Coming off the VMworld 2015 conference this month it’s fairly apparent that VMware (VMW) is still firmly in control of the traditional enterprise data center. Despite nascent threats to supremacy in the form of OpenStack and Docker containers for the foreseeable future VMware appears to be firmly rooted at the center of the virtual IT universe.

As part of the launch of bevy of products intended to make the software-defined data center (SDDC) a reality across hybrid cloud computing environments, VMware is moving to make both OpenStack and containers a natural extension of the VMware universe.

In the case of OpenStack, that means the delivery of VMware Integrated OpenStack 2, which enables the OpenStack cloud framework to run on top of the VMware stack. Instead of deploying the all the elements of OpenStack, VMware is essentially making the case for using OpenStack application programming interfaces (APIs) on top of VMware virtual machines and virtual networking software.

In the case of containers, VMware is making it possible to both deploy containers on top of existing VMware virtual machines in the form of VMware vSphere Integrated Containers as well as a much lighter weight implementation of a virtual machine in the form of a VMware Photon Project, which has been stripped down to provide the bare essentials needed to run a container, noted Mark Chuang, senior director of Product Marketing and Product Management for VMware. In both cases, VMware is betting that IT organizations would much rather leverage existing VMware management frameworks to manage both virtual machines and containers than have to acquire, adopt and deploy new IT management frameworks.

In fact, perhaps the most significant trend that manifested itself at VMworld from a channel perspective was the number of third-party vendors that plugged one product or another into a VMware management console. Even vendors such as KEMP Technologies, a provider of application delivery controller (ADC) software, got on board. As load balancing software that manages how IT infrastructure resources are consumed by applications, ADCs address Layers 4 through 7 of any software-defined data center architecture. But from a sales perspective, it’s clear that customers want to be able to address that ADC functionality via a plug-in to VMware management console, said Christopher Baker, product marketing manager for KEMP Technologies.

For existing VMware partners the SDDC strategy being developed by VMware clearly provides a lot of opportunities to build and deploy IT solutions that extend the reach of VMware in multiple directions. The challenge facing VMware now making sure that its partners can actually execute on that strategy.