A New Fiscal Year and a Hybrid Future

It is that time of the year where the conference season has ended and a good number of companies are entering into a new fiscal year. As such, it might be a good time to look back over the year and get some insight into what 2017 might have in store for the information technology industry and the engineers who support it.

One thing that was a little different this year was the VMworld conferences themselves. Is it just me, or did there seem to be a little bit of a role reversal between VMworld 2016 US and VMworld 2016 Europe? It appeared to me that VMworld 2016 Europe in Barcelona was the better of the two conferences when it came to announcements and new information to share with the community. I guess we here in the states have become a little spoiled in that the US conference tended to be loaded with new announcements and the Europe show seemed to get the hand-me-down information, although I do believe the foundation of VMware’s vision of the future was presented in Las Vegas when VMware starting talking about “cross-cloud.”

My friend and colleague Edward Haletky recently wrote: “As we hear more about VMware, AWS, and IBM, a new story emerges. VMware is talking about cross-cloud management. VMware is also talking about cloud-native applications. VMware is also talking about how you go from the data center to the cloud. VMware is talking about how to transform into a hybrid cloud.” In my opinion, VMware is not really that interested in a cloud, but is looking to establish itself as the cross-cloud monarch. The partnerships with IBM and AWS will help the companies that rely on VMware technology, which offers a method and ability to scale out or scale up into the public cloud. But let me be clear: its interest is not in scaling up not to a single public cloud, but rather in scaling up to multiple cloud providers and providing corporations a path to a true hybrid infrastructure.

Cleveland Research has reported that its research seems to indicate that technology deal sizes are growing as enterprise app migrations are increasing and companies are seeing opportunities to utilize multiple vendors heading into 2017. Cleveland Research had some key takeaways from the third quarter Cloud Insight report that are worth sharing:

  1. Partners pointing to greater adoption for multivendor cloud environments with growing interest for Microsoft and Google; discussions noting greater incidences of vendors trying to take business direct.
  2. Feedback suggesting more discussions regarding seasonal activity levels for public cloud migration; seeing some instances of lengthening sales cycles as mix shifts to traditional enterprise customers.
  3. Future outlook remains favorable—vendors characterizing 2017 outlooks as showing similar moderation as seen in 2016; partners continue to increase investments into cloud business to support growing backlogs.

The Cloud Insight report also indicates that the creation of solutions and tools to manage a multicloud environment is seen as one of the top actions that need to be taken. This is one area in which I believe VMware has a true strategic and technological advantage over its competitors. The report also indicates that customers appear to be more interested in identifying the different specialty areas or the strengths and weaknesses highlighted. The Cloud Insight report also indicates that some of the most rapidly adopted new features or technologies are:

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)
  2. Cloud machine learning or predication API (pattern-matching and machine learning services)
  3. Blockchain technology
  4. Containers
  5. Bare metal cloud

Multicloud environments are nothing new today when you consider Software as a Service (SaaS) as part of the multicloud definition. What is new is that multicloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions are becoming the new norm and the trend for the future. The initial feedback on the VMware-Amazon partnership has been positive from VMware customers. Customers report that they will be able run their VMware environments on physical hardware in AWS, while still taking advantage of AWS economics and innovation. The entire roster of AWS compute, storage, database, analytics, mobile, and IoT services will be directly accessible from VMware applications. Although there is a lot of hype about the VMware-Amazon partnership, the VMware-IBM partnership has been seeing positive energy and growth. In this partnership, IBM agreed to utilize VMware technology for the IBM cloud platform; in exchange, VMware has agreed to have its sales representatives make the push for the IBM cloud to VMware’s customers, to help push into the hybrid cloud.


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