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Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy (left) and VMware CEO Patrick Gelsinger, introducing a partnership between the two companies in October 2016. (GeekWire photo)

VMware customers who would like to get in on some of the benefits of cloud computing without having to rip up existing investments around VMware’s data center management software have new options after its partnership with Amazon Web Services became generally available on Monday.

First announced last October, the VMware-AWS partnership is another sign that hybrid cloud is here to stay. The general availability of the service, announced ahead of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger’s opening keynote at VMworld on Monday, allows vSphere customers to manage their applications across environments, adding the AWS public cloud as an option for the workloads that make the most sense in the cloud.

There was a time when AWS saw itself as a competitor to companies like VMware, which has been selling data center management software to customers running on-premises workloads for a decade. But attitudes have changed on both sides of that divide over the last few years, as AWS realized that big enterprise companies wanted to take advantage of some aspects of cloud computing yet had no interest in starting from scratch after years of investments in those data centers. And VMware realized that not only does cloud computing make sense for a growing number of customers, it wasn’t going to be able to compete with AWS in the cloud.

That led to last year’s partnership agreement, and the general availability of this service (which will be sold by VMware) is likely not the last product to emerge from that partnership. AWS is reportedly considering building a product that would run in VMware-powered data centers — a pretty strategic shift of development resources — and enable access to the AWS cloud, similar to Microsoft’s Azure Stack.

VMware announced a few other items ahead of its big partner and customer show in Las Vegas. AppDefense is a new product for data center security integrated into the vSphere management software. Vmware customers managing hybrid cloud deployments also have some new tools with Cost Insight, which tracks and analyzes spending on cloud services, and Discovery, which helps managers track workloads across cloud and on-premises hardware.

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