When Was the Cloud Born?

A recent whitepaper from VMware argues that it was in 2006 when the first cloud services came to market and the term “cloud” found its way into business vernacular. Back then, some 29 million workloads were managed by IT teams worldwide, with just two percent managed in any kind of cloud (and most of that was Salesforce—we’ve come a long way since then).  VMware introduced its first vCloud initiative in 2008 and its first full cloud management platform in 2011. If you’ll grant me 2006—and here’s my reason for this—then 2017 marks the start of cloud’s second decade. That makes this a “coming of age” story that naturally sets the table for today’s cross-cloud environments.

Today, VMware estimates 160 million workloads are being managed by IT shops worldwide, with 12 percent in private clouds, 15 percent in public clouds and increasing traffic between these and the traditional data center. Now that public cloud is a validated core platform for enterprise business, and more companies are committed to the digital transformation, what’s next for cloud?

The Era of Operational Maturity

While there’s lots of disruption at the periphery, the core computing platform—cloud—is finally a given and IT organizations now are focused on navigating a cross-cloud landscape to serve diverse stakeholders, from developers and DevOps to customers. Cloud operations and management, particularly automation, is key to gaining mastery over the decentralized world that public cloud has wrought.

Now that public clouds have become the developer’s platform of choice, vendors must be able to handle increased workloads.  Larger enterprises need innovation but must balance that with scale, stability and flexibility in their chosen environment. The optimal cloud management platform must deliver both cloud freedom and control.

In a recent study,  The Economist’s research division “The Intelligence Unit” found that the average enterprise IT team works on eight different clouds (For more on this, check out VMware CIO Bask Iyer’s “2017 Predictions“). That’s not the whole IT organization—that’s just one team, say, field operations or sales. And clearly it’s a cross-cloud world, as these organizations interact with each other and customers.

The Cloud Management Market is Changing

Cross-cloud is the future

The market is showing the strain of these shifts. Red Hat missed its earnings and had a kerfuffle around the exit of its CFO. BMC, arguably one of the oldest on the block with a heritage of some 30 years (mainframes anyone?) has a new CEO at the helm and went private. IBM hasn’t done a major update to its cloud orchestrator platform since August 2015.  In contrast, VMware is now delivering close to a 90-day release cadence of its  vRealize Suite Cloud Management Platform.

It seems the smaller vendors don’t quite have the heft for big enterprise customers looking for a single management console, while some of the biggest players in the market haven’t quite turned the cloud ship fast enough.

Are we in the era of the “just right” cloud vendor? Not to get all Goldilocks Complex, but I’d argue, obvious bias being what it is, that VMware is just right. Why does it matter? Because the age of operational maturity means companies are defaulting to the cloud for doing mission-critical business and creating new customer experiences.  This dramatically re-organizes how business gets done; companies are betting their brands and reputation on cloud.  Therefore cloud management and automation are critical to providing both freedom and control in a quickly decentralizing ‘cloud-first’ landscape.

The Future Depends on Smart Risks

You can’t innovate without risk, but make your risks the right ones. When it comes to managing your private and public clouds and tapping the power of automation for dramatic operational improvement, let VMware’s tenure and heft work for you. And analysts agree – Gartner highlights the VMware vRealize Suite for policy-based orchestration, IDC ranks us best in cloud systems management, and Forrester gives vRealize Automation high marks in particular. It’s no surprise then that while some competitors are missing earnings or consolidating their portfolios, VMware’s R&D investment has increased 24 percent from 2013 to 2015 (VMware 2015 Annual Report, page 37).

We’ve come a long way since 2006

VMware remains the trusted advisor for more than 500,000 customers globally; check out Why Choose VMware for more proof points and competitive differentiation.


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