What’s the difference between VCF, VMC, and “VMware on X?”

There have been a lot of announcements in the last year or so where VMware is available on various cloud or cloud-like platforms. If you’re wondering what the difference is between these various offerings, you’re not alone.

What is VCF?

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is the first thing you need to understand when considering this topic. VCF is a software stack offered by VMware that bundles vSphere (compute), vSAN (storage) and NSX (networking) into a single platform. This gives those who would like to deploy it – for themselves or by offering it as a service for customers – a complete solution to draw from. If you know a solution is based on VCF, you also know that it will cover all compute, storage, and networking needs that you may have.

What is VMC?

VMC is an unofficial designation for VMware Cloud on some platform, the first example of which was VMware Cloud on AWS. The second example of this was announced at Dell Technologies World and is called VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.

Note to the wise: These products are not called “VMC,” at least not by anyone from VMware, AWS, or Dell. The product name is “VMware Cloud on AWS” or “VMware Cloud on DellEMC.” Think about it. The real names have both brands in them; “VMC” has neither.

“VMware Cloud on x” is VMware as a service offered by VMware on the platform in question, and it is based on VCF. Customers can manage it via vSphere, without having to worry about the hardware aspect. They can provision all the VMs, storage, they like without having to worry about where the hardware will come from.

There are two important things to note in the previous paragraph. If you see “Vmware Cloud on X,” that means the service is being offered by VMware itself. Your bill and support will come from Vmware.

What about Microsoft and IBM’s offering?

There are similar offerings from IBM and Microsoft. IBM offers VMware SDDC on IBM Cloud and Microsoft offers Azure VMware Solutions. Notice that neither is called VMware Cloud on X.

VMware on SDDC on IBM Cloud does not appear to use VCF, but Azure VMware Solutions is based on VCF. But the important differentiator is the service is offered by the platform vendor, not by VMware. Your bill and support will come from IBM or Microsoft, not from VMware.




VMware Cloud on AWS Y VMware
VMware Cloud on Dell EMC Y VMware
Vmware SDDC on IBM Cloud N IBM
Azure VMware Solutions Y Microsoft

Hopefully that helps clear things up.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

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