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VMware CTO: The days of enterprises going ‘all-in’ on one public cloud provider ‘are dead’

VMware-hosted panel debate about enterprise public cloud adoption trends charts the apparent demise of CIOs plotting large-scale, multi-year moves to a single supplier’s public cloud environment

The days when enterprises would declare themselves “all-in” on a single public cloud provider are “very much dead”, claims Joe Baguley, VMware CTO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Speaking at a VMware-hosted virtual panel debate about the evolution of public cloud adoption in the enterprise market, Baguley said many enterprise CIOs “fell into that trap” of embarking on large-scale, single-supplier, multi-year public cloud migrations only to discover that their workloads do not “work, live, thrive or survive” in their new environment.

“In fact, it’s probably more expensive to run that way [in the public cloud] and it was the wrong thing to do in the first place,” he said.

Continuing the theme, Baguley said it is not difficult to see why so many C-suite executives have pursued an “all-in” cloud migration strategy in the past, but – as discussed elsewhere during the debate – many are now reversing that decision.

“For many years, I’ve sat in front of CIOs and CEOs that have told me they are ‘all-in’ at cloud provider X or cloud provider Y and they’ve got a two- or three-year plan to move everything to that cloud,” he said. “A lot of that was from a misconception that we’ve spent our life [in IT] re-platforming things.

“We started off with things running on mainframes, then we decided we’re going to remove all the apps and run them on Unix, and then we decided to move on and run them on x86 processors, and then we virtualised them. Then along comes cloud and, of course, everyone thinks ‘Oh – that must be the next platform, so I’m just going to move all my things to that [now]’.”

Baguley added: “This perception that we’re going to take everything and move it over and put it in cloud X is very much dead in our industry.”

Fellow panellist Louise Öström, global lead of the Accenture VMware Business Group, also touched on this theme during the debate, observing how some early “all-in” cloud adopters are now in the process of “pulling” certain workloads back with a view to moving them back on-premise or into an alternative public cloud environment.

“The problem stems from big companies that rushed into the cloud, chose one public cloud provider and then more or less pulled out the power from their own [datacentres] and expected everything to be run just as good and secure in the new public cloud environment,” she said.

“They [the public cloud providers] help you very quickly and willingly migrate out to the public cloud, but when the bills arrive, you realise it’s actually quite expensive, and maybe some of the stuff you put out there does not necessarily fit into that Rolls-Royce or that Ferrari super-hybrid, super-smart cloud.”

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Apart from costs, companies have also come to realise that relying on a single provider can be a risky approach for supplier lock-in reasons too, said Öström.

“You really don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Some companies have rushed in and just used one cloud provider and then they start to question ‘where’s my data? Am I in control of my data, and can I pull it back [out] if I want to?’”

Sylvain Rouri, chief sales director at French infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) OVHCloud, echoed this sentiment elsewhere during the debate, saying it is not uncommon to see early cloud adopters taking steps to tweak their strategy now they are a few years into their migration journey.

“You have some early adopters of cloud that are stepping back or rolling back because they now understand that they need to choose and have a clear understanding of the various constraints, possibilities and principles that come from running in the cloud,” he said.

“One of the biggest jobs of any company willing to move to the cloud is to have a clear understanding of the various types of data that they are in charge of, and what it is they want to do with that data.”

Baguley added that there are now signs in the market that enterprises are investing more time in sussing out their cloud options before they make the move off-premise in the first place, or are starting to diversify and expand the number of public clouds they entrust their data to.

“I think people realise there is an evolution [coming] over the next X years when we’re going to move things from where they are now to whatever the next thing is, and that next thing involves putting some things in clouds and some companies will come completely out of their private datacentres and put stuff in multiple clouds,” he said.

“Some companies will still have stuff that might stay in a private datacentre, but it’s going to be a hybrid, blended mix between multiple clouds.”

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