Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Google opens its arms to VMware and Microsoft 365

Google has offered VMware in the cloud and brought support for Microsoft 365 to Linux, which Microsoft itself never did.

On the last day of January, there was an unexpected announcement on Google’s open source blog. Google Cloud Engine customers can now choose to use VMware ESXi as the underlying hypervisor.

To date, Google Cloud Engine has been running on the KVM hypervisor, and the company has detailed the measures it has taken in the past to harden this – possibly in response to previous security issues that have hit the service.

The new service is called Google Cloud VMware Engine, and the company also offers a short description [PDF] describes some of the supported tools including Veeam, Cohesity and NetApp. Whether it’s clusters of bare metal ESXi instances or running VMware under nested virtualization, we’re not sure what the company supports and what’s possible.

The new VMware engine also supports automated infrastructure management with Terraform if Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is your thing. Those more used to rather smaller deployments may know Hashicorp as Vagrant’s providers.

With the announcement that ChromeOS will support Microsoft 365 directly “later this year,” Google is also opening up and welcoming competitors on the client side.

That doesn’t mean you can install local versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on Chromebooks. (Though we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that you can do this with Crossover, which supports ChromeOS.) That means ChromeOS supports the Progressive Web App versions you’ll find on and, more importantly is, integrate Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage with the ChromeOS Files app.

That’s pretty significant, because even though Microsoft offers both 32-bit and 64-bit OneDrive clients, now also on ARM operating systems, six years after we reported poor performance on Linux, there’s still no official one OneDrive client for the open source operating system.

For that, penguinists still need to go to a third party or use the versatile rclone tool.

In these times of large-scale layoffs in the IT world, we may see more unlikely alliances of this kind between competing vendors as companies seek to reduce overlap and duplication between their offerings in order to cut costs. This may be good news for IT leaders, but it’s bad news for workers in the industry. ®

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