At VMworld the Hybrid cloud takes centre stage

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Aug 27, 2019

  • VMware has been explaining itself, announcing acquisitions and making announcements
  • It all adds up to a concerted effort to be the spear-carrier for hybrid cloud
  • But the plethora of software platform announcements illustrates the scope required... and the difficulties inherent

The ‘cloud market’ has moved on and up the stack as an apparently sudden rivalry breaks out between VMware and Red Hat. In fact these two have been strategic competitors for quite some time, it’s just that the conduct their customers prefer means that in this market, major rivals tend not slag each other off. (It may be difficult enough for customers to thread their way through the techno-thickets and marketing esotrics without ugly claims and counterclaims making life even more difficult). 

So, whereas a couple of years ago we measured cloud development according to how much cloud capacity was being leased by and to who (Amazon Web Services; Google, Microsoft Azure etc), today an important additional element in the competition dynamics has skipped up a layer or two. The operating models of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud mean that the multi-cloud software platform becomes key if you want influence in the enterprise market in particular (perhaps, as a simple example, for many of the same reasons as operating system dominance bossed the PC and then the smartphone markets). 

As with those two markets the difference between dominance and abject failure was developer sentiment. If the devs liked you, you had a much better chance, if you managed to annoy them off you probably lost. 

So platform software development is important and so too is asset expansion to protect and enhance the platform. 

VMware has just completed two important moves in this direction. 

It’s set the wheels in motion to buy a long-standing partner, Pivotal Software, in a deal worth $2.7 billion. Pivotal specialises in cloud native software and Kubernetes container technology: “Kubernetes is emerging as the de facto standard for multi-cloud modern apps,” says Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware. “Adding Pivotal to our platform, accelerates our broader ‘Any Cloud, Any App, Any Device’ vision and reinforces our leadership position in modern multi-cloud IT infrastructure.”

It is also in the process of buying Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) specialist  Carbon Black ( $2.1 billion) to enhance its platform security story. It claims Carbon Black is complementary to the several existing VMware security products. 

This is not a simple business to be in

This week, VMware has been orchestrating VMworld 2019 in San Francisco where it’s been introducing and explaining both its approach and all the moving parts necessary to construct a workable ‘Any Cloud, Any App, Any Device’ platform on a consistent infrastructure. 

One important announcement amongst many was the launch of VMware Tanzu which sets out to integrate VMware and Kubernetes deployments. One Tanzu product is called Tanzu Mission Control, which offers management control across public clouds and managed services, enabling  one-click policy management for operators.

At this stage in the cloud’s development, the concept of the ‘hybrid cloud’ has come to stay. This is not a market struggling with too many different standards and approaches and waiting for a Darwinian winnowing of the least fit and an elevation of the most deserving. 

Enterprises have learnt that a successful strategy must involve aligning diverse workloads with the right cloud technologies to properly optimise their enterprise applications. As a result, nearly two-thirds of cloud buyers are seeking a cloud model that spans the datacenter, cloud and edge. According to VMware, what they want is a hybrid solution - get that right and the rewards are there, or as VMware would have it, “Hybrid cloud is unlocking unprecedented opportunities for businesses to leverage nearly infinite resources across the data center, cloud and edge.”

AT VMworld VMware is laying out all the avenues that need exploring and bases that require covering to make good on the ‘hybrid cloud’ platform concept. Amongst the many enhancements to its current tool kit is ‘self-driving operations’, which includes a range of  optimisation techniques, including “Intent-Driven continuous performance optimization, more efficient capacity management, intelligent remediation and integrated compliance and configuration.” 

There’s ‘Hybrid Cloud Automation’ which is aimed at automating self service deployment and ‘Day 2’ operations of complex applications for customers looking to enhance operational agility. The list goes on. Read it here.

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