After a 3 year hiatus from VMworld (It’s been that long since I left VMware?) I spent some time this morning catching up on the announcements from VMworld 2018 with theCUBE/Wikibon team. I found the discussion of multi-cloud interesting in that there didn’t seem to be a good definition of the term that the discussion was based on (if I’ve missed that from the analysts during my hiatus, hopefully one of them will post a link to their definitions). So I figured I would also break my blogging hiatus to share some thoughts here.
In my opinion, when you’re talking about multi-cloud there is another level of definition that is needed which indicates who the decision maker is regarding multi-cloud (and thus what their functional needs are). This loosely connects which layer in the aaS stack you’re referring to running across multiple clouds:
- Enterprise IT decision makers, in their evolved role as a cloud consultant to their BU customers, are thinking of multiple cloud vendors to choose from based on the workload’s (aka, application’s) needs versus cost points (multi-cloud IaaS). This is largely a vendor management function; just like how the larger, sophisticated enterprises had near equal number of Dell and HP servers in their data center 10 years ago (or was that just 5 years ago?) to get better price points during contract negotiations.
- Application Team decision makers, in their drive to get to market faster and scale their applications continue utilizing DevOps and service architectures which pull application functionality from multiple cloud based platforms, build their application using functionality from multiple cloud services (multi-cloud PaaS), or run their functionality on multiple cloud IaaS as a shadow IT or customer of Private Cloud IT teams.
- Discussions of multi-cloud SaaS is moot because by definition the decision maker of which SaaS application to use doesn’t really care where it is run, just that it’s available. Their focus is on the application functionality to meet their business needs. All the multi-cloud discussion is below them.
The difference between Enterprise IT multi-cloud IaaS and DevOps multi-cloud IaaS is that Enterprise IT is most likely running legacy workloads that are not service based (VM is the finest grained abstraction) where DevOps is running the service based applications that their developers are building using CD/CI methodologies (containers are the finest grained abstraction).
Enterprise IT multi-cloud is sticky by nature…but as the shrinking legacy bulk will eventually go away (you know, like the mainframe…)
DevOps multi-cloud is dynamic (easy to move) by nature…this is the elusive future opportunity which creates a challenge for technology vendors because of the lack of stickiness. But is another important reason why this application development methodology is so important to enterprises who still see software as a key differentiator for them in their industries.