterprise IT leaders than one might imagine, with most fully committed to getting on Amazon AWS.

The attendee drumbeat at our booth was relentless: “We want to move to AWS.”

Kitty Hawk

My comment to press and analysts at each briefing: It is clear that re:Invent 2014 is more than a typical trade show; it will be remembered as the point at which Amazon declared war (explicitly or implicitly- it doesn’t matter) on VMware.

Hybrid cloud has become assimilated (finally) as an Amazon go to market strategy/offering.  They might call it hybrid IT, but everyone knows what they mean.  AWS wants to become the trusted partner for the next generation of enterprise cloud.  See my cloud predictions for some context.

We’re obviously still early. Even at $10B per year in IaaS cloud spending (out of perhaps $1T – $2T in enterprise IT spending) AWS is still one of many stars in the sky.  Yet the momentum I felt in the hallways and aisles reminded me of the early growth years of VMware, with hordes of enthusiasts eager to take their workloads to new levels of agility and efficiency.

What VMware has in its favor today is the sheer cost of migrating that $1T+ in IT to AWS.  There are simply not enough cloud experts in the world today (as well as available cash) to accomplish that in one’s lifetime.  As long as AWS is dependent upon manual cloud migration processes and partners growth will be slower and more painful than when VMware abstracted workloads on x86 machines.

The missing link is automated cloud migration.  Not server migration or image conversion, but the automated migration of an app workload, networking services, configs, patches and IP addresses into AWS. The greater the level of cloud migration automation the faster the growth for any cloud provider.

Take VMware as an example.  VMotion was an even simpler challenge than intercloud agility.  You might remember this topic from 2009, before the infrastructure 2.0 working group disbanded. Yet it set the stage for ever higher levels of efficiency and agility and the meteoric rise of VMware.

Whomever automates cloud on-boarding to the fullest extent will become the next Microsoft, VMware, etc. for a new era of computing. Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading

Three Years of Cloud Predictions – my take on the evolution of cloud, since 2012.

Our Cloud DR Story – InformationWeek on emerging best practices in the cloud

Who Will Win the Cloud War – Tea Garden interview at VMworld.




  2. See my answers to some great questions at Seeking Alpha: including how Azure, Cisco and others may fare.

  3. Great article on AMZN metrics, including 1M customers, 2M servers


  5. The beat goes on: VMware Acquires Professional Services Firm To Boost Cloud Migration, DevOps Expertise

  6. Look at 5 minute mark…. regarding the importance of automation and agility (in migration) to cloud service providers…

  7. GigaOm 5 Top Takeaways from reInvent 2014:

  8. Hey Greg:

    Good post. Looks like thoughts are converging at several levels. See attached link –


  9. This contributed article in InformationWeek talks about product/features which are part of the assault (Amazon and VMware on Collision Course) :

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