It’s been a busy few weeks for hybrid at VMware, with the announcement of vCloud Air’s general availability in Germany, the win at the UK Cloud awards and its availability on G-Cloud 6. We caught up with VMware’s chief technologist and evangelist for hybrid cloud, Simone Brunozzi, and in the first part of an exclusive Q&A, he discusses the advantages of hybrid cloud for enterprise and start-up customers compared to pure public cloud environments.
What does the hybrid cloud enable enterprise customers to do?
Essentially it allows enterprise customers to reap all the benefits of cloud computing, something that can be tricky with pure public cloud due to existing workloads and not wanting to disrupt the business.
Enterprise customers want to have workloads in the cloud. They want to be able to manage all those workloads with the same tools, and they want those environments to be interchangeable. They have to make sure that those different environments don’t translate into isolated teams of people that don’t talk or share resources with each other. They’re looking for a unified view of IT which includes public cloud environments as well as in-house environments.
Hybrid cloud can do this, offering greater agility, the ability to ramp up capacity on demand, the ability to change that capacity without committing for three years or five years to a specific infrastructure. Enterprises gain flexibility and can adjust the amount they are spending on infrastructure, and that flexibility speeds time to market.
What would you consider the most important aspects of Hybrid Cloud?
Enterprises are attracted to its full compatibility with existing workloads in the data center and in cloud environments.
The public cloud is often used for quick projects to see if something works. Is there a danger enterprises are locking themselves into an environment that then becomes difficult to move to in-house IT?
It is very easy to start projects on public cloud platforms; some claim to get you started in 55 seconds or less. The problem occurs when I want to move these projects into production on a private cloud, and need to adhere to the corporate security and compliance.
What matters is how easily it can be moved to another environment. This is one of the advantages of VMware vCloud Air over other cloud providers. If the environment is the same, you can actually decide if you want to leave it there or bring it back in-house. Bear in mind, the cost of migration often lies in applications, not workloads.
Of course, the cloud we provide is an enterprise class cloud with enterprise features, which means we’re committing a lot of resources to developing security, enabling compliance, governance, certifications and more. So we want that environment to be as secure and compliant, if not more, than the environment you have in-house.
You spent a lot of time with startups in your previous job at Amazon. Are you still able to leverage that experience in your new position?
I still keep in touch with a lot of startups and mentor for a couple of accelerators, most notably TechStars, though in my previous role the startups were usually working on consumer applications. Therefore, they were particularly interested in rapid scale and rapid provisioning and de-provisioning. Now I deal with more with startups in the enterprise space.
Do startups need to worry about locking themselves into public clouds?
If you start in a relatively greenfield scenario or if the architecture you have is relatively simple, it shouldn’t be too difficult to move between public and private. If, on the other hand, it’s the usual Oracle, SAP, or IBM stack, then it is much harder.
Dropbox, which is considered a frontrunner in the cloud space, previously ran the majority of its workloads in the public cloud. Now, it is now only doing this for a small portion of its workloads, with the rest being hosted in its own private cloud environment. This gives the company advantages over the public cloud due to the scale of the business and its specialisation requirements.
In short, public clouds are not yet competitive with properly-run private environments, especially if the company has specialised needs, as a private cloud infrastructure allows them to squeeze more performance out of the same amount of money.
To hear more from Simone, keep an eye out on the blog over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can learn more about VMware vCloud Air at http://vcloud.vmware.com/