Given the proliferation of VMware across the enterprise extending the reach of that virtual machine platform into the cloud should be a no brainer. In reality, that process has been more arduous than most providers of managed services would have liked.

The good news is that VMware is finally gaining enough cloud critical mass to make it worthwhile for MSPs to extend the reach of their VMware services. While MSPs currently make a lot of money managing instances of VMware on premise, the number of options for deploying VMware in the cloud has been comparatively limited.

Initially, VMware has sought to partner with cloud service providers to accomplish that goal. But many cloud service providers prefer open source virtual machines because they would rather not have to incur licensing fees for virtual machine software. As a result, it took VMware a little while to roll out its own cloud service based on VMware, which beyond being deployed in the U.S. and U.K. will soon be available in Japan.

Mathew Lodge, vice president of cloud services for VMware, says one of the things that differentiates the VMware cloud service is that it provides customers with more granular control over the cloud environment using the same VMware vSphere management platform they use to manage virtual machines running on premise. Instead of offering customers a limited range of deployment options, Lodge says VMware vCloud Hybrid Service doesn’t force customers to over provision cloud resources.

In addition, Lodge says VMware pays a lot more attention to the onboarding process in order to make sure that its customers can create a cloud computing environment that seamlessly integrates with on premise versions of VMware.

Finally, Lodge notes that VMware has also done all the heavy lifting associated with creating a disaster recovery-as-a-a-service (DRaaS) offering that partners can easily leverage to provide an application that provides value to customers that have deployed VMware on premise.

In terms of making it easier for VMware partners to expand the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, Lodge also notes that VMware make certain to define a full set of application programming interfaces (APIs) before rolling out a service. Those APIs are critical to make it simpler for VMware partners and customers to consume additional services as VMware continues to roll them out.

At the end of the day VMware is making the case for not using the cloud to create yet another silo of computing that has to be managed in isolation. Instead, Lodge contends that the cloud should be a natural extension of the virtual machine environment most customers already have deployed today. For MSPs that don’t necessarily want to invest in either building their own data centers to provide access to cloud services or partner with another cloud service provider beyond VMware, keeping things as MSP simple in the cloud as possible can make a lot sense.

Mike Vizard is a veteran IT journalist, former Editor in Chief of CRN and InfoWorld, and an IT industry market expert who has chronicled the information technology revolution over many decades, from DEC to Google.