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All the World Is an EMC Cloud

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With the news that EMC has bought Virtustream (to be completed near the end of the year), the cloud landscape does not change very much in the short term; however, in the long term, the EMC family has its work cut out for it to integrate all its cloud solutions. The EMC family currently has three, if not more, cloud options available to its customers from VMware, EMC, and now Virtustream, and the last is handled quite differently. This will cause some issues if people want to move between the various clouds. Those issues including billing, management, and technology.

Three products within two companies meet all your cloud needs: or do they? Outside of integration issues, the first blush is that now EMC has a cloud portfolio that covers on-premises and off-premises workloads, as well as the most secure high-end business critical workloads. Whether or not the EMC Hybrid Cloud will branch out to use Virtustream as its cloud component is a wait-and-see, but I expect this is exactly what will happen. EMC’s target for cloud at the moment is the largest customers. But its ultimate goal is for IT Transformation to be performed for companies of all sizes. Virtustream adds strength to its high-end story.

EMC Hybrid Cloud

EMC Hybrid Cloud is an architecture and a collection of tools for building and deploying a hybrid cloud. In fact, it is more than that: this product is used as a major component of EMC’s IT Transformation initiative. Through this initiative, EMC is working with large companies to transform their businesses to be based on a hybrid cloud. Generally, this hybrid cloud is built upon VMware vSphere. However, the main goal is to use this product as the lead-in to transform an organization to use a hybrid cloud. There is quite a bit of education required to transform an organization, and the EMC Hybrid Cloud is one of the technical tools that enables that transformation.

How the EMC Hybrid Cloud is formed depends on an organization’s acceptance of IT Transformation and on how much transformation will take place. At the very least, EMC Hybrid Cloud can have showback capability for capacity and other planning.

The Cloudscaling team provides a pool of folks ready to perform IT Transformation and to create OpenStack clouds based on either VMware vSphere or other hypervisors.

VMware vCloud Air

VMware vCloud Air is a logical extension of the EMC Hybrid Cloud if that cloud is based on VMware vSphere. vCloud Air provides another way to move easily into a hybrid cloud, this one run by VMware and built on vSphere. VMware vCloud Air provides an easy path to the cloud, but it does require changes in how you manage your environments. The technology is the easy part, but the way you run things is by changing people and process. This is where IT Transformation is critical. While technology may change, it is the process and procedures around the technology that are crucial.

VMware vCloud Air bills on all the resources you use.

Virtustream

Virtustream is seen as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud that may or may not be part of a hybrid cloud. It is also a managed server IaaS cloud, where Virtustream aids its customers in designing the proper cloud for the workloads to be used. These workloads are often business critical workloads. The most prominent workloads are SAP and SAP HANA, which require planning before placing within a cloud. Virtustream has done all that planning for everyone. It is very good at putting planning into a cloud mission and business critical workloads.

Virtustream also concentrates quite a bit on security, which is required by business critical applications. Nearly everything it does has a security angle, so that even the toughest compliance can be met.

Lastly, Virtustream bills quite a bit differently than other clouds. It has come up with a unit of measure that includes all resources within that unit. You “rent” units from Virtustream, and it converts those units into workloads of the appropriate type. This approach to billing is usually at odds with other approaches.

Virtustream is much more than a cloud; it also has its own cloud management suite built upon VMware vSphere. This also looks at everything as a unit of measure.

Tying It All Together

While Virtustream, VMware vCloud Air, and EMC Hybrid Cloud could all be built upon VMware vSphere technology, they each manage things quite differently. I can see customers starting with EMC Hybrid Cloud as they undertake IT Transformation, transitioning into VMware vCloud Air, and finally using Virtustream for high-end business critical applications. In this scenario, there is a gap between vCloud Air and Virtustream related to billing. A more important issue is the question of how to migrate from one EMC family product to another without needing to reinvent the wheel. Will you have to reimport all your data? Or will Virtustream, VMware vCloud Air, and EMC Hybrid Cloud remain separate entities controlled by EMC and VMware separately instead of becoming one total cloud picture for all companies wanting to use the EMC family of products?

Personally, I would like to see integration points as well as transition capabilities from EMC Hybrid Cloud to either Virtustream or VMware vCloud Air, and vice versa. Perhaps xStream will be that combined management interface.

What this does is give the EMC family a range of products and services through which the top end provides a ready-made secure hybrid cloud designed for some of the most demanding business critical workloads that exist. What is to be seen is how this ties into the EMC family of existing products. The easiest integration will be within the EMC Hybrid Cloud. Virtustream now becomes a destination cloud for those who wish to fully embrace IT Transformation. In addition, Virtustream’s xStream product would fit within the EMC Hybrid Cloud as yet another option for its customers.

Now, the EMC family of cloud services covers on-premises with EMC Hybrid Cloud, with the ability to branch into VMware vCloud Air or the high end of clouds with Virtustream. It is quite a portfolio: one that offers quite a few professional services opportunities as well as managed services while leveraging Virtustream’s expertise in IT Transformation around business critical applications.

The Future of EMC Clouds

EMC continues to strengthen its messaging around IT Transformation with its recent spate of purchases as well as its investment in Pivotal. EMC is on the leading edge of IT Transformation and the creation of the next generation of cloud-based applications: third-generation applications. It is even practicing IT Transformation, Infrastructure as Code (EMC {code}), and third-generation applications within its own IT department. That knowledge, shared with Cloudscaling, Virtustream, etc., is a major piece of EMC’s vision of the future. Since it transformed its own IT environment, it has the skills to help others with IT Transformation.

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Edward Haletky
Edward L. Haletky aka Texiwill is an analyst, author, architect, technologist, and out of the box thinker. As an analyst, Edward looks at all things IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Security, and DevOps. As an architect, Edward creates peer-reviewed reference architectures for hybrid cloud, cloud native applications, and many other aspects of the modern business. As an author he has written about virtualization and security. As a technologist, Edward creates code prototypes for parts of those architectures. Edward is solving today's problems in an implementable fashion.
Edward Haletky

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