A handful of publicly-traded companies are vying for leadership in cloud computing, among them Amazon, VMware, Microsoft, and Rackspace. There is even a cloud ETF. That is why the current debate regarding the future of public, private, and hybrid cloud operating models is significant to the futures of these companies as well as many others in hardware, software, and colocation.
If the public cloud becomes the cloud of choice for enterprise IT pros, Amazon will have a commanding position in the evolution of the multi-trillion enterprise IT market. Likewise, if private cloud establishes market leadership, VMware could transform its leadership in server virtualization into cloud leadership and have even greater access to IT budgets. On the other hand, hybrid cloud promises the opportunity for VMware and others (including Microsoft and Rackspace) to establish leadership by delivering even greater levels of IT power and efficiency by integrating public and private cloud functionality into more powerful hybrid clouds.
A Tech Perspective
I discussed the eventual domination of powerful hybrid cloud operating models as well as more potential hybrid cloud players in Hybrid is a Whole New Cloud late last year. If hybrid cloud becomes the cloud of choice for the enterprise, you can expect cloud integration to eventually replace cloud migration as a leading solution. While migration supports the migration of apps into public clouds, cloud integration supports cloud migration, cloud failover, devtest cloud (or cloud cloning) and the potential of cloud bursting. Migration is a great start, especially for unmodified, traditional apps; but truly leveraging the cloud as an extension of the data center is the ultimate payoff.
CloudVelocity’s Chief Software Architect Panos Tsirigoti recently blogged about The Power of Hybrid Cloud Deployment, which takes this even further, including how hybrid cloud deployment will deliver solutions and benefits beyond the reach of public and private-confined clouds.
The Hybrid Cloud Gap
Separating all of these companies (Amazon, VMware, Microsoft and Rackspace) from the payoff of hybrid cloud market leadership is a vast gulf of manual processes, starting with hybrid cloud assessment intelligence (determining which apps and services would be impacted and should be integrated into the hybrid cloud), the blueprinting of the critical apps and services, and provisioning, synchronization, and service initiation between data centers and clouds. Until this gap is automated, Amazon and VMware are in commanding public and private cloud positions, and it will be difficult for others to threaten that leadership.
Currently this gap is being serviced by a host of cloud migration consultants. A typical migration of a multi-tier enterprise application (without modification of the app itself, including virtualization) can take months and can carry substantial risks. Yet cloud migration itself isn’t enough to deliver on the hybrid cloud promise, as Panos blogged. Hybrid cloud will unleash new IT operating models and solutions that are impractical today.
A New Era: Cloud-Integrated Data Centers
That is why I think that hybrid cloud will eventually win and that it will usher in a new generation of IT solutions and operating models that will drive market caps and revenue from the slow to the bold This will include a new generation of software B2B startups that will automate the hybrid cloud gap and break down the barriers between enterprises and clouds and drive a new era of IT adoption: the cloud-integrated data center era. With that era will come the ability for enterprises to move into and between clouds at the push of a button or when certain conditions are met, while increasing the availability of critical apps and the power of how they are delivered.
Yet we are certainly early on in the evolution from public and private to hybrid cloud. The key solutions are in beta for the most part. Many experts also question how many private cloud deployments are truly clouds, arguing that server virtualization -even if across data centers- does not qualify for cloud status. That is why I think Panos’ blog is an especially noteworthy follow-on to another blog on hybrid cloud requirements by (Panos’ and my) teammate Anand Iyengar, CTO of CloudVelocity.
Action Item: Feel free to try the CloudVelocity cloud devtest trial software. For a limited time, we’re even picking up the AWS tab.