When Marc Andreessen wrote “software is eating the world” in 2011, he predicted the reality we have experienced over the last decade. During it, developers around the world have transformed businesses by writing innovative software that changed how companies empower their employees and engage with their customers. Developers are indeed in the driver’s seat, and because they are the ones writing software, if I had to rewrite Marc’s famous quote today, I would say “developers are eating the world.”
Software has disrupted industries in profound ways, and there’s more change afoot. If your company isn’t doing everything it can to make developers’ lives easier and more productive, you might find your business is disrupted next.
More specifically, if your company isn’t innovating by building new apps in the cloud, it’s unlikely to be competitive, period. Let me explain why.
Developers Are Eating the World
The job of making developers successful is now a high priority for business leaders and IT operators alike because developers build the applications that enable organizations to innovate, grow, lower costs and turn profits. Today, companies that prioritize customer experience via applications enjoy a 37 percent revenue increase on average.
Yet because developers just want to do their work, they’ve leaned heavily into the path of least resistance which is the cloud. A big benefit of cloud resources for developers is not having to wait for IT to provision infrastructure, tools or capacity. Over the last decade, cloud adoption has risen steadily due to developer preference for cloud as a way to deliver agility, cost and innovation benefits.
In short, developers drive the business, and the business is in the cloud.
The Multi-Cloud Dilemma
The reasons most often cited for adopting more than one cloud include:
- Developer productivity
- Ability to leverage the differentiated innovation of each cloud (e.g., AI/ML, analytics, etc.)
- Avoiding vendor lock-in
73 percent of enterprises are already
using two or more public clouds
As I talk to customers, I realize that many are multi-cloud by accident, and because of it are thinking about cloud emotionally. For example, they are experiencing feelings of:
- Denial – We are an AWS (or other hyperscaler) shop exclusively.
- Euphoria – Look how fast our developers go! Life is good!
- Panic – The first bill or the first security audit arrived, and it is not what they anticipated. What do we do now?
- Acceptance – Multi-cloud is the new normal. We need to get in front of this.
- Enlightenment – Multi-cloud is our strategy and we are going to be smart about it.
Those in the final two categories are most likely to recognize the advantages of multi-cloud first. Yet, no group is immune from having to deal with the primary cloud challenge which is every cloud is different—on purpose; being distinct is how hyperscalers will succeed.
What this means is that each cloud creates its own silo with different infrastructure stacks, different ways of building applications, and different management and security technologies. So, if you are an organization that has an on-premises data center and say two clouds, you need to train your teams (developers, operators, SecOps…) across different stacks, which results is high costs and ultimately business friction as things slow down over time.
This is not going to get better on its own anytime soon. Multi-cloud is the pervasive IT architecture today and for the foreseeable future.
A new approach is required, an approach that simplifies and unifies technologies across all clouds.
Abstraction Scales Adoption When You Make Good Tradeoffs
The key to simplifying IT architectures is creating abstraction layers that factor out and unify common features across different technology stacks. IT history is full of examples of technologies that scaled adoption and delivered tremendous value when the lower-level technologies were simplified by abstraction:
- C++ (only a few developers can build Windows-based applications) vs. Visual Basic (millions of developers can develop Windows applications)
- Traditional application integration (only highly skilled IT professionals can connect and integrate enterprise applications) vs. Web Services/SOA (millions of developers can now decompose and reuse any piece of an enterprise app to create new interesting workflows)
- Physical server resources vs. Java Virtual Machines (unleashing Java application portability)
- And the ultimate example: Physical servers and storage vs. virtualization (hypervisors decoupling physical servers from applications, unleashing unprecedented agility and business value)
Just as the business never cared about what hardware ran SAP’s ERP functionality, the business doesn’t care what cloud is running what application, just that every application is securely available 24×7 and delivers business results.
Abstractions allow technology to scale and deliver higher value at lower costs.
Multi-Cloud Needs and Abstraction
Businesses won’t be able to sustain training teams on three or four different public cloud stacks—all with different operational procedures, security, networking, management, and more. It’s too costly and the burden on talent will be too high. That’s why organizations are looking to team with—and investors are betting on—companies solving multi-cloud challenges.
IT leaders agree, as we see in
History repeats itself, and at VMware, we believe that multi-cloud success depends on creating a new level of abstraction. In the newly released executive outlook The Era of Multi-Cloud Services Has Arrived, we outlined five key areas needed in multi-cloud services:
- Application services
- Infrastructure services
- Security services
- End-user services
- Data plane services
VMware Cross-Cloud Services
Because an abstraction layer is desperately needed, our VMware team and our ecosystem partners have been hard at work creating a horizontal layer that simplifies all aspects of cloud: development, monitoring, management and operations, security, networking and more.
theCUBE and others refer to the use of multiple clouds and cloud services as Supercloud, and it’s happening worldwide. Even the hyperscalers are gearing up for it. At VMware, we call our solution for solving multi-cloud challenges VMware Cross-Cloud services, a portfolio of cloud native services that deliver a unified and simplified way to build, operate, access and secure any application on any cloud from any device.
VMware Cross-Cloud services is the level of abstraction customers need to tame the complexity of multi-cloud and accelerate their digital businesses.
This is what we do at VMware. We have the DNA and a history of harmonizing technology stacks that were not designed to work together. On-prem, we did it with the hypervisor; in the cloud, we do it at a higher level using open standards and open-source software, the lingua franca of the public cloud.
Cross-Cloud services empowers enterprise leaders to take a pragmatic approach to cloud adoption. They can adopt at their preferred pace—starting with Kubernetes on-prem on VMware vSphere, for example, or building a new cloud native app with VMware Tanzu from the start. There’s no magical place to begin, but it’s important that your business gets started soon.
Change is afoot and developers are in the driver’s seat. Cross-Cloud services is a smart way to start doing everything you can to make the work of your developers and operators easier and more productive so your business keeps its competitive edge.
Additional resources for you
VMware Cross-Cloud services: Learn about our portfolio of services for building, running, managing, and securing applications across multiple clouds.
VMware Research and Insights: Read the ebook to learn why enterprises find multi-cloud strategies critical for success.