VMworld 2016 Shows Real Progress in the Cloud

Jeff Byrne, Senior Analyst & Consultant

Another year, another VMworld. As 23,000+ attendees converged on Las Vegas this week, many vendors’ messaging was converging around the cloud. Whereas the past few VMworlds have focused to a large extent on messaging and solutions to improve data center storage, networking and security, this year’s focus shifted squarely to the cloud. Amid all the cloud hype, which has been growing for several years, a number of real vendor solutions have emerged.

IT buyers and practitioners we speak with love the enhanced agility, increased scalability and pay-as-you-go services the public cloud has to offer, but are often unwilling to give up the control and security they have over workloads running inside their data center walls. Many users consider private clouds, but are often unwilling and/or unable to make the investments required to build them. These two factors together have constrained the growth of enterprise clouds. More conservative IT shops are sticking to their current data center infrastructure and practices, while generally limiting public cloud usage to dev/test and other non-production workloads. Whereas most companies perceive an on-premises cloud to be an attractive idea, they have often found actual solutions to be out of their reach.

The vendor community has been listening, and is beginning to bring to market a range of solutions to address customers’ needs. VMware itself introduced Cloud Foundation this week, building off of its former EVO SDDC technology to deliver what amounts to a hyperconverged solution for the cloud. The primary benefit: customers no longer need to build out and stand up a private cloud on their own. They gain the benefits of cloud-like scalability and self-service provisioning, while maintaining security, compliance and control over key infrastructure and workloads.

With bundled VMware technologies for compute (vSphere), storage (Virtual SAN) and networking (NSX), VMware Cloud Foundation will accelerate companies’ private cloud deployments, by providing pre-integrated and pre-validated software-defined infrastructure. Customers will use SDDC Manager to rapidly configure and deploy the solution on their choice of servers, and will ultimately benefit from the management, orchestration and automation capabilities of the vRealize Suite when those become available for the offering early next year. Future cross-cloud services will allow users to take advantage of major public cloud offerings, including the ability to migrate workloads between clouds, helping to increase choice and flexibility and minimize the risk of lock-in.

Nutanix has laid out its own vision for enabling enterprise customers to enjoy the benefits of cloud services, from its NX Series hyperconverged platforms. The baseline story is similar to VMware’s: take advantage of cloud without having to invest in building and integrating your own private cloud, and run compatible infrastructure across your cloud and existing on-premises environments. Nutanix is still assembling the software components that will enable the full offering, including the recent acquisitions of PernixData technology (to enhance IO performance) and Calm.io (for workload mobility and DevOps automation).

These are just two examples of the cloud products and solutions vendors announced at VMworld this week, many of which are designed to ease the enablement of private cloud in the enterprise. To me, this is the latest evidence that the private/hybrid cloud market is beginning to transition from hype-and-vision to real solutions, which is bound to make IT teams happy.

Published by Jeff Byrne

Jeff brings to Taneja Group more than 25 years of marketing and operational experience at a variety of infrastructure software, systems and semiconductor companies. He focuses on all flavors of cloud and virtualization technologies, and also covers the intersection of these technologies with various types of storage. Jeff develops and leads primary research initiatives to help vendors better understand market trends and customer requirements, and in response, to adapt their products, solutions and messaging to more effectively address IT buyers’ needs. Jeff advises clients on issues ranging from product and competitive positioning to messaging and go-to-market programs, and helps companies to work through challenging product and technology transitions. Prior to joining Taneja Group, Jeff spent five years as Vice President of Marketing and later Vice President of Corporate Strategy at VMware, a leading provider of virtualization, cloud and mobility solutions acquired by EMC in 2004. Earlier in his career, Jeff held senior management positions at DG Systems, Dataquest, MIPS, and HP. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Computational Sciences from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard.

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