Tech giants Amazon and VMware are stepping on each other’s toes. Days ago, Amazon launched a management portal for vCenter -- aimed at poaching VMware's customers -- and VMware is up in arms about it.

The new portal promises to make Amazon Web Services (AWS) more accessible to the vCenter audience. In fact, Amazon boldly declared that VMware vCenter users will be comfortable in this new environment right away.

“I believe that IT Managers will find this blend of centralized control and cloud Relevant Products/Services power to be a potent mix,” Amazon Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post. “vCenter administrators can exercise full control over hybrid IT environments (both on-premises and EC2 instances) using a single UI. They have full control over cloud-based resources, and can dole out permissions to users on a per-environment basis, all coupled with single sign-on to existing Active Directory environments.”

VMware Fires Back

VMware responded on Monday with a blog post to counter Amazon’s bold move against the virtualization company. Chris Wolf, CTO of VMware, said he often hears about workloads that are initially developed on a particular cloud provider’s infrastructure that cannot be redeployed or migrated anywhere else.

“To be clear, nothing is technically impossible. It’s always a matter of the migration costs outweighing the benefits,” he said. “Many times organizations want to move workloads developed in a public cloud to their private cloud for reasons such as security Relevant Products/Services, compliance or lowering costs. In other cases, service stacks may need to be distributed globally to 40 or more countries and rebuilding those stacks on various infrastructures can cost millions.”

Wolf made it clear that rebuilding the management infrastructure is anything but “easy.” He said management dependencies are massive and are like a game of Jenga -- take one away and the whole service stack can come tumbling down. Those that have played Jenga know that rebuilding is a daunting task, and the same can be said for rebuilding an IT operational management stack, he said.

Cutting To the Chase

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the back and forth -- and what he sees as the truth of the matter. He said both companies are entering each other’s territory at a time when there is a growing divide between cloud service providers. One camp believes the cloud will eventually host everything and the other believes the future is hybrid clouds. Amazon is part of the former group. VMware is part of the latter group.

With its new tool, King noted, Amazon is promising to make it easy for IT administrators to move workloads and applications into and out of AWS with the touch of a button. VMware, he continued, is reasonably stating that allowing administrators that kind of ease of access can be potentially dangerous if the administrators are acting without regard to governance Relevant Products/Services and compliance policies.

“There certainly are competitive issues here and I expect this kind of wrangling to continue, not just between VMware and Amazon but also between Amazon and other public or hybrid cloud service providers,” King said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what happens if and when customers stand up and say ‘Enough is enough, we want to run our clouds our way. Thanks for the tools Amazon, we’re not really interested.’ ”