Jeff Byrne, Senior Analyst & Consultant
This week at VMworld we heard lots of talk about what it takes to deliver an effective private cloud infrastructure. Several vendors came to the table with new private cloud strategies and offerings, promising to make private clouds simpler to build, deploy and manage (see related blog, “VMworld 2016 Shows Real Progress in the Cloud”). On the flip side, a number of IT practitioners expressed their views on what they are looking for in a private cloud infrastructure.
Most of the end user perspectives we heard at VMworld echoed the key findings from our recently completed global cloud research, which included more than 600 IT buyers and practitioners from a broad cross section of organization sizes and industries. Proven and resilient infrastructure appears to be a big “Duh” for both business units (users) and IT staff (practitioners) – it goes without saying. The prevailing attitude seems to be, why accept any less availability, performance or security than I enjoy in my current data center infrastructure?
IT buyers and practitioners are most concerned about three key attributes: scalability, cost and control. The private cloud infrastructure must scale seamlessly in both performance and capacity, and must be cost effective to run and maintain. IT staffers also focus heavily on the ability to manage and control the environment – they have signed up for the private cloud and must deliver. In particular, roughly 40% of our survey respondents called out the ability to better control and meet application service level commitments (SLAs).
Users, on the other hand, place the biggest emphasis on two capabilities: self-service and workload migration. It’s not surprising that nearly two-thirds of our respondents are keen on achieving self-service provisioning and deployment; at the end of the day, that’s what the cloud is all about. What’s more surprising, at least to us, is that 45% of users identified the ability to transparently move workloads as a key tenet of the cloud. This includes moving current workloads on to a private cloud, but more importantly, the ability down the road to easily migrate those workloads among multiple clouds—whether private, public or hybrid. Users are clearly looking for choice and flexibility in where they deploy their favorite or critical apps, but they are also concerned about avoiding lock-in to any particular cloud provider.
Overall, the strategy and offerings announced this week by vendors such as VMware and Nutanix appear to be hitting the mark when it comes to key IT and user requirements. Of course, we won’t know for sure until these solutions become more widely deployed. We are hoping that the promise of broad-based private cloud adoption—which has been on the table at VMworld for the past five years—will soon be realized. Customers deserve nothing less.