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vCloud Hybrid Service: Stop Thinking About Building a Cloud, Start Thinking About How to Consume It

By Massimo Re Ferre’

This is a repost from Massimo Re Ferre’s blog, IT 2.0

Last month, VMware announced the vCloud Hybrid Service (aka vCHS).

I have been keeping an eye on how this idea developed internally for a certain amount of time. I have been more closely involved since December last year when I participated in some “sausage making” summits (boy, those things are scaring if you are not used to them). And then I started working full time on it since roughly February this year. It’s been just 4 months but it feels like they have been 4 years. Intense to say the least.

I couldn’t be more excited. vCHS, welcome to this nasty cloud world.

By now, you should have already seen it but this is how the main dashboard looks like. For the records this is a “Dedicated Cloud” with 9 vDCs instantiated (only 3 are shown in the screenshot):

And this is a screenshot that shows all the Edge Gateways running on this “Dedicated Cloud” instance:

Many customers will get used to the screens above (albeit I can see them also consuming these resources in a more programmatic way). And I believe “consuming” is the key word here.

A software company that enters a service market is going to face a number of challenges. One of them is that there are a lot of people (internally and externally) that gravitate around the challenges of how to build a cloud. One of the reasons for which I have always been interested in this project from the get go is because it gives people (and me in this particular case) the luxury of exploring the opportunities to consume a cloud.

Take AWS for example and the people that gravitate around their service. There are (very) few geeks that keep wondering how the service works. However the vast majority of the people are not interested in that. They are just interested in what the service exposes. That’s very powerful if you ask me and unleash a lot of potential.

Do you see a pattern?

Challenges Vs Opportunities

Build Vs Consume

How Vs What

That’s in essence the value a public cloud can provide.

There is no doubt VMware will continue to build their own software stack with a focus on ease of use. After all the concept of the hybrid cloud requires, by definition, on-premise and off-premise cloud end-points. However this software industry (as a whole) is challenged in many ways. I won’t bore you too much about this but I have been lately thinking that the vendor that will win the on-premise battle in the next 5 years is not the one whose software is the best but the one whose software sucks the least (you’ll excuse the language). Having that said VMware is certainly up to the challenge to make the best software experience ever. As hard as it sounds.

But I am digressing. I have already ranted about the cost of building clouds. That’s not a trivial exercise. VMware took that out of the equation for you with vCHS. VMware has a bunch of smart engineers working on how to integrate all the pieces (that are not yet natively integrated or that will never be natively integrated for many reasons). These engineers have been building clouds for the last 10 years. They know these stuff. They do this day in and day out.

Now that we announced the service I will try to post more regularly in the coming future on its characteristics and how it differs from other clouds out there. In particular it is fascinating the challenge ahead to capture, potentially, all the workloads out there (existing and new).

So, in conclusion, my ask to you. As you will explore this service in the near future, please do not focus on the brand of the servers that have been used, the configuration of the storage or the bonding of the pNICs. Focus on how you can consume it without having to think how someone built it and is maintaining it for you. That part is already done.

In the meanwhile remember, forget about the “challenges on how to build“. Focus instead on the “opportunities of what to consume“.

Massimo.

P.S. This is probably the shortest post I ever wrote. Wow.

P.S.2 I didn’t even use the world “seamlessly”. Wow.

Massimo currently works as at VMware as a Staff Systems Engineer, vCloud Architect. He works with Service Providers and Outsourcers to help them shape their Public Cloud services roadmap based on VMware cloud technologies. Massimo also blogs about Next Generation IT Infrastructures on his personal blog, IT 2.0.