VMware has launched a “hybrid” Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud that it calls vCloud Hybrid Service, built atop the company’s vSphere platform and incorporating a variety of software-defined data center applications. Bill Fathers, VMware’s General Manager of Hybrid Cloud Services, claimed in a May 21 posting on VMware’s official blog that the vCloud Hybrid Service is a natural outgrowth of the company’s extensive work in the cloud over the past several years. “Customers have expressed a desire for a cloud offering that is completely compatible with what they are deploying internally,” he wrote. “And vCloud Hybrid Service was designed to support all of their existing applications as well as the development of any new ones—without requiring any change.” Businesses have a choice of options: a dedicated cloud that physically isolated infrastructure, or a virtual private cloud with logically isolated infrastructure and fully private networking and resources. The dedicated cloud comes with a minimum size of 120GB vRAM and 30GHz vCPU, with 6TB of storage for starters, 3 public IPs and 50 Mbps allocated (1Gbps burstable); the virtual private cloud offers a minimum size of 20GB vRAM and 5GHz vCPU, with 2TB of storage for starters, 2 public IPs and 10 Mbps allocated (50 Mbps burstable). VMware claims that, by having an IaaS service that relies on the same technology found in many data centers, businesses can offload a portion of their infrastructure concerns to the cloud with a minimum of fuss. Of course, that sort of seamless network integration also demands that a business have compatible data-center technology in place—an opportunity for VMware to sell more products on the data-center side, of course, in addition to the actual cloud service. The vCloud Hybrid Service offers automated replication and monitoring along with high availability for applications; on the security front, the virtualized network is firewall-equipped and fully isolated, with role-based access controls linked to a LDAP directory. VMware insists that the setup time for the service is minimal, and that the infrastructure is speedy and secure. VMware is competing in an exceptionally crowded IaaS field. At its I/O conference in San Francisco last week, Google announced that its Google Compute Engine IaaS platform was available in preview with a host of new features. Amazon and Microsoft also offer IaaS to developers and businesses. Meanwhile, a host of smaller companies are demonstrating an aptitude for supplying IaaS tools—Dell recently announced that it would partner with Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeoLag on cloud-infrastructure and IaaS packages, even as the PC manufacturer backed out of the public IaaS market itself.   Image: everything possible/Shutterstock.com