VMware: Decades of hybrid cloud ahead

The tipping point at which public cloud operations attain a 50% share of IT workloads will come in 2030. Until then, and beyond, we face “decades of a hybrid [cloud] world”.

That’s the view expounded by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at VMworld this week in Barcelona. It’s a view that can be read as a pessimistic one. I’ll come back to why, but first here’s what he said.

Using VMware-derived figures the VMware CEO said in 2006 – the year Amazon Web Services launched – the proportion of traditional IT to cloud had been 98% to 2%. By 2011 the split between traditional IT, and public and private cloud had reached 87%/7%/16%. In 2016 that figure is 73%/15%/12%.

VMware estimates 50% of operations will be cloud-based – public and private – by 2021.

By 2030 the public cloud will achieve tipping point. Gelsinger said VMware calculations indicate a 19%/52%/29% split between traditional, public and private cloud in that year.

Gelsinger said we face, “the biggest transformation in the history of IT” as businesses embark on digital transformation.

That may be the case, but by those calculations it’s going to take almost a decade and a half to just about reach halfway.

So, another way of reading VMware’s vision as explained at VMworld is that the transformation to the cloud will actually be very long and drawn-out and that for the foreseeable future – probably two decades, even by VMware’s projections – the most mission-critical workloads, such as financial transactions, will not be ready for the off-prem cloud.

That is because customers just don’t trust the public cloud for their most vital assets – their data – and availability and/or latency cannot be guaranteed, especially over the last mile where matters might not be in the hands of an IT professional but those of force majeur, or even a JCB operator.