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August 9, 2017updated 10 Aug 2017 12:48pm

Best hybrid cloud vendors: Microsoft vs IBM vs VMware vs AWS

Hybrid cloud is the future, so it's best to know which vendor will be right for your business.

By James Nunns

The vast majority of analyst research points to the future of cloud computing being a hybrid one.

Public cloud will exist, private cloud will exist, but for most businesses, their cloud environment will be a mix.

There’s a vast mix of reasons why hybrid cloud is a better choice than being all in private or all in the public cloud – regulatory reasons, financial restraints, data privacy concerns, data location, and so on.

The largest tech vendors in the world have figured out, some sooner than others, that hybrid cloud is the future. And, unsurprisingly, they’ve all taken steps to offer this to their customers.

CBR has put together a list of the best options in the market to help you decide what vendor is going to be the right one for your hybrid cloud deployment.



The company has the size and scale to support large scale public cloud and large scale private cloud deployments, thanks to its massive data centre footprint.

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The Redmond company set its sights on being a hybrid cloud provider since its first involvement in the market, and it’s clearly been paying off. The Azure story goes from strength to strength thanks to a broad portfolio of services that includes its omnipresent Office suite of tools, a smattering of artificial intelligence, and a whole host of SaaS services that can be deployed wherever the customer wants.

The ace up Microsoft’s sleeve, which should be giving every other cloud vendor sleepless nights, is the upcoming Azure Stack.

The final piece in Microsoft’s hybrid cloud strategy, the Azure stack will give customers the option to keep their entire stack with the company. Greater control and flexibility will give customers freedom of choice.

Now that the Azure Stack is finally ready to order, we’ll soon be able to see how strong of an appetite enterprises have for hybrid cloud and whether they want to stick with one vendor for their environments or if they fancy something a little more varied.



VMware is one of those more varied options. Not renowned for its public cloud offering, especially after it sold the business to OVH, but that hasn’t removed all the tech from its portfolio.

VMware’s main strength is in the private cloud, with vSphere and vCentre. The company has a strong and popular option and its hybrid portfolio is strengthened by partnerships with the strongest public cloud vendors.

Deals with Microsoft, IBM, and AWS, along with a large number of other vendors, puts the virtualisation specialist near the top of the list when it come to topping the hybrid cloud charts.

VMware’s Cross-Cloud architecture was described by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in 2016, saying: “It’s about providing freedom and control. Like having a teenager you both love and like.” The strategy puts VMware is a management position for connecting and managing its workloads in numerous different clouds such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer, and Google Cloud Platform.



Amazon Web Services may be the dominant public cloud player but its hybrid cloud portfolio has never been considered the strongest in the market.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t offered the functionality to customers over the years, but because it is the public cloud leader, and by a distance, that is what it’s known for.

It’s only recently that AWS has really identified the need for it to offer a more substantial hybrid cloud portfolio, and it’s done this by partnering with VMware.

As previously said, VMware is one of the dominant private cloud vendors but has suffered in the public cloud market, a partnership between VMware & AWS simply makes sense.

The deal made VMware AWS’s primary private cloud partner and AWS VMware’s primary public cloud partner.

The deal is new, but the two companies appear optimistic in terms of early uptake. If it all works out and customers like the idea of using the most popular public and private cloud then it should become one of the most popular hybrid cloud deployment methods.



Big Blue was one of the earliest to commit to a hybrid cloud vision of the future and it’s filled out its portfolio over the years with this in mind.

The company recently added Intel Optane to its Bare Metal cloud, and it’s set about winning the ‘Cloud Beauty Contest’ with a differentiated offering.

The company is synonymous with high quality IT equipment and it certainly has the data centre footprint to be able to offer all the comfort that an enterprise could ask for.

Read more: IBM on winning the beauty contest of Cloud 3.0

Offering hybrid cloud comes naturally to IBM and it’s set about offering an approach that includes being “enterprise strong,” of offering a “data first architecture,” and of placing “cognitive at the core.”

Whilst Microsoft can compete on the AI front, and AWS to some extent, IBM’s Watson system is seemingly more tightly integrated with its services than others in the market.

Integration between SoftLayer and Bluemix perhaps isn’t as strong as it could be, but for all sizes of hybrid cloud, IBM certainly has a very strong offering.

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