When I was first introduced to the VMware Cloud on AWS (or short VMC) model about 6 months before the launch my first reaction was: „Is this going to be market relevant?“, then I thought „who is the winner? VMware or Amazon?“ and then „Are our more conservative european users going to adopt this?“. And I will come back to some of these points later in this post. Many of you may know my clear position on all the new cloud-native parts: „It‘s nice, but especially in EMEA we have more legacy apps than cloud native. When I even drill deeper into medium or larger enterprises or public customers it‘s getting worse as we even have lot‘s of applications no longer supported, or sometimes vendors don‘t exist anymore.“. And then there is my favorite, which people who said this don‘t admit this anymore: „Everything is moving into the cloud in X years.“.
Let‘s start right there: „Everything is moving into the cloud in X years.“.
I think as long as we consider X not to be a very large number (25+ years) by now nearly every major vendor and cloud provider had to admit that not everything will move into the cloud. So the conclusion: Everything is going back to On-Premises? No this is also not going to happen from my feeling… The new buzzword is hybrid or multi cloud and you really need to listen closely to the vendors on what they mean with there term.
As a VMware advocate or evangelist let’s take a close look in what this ecosystem has on the table… VMware has brought itself over the last few years in a perfect position I must admit that to Pat, Ray, Sanjay and Raghu and all the people who made their vision a reality. VMware is one of the rare vendors who have the most complete package (did I just say most complete? Yes and I will cover that in a different post later).
Hybrid is the new cloud, VMware gives it’s customers running massive amounts of different VM workloads the freedom of choice, whether you would like to run it continuously on-premises (we might call this a private cloud as well) or in the public cloud with currently over 4000 VMware Certified Cloud Providers or you want to leverage someone like Amazon (currently available as VMware Cloud on AWS) or Microsoft Azure (coming soon as of writing with Virtustream) or maybe in the future Google Cloud (honestly not my market at this point so no judgement on that part). All of which without any VM or Application conversion (which is very important!). Some other vendors tend to talk you into a migration or uplift or whatever term they use project which in nearly all cases means a different hypervisor, vm conversion and potentially an unsupported state for your application as a result. Be careful, the VMware differentiator is you can always move in and out of the cloud or between different clouds!
Next myth to bust: „Isn’t this all soon be irrelevant as everyone moves to cloud native? Or serverless or whatever?“
My take on this one? As much as I like those cloud native approaches and all the greatness we might get out of containers and other new technologies, the problem is people, change, legacy and partially even legal. So let‘s start with the last one as everyone wants the legal part out of the way ;-) There are legislations in some territories which require for businesses (trust me for public service it‘s even worse) that certain finance and other processing systems are kept available for 6 to 10 or more years. Great, so even if we were to move all to cloud native we need to keep the others available for a long period… Next legacy… Every corporation or public service has them: those legacy apps, I lately came across some Access 98 databases still running and critical workloads. Not even that ERP systems from companies no longer existing on database most under 40 have never even heard about. Those will not go away any time soon, similar to Mainframe technologies and IBM AS400 all declared dead, but still plenty of them around. People and change... this is the hardest part... People do not want to change, they like to keep everything the way they used to do it for the last 10+ years, sadly this can be the biggest blocking factor. And even here VMware has it's favor, moving into for example VMware Cloud on AWS feels and behaves almost as identical as if you were to use something on-premises, so less friction for change. The only difference you can't go into the basement anymore and hug your server, but you will get over it...
Okay off to the next: “Europeans are more conservative and will not move to the cloud?”
To be honest, for a long period I expected cloud adoption to be much slower than what we see now, I honestly admit that I thought even that Office 365 would not be taken market share that fast. I was wrong and now I very often ask customers whether some of the IT they do is really generating market differentiation? It comes down to the point whether operating a specific part of IT is a market differentiator for you? A while ago we started the journey for our company, for comdivision. Every IT application, every service, we validate whether it is a competitive advantage for us or not. You need an example? It’s simple: Does hosting your own email/exchange infrastructure give you a real advantage over your competitor? The answer for us was a clear NO. And this is what we advise our customers in cloud assessments we do, start to look at many of your internal IT offerings and identify those where you can easily say: No we are not getting business advantage from operating it in house. And don’t get me wrong, being able to operate something more cost effective in house could be a business advantage. In our case SAP, we can operate it more effective internally, especially as we customize it and have integration in several services which are on-premisses.
Back to the question, are europeans more conservative? The interesting answer I found in the last 6-12 months is a clear no! I talk to more and more medium sized and enterprise customers who look to go into the cloud at least with partial services, this does not always mean they go into one of the mega clouds, some look towards local service providers as well.
What is the most common question I have to answer? Can we go back? Can we move to someone else in case SLA’s don’t work out? And as long as you do this planned with the correct partners the answer can and should always be: Yes we can!
Who is the winner? VMware, Amazon, or any one else?
First of: None of the cloud vendors, being it the software / solution providers like VMware or the infrastructure providers like Amazon, Google etc. are in the business to fail. But there is someone we always tend to forget, the customer…
So who wins? Ultimate all of the above…
For VMware it opens the door to offer a competitive service together with the leading cloud platform out there. The Cloud Providers incl. Amazon as hybrid cloud is what customers really want. And finally the customer is in my opinion the biggest winner as they get choice! Choice so that they can decide which cloud to use, the on-premisses private cloud, the public cloud at any of the 4000+ VMware Cloud Providers or choose one of the mega clouds like Amazon or Microsoft without and this is highly important any change in the workload or process. Yes that is very important for all the legacy workloads: No need to make adjustments and ideally a way to move running workloads from private to public, between public and back from public to private.
comdivision and the cloud
What many don’t know, we at comdivision started originally in the early dot com era being one of the first application vendors with a fully WYSIWYG web based content management platform and we offered it back then purely as a SaaS offering. You could get it on-prem or in our datacenters, it was your choice. Before we took the decision to split of and sell that part of the business we had over 15.000 users on the platform in two datacenter availability zones. And all of that was running on VMware already back then. Why is this important? We know the other side of the fence, we know what’s important when operating datacenters to host customers. Which was the base for what we have as comdivision now for the last 10+ years, a group of highly skilled industry recognized people who help our customers to answer the most challenging IT questions. We see ourselves as an independent advisor, a trusted and strategic advisor, as we are not driven by license or cloud fees. We provide architecture, consulting and training services, as any journey to the cloud requires more than just a decision to start, it requires thoughtful architecture, hands on consulting while focusing also on training delivery ensuring that your IT team is not left out.
If your company wants to start, enhance or accelerate their cloud journey talk to us, we operate globally and are happy to start an active discussion how the cloud can be a competitive advantage, how you can free up your IT resources to do make an IT a competitive advantage of your daily business. We are ready when you are. Contact myself or Claudia Kriener to get in touch how we can help you on journey to the hybrid cloud.