VMware’s announcements in the recently concluded VMworld 2018 clearly highlights their transformation to focus on the multi-cloud enterprise market. At StackSense, we focus on multi-cloud as the underlying fabric for continuous innovation in the modern enterprise. We have been closely following VMware’s journey ever since AWS ushered in cloud computing and their rapid rise over the past decade. From initially dismissing cloud computing to claiming VMware as the enabler of the hybrid cloud to the multi-cloud transformation of today, it is an interesting journey for a company that completely dominated the Virtualization era.
VMware is on the right track
At Rishidot Research, we were skeptical of legacy enterprise vendors’ appetite to transform themselves fast enough to stay relevant in the cloud-driven modern enterprise. But, we have seen the complete transformation of Microsoft to effectively compete against AWS. We have also seen Red Hat take right steps with their OpenShift Container Platform. We are convinced that VMware is also taking the right steps to stay relevant in the new era. We will highlight some of the rationales behind this expectation.
- Modern enterprises are embracing multi-cloud strategy as the path to innovation. It is not optional anymore as lack of availability of different cloud services from various providers will lead to shadow IT proliferating in the modern enterprise. VMware understands this future in the enterprise market and is taking steps in this direction. We believe that the very first step to a successful transformation is to focus in the right direction. VMware has got this right
- As we pointed out recently, the key to enabling multi-cloud in any organization lies in large-scale automation and governance. Unlike the startups whose focus is mainly on the faster time to market, enterprises have a responsibility to ensure security and governance. While VMware was initially focussed on the service consumption part of the multi-cloud journey and integration of the existing suite to handle day two IT operations, their acquisition of CloudHealth Technologies highlight their acceptance of the market pain point around multi-cloud governance
- VMware’s announcement regarding support for AWS Relational Database on VMware is a clear acknowledgment that cloud computing will drive the infrastructure underneath the applications and VMware’s best bet is to be the control plane for multi-cloud
- VMware’s symbiotic relationship with Pivotal gives them a leverage in the higher order platform abstraction. With Pivotal’s Kubernetes push, the VMware Pivotal combination could provide enterprises a platform a platform where automation removes the complexities associated with multi-cloud operations and a governance layer needed for enterprise IT to maintain control. VMware cloud services comprise of automation needed to make multi-cloud seamless (removing the biggest chunk of the undifferentiated heavy lifting involved in the multi-cloud), workflows to ensure governance and analytics to ensure compliance with governance and security policies
The blind spot
Like other enterprise infrastructure vendors, VMware is missing out on the critical element needed to compete effectively against the public cloud providers. In the cloud computing market, the one who controls data wins. If cloud providers control the data (especially, the control plane to data), they get to lock in the customers for a long time. The data gravity cost will make sure the multi-cloud world is securely in the hands of public cloud providers with little leverage for vendors like VMware and Red Hat. We have highlighted Portable APIs as an important factor for multi-cloud and the infrastructure vendors, in their quest to focus on automation and governance, are giving out the key leverage to the cloud providers. We would expect VMware (or Pivotal) to take steps in this direction to plug the gap in the VMware multi-cloud strategy. Thoughts?
Disclaimer: CoreStack is a sponsor of StackSense and a client of Rishidot Research and they have an offering focussed on multi-cloud governance