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VMware makes case for IT's involvement in line of business cloud purchases

Cloud software company VMware claims IT departments should not fear the shift in technology buying power to line of business units, as their skills and experience will be in high demand

As line of business units increasingly assume responsibility for cloud-related purchases, IT departments should not be fooled into thinking their days are numbered.

That’s according to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who used his opening keynote at VMworld US in Las Vegas to explain why the skills and experience of IT professionals are becoming increasingly sought after by all areas of the business, as cloud use spreads inside enterprises.

“It’s not just that every industry is embracing cloud, every function in every industry is embracing cloud,” he said.

“For us IT professionals, this could be a little scary. All these other portions of the business are now becoming their own IT department, but it’s good news for you as individuals.

“Every skill you have developed, every portion of the business wants you. Every skill you have mastered over the past decade or two is becoming mission-critical to every part of the business,” he added.

Guido Appenzeller, chief technology strategy officer working in VMware’s network and security business unit, said there is no question that enterprises will need an IT department when moving to the public cloud.

“There is a narrative in the press where people are saying, in the age of mega-clouds, you don’t need IT anymore. It’s now the business unit that’s [driving things]. The CIO is dead  – long live the chief development officer,” he said.

“This idea that IT is no longer necessary is completely crazy. Taking an application from on-premise and moving it out to the cloud, you still have to work on security. What about compliance and cost management? You’re spending millions of dollars on these clouds, but someone still needs to control costs.”

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Gelsinger also used the keynote to share details of the number-crunching the virtualisation giant’s in-house research team have done – using a mix of its own and analyst data – to predict how long it will take the cloud to overtake on-premise environments as the enterprise’s preferred place to deploy workloads.

Its findings suggest by 2021, 50% of enterprise workloads will run in the cloud and 50% on legacy, on-premise IT equipment. However, by 2030, it predicts more than half of enterprise workloads will run in the public cloud.

“Now conventional wisdom has said [this] could lead to a shrinking IT market. That overall the market, as we move from private to public, will shrink,” he said.

“We believe that is fundamentally not the case. As cloud takes root, IT becomes more cost effective and accessible, and it expands the investment in IT as we look to the future.”

VMware’s expanding hybrid cloud strategy

With these trends in mind, VMware used the first day of VMworld US to outline its expansion plans for its hybrid cloud strategy, as it seeks to make it easier for enterprises to shift applications between on-premise datacentres, as well as private and public cloud environments.

To achieve this, enterprises will need a common operating environment that spans all these locations, with VMware mooting its Cross-Cloud Architecture vision as a means of achieving this.

The architecture is made up of several VMware initiatives that were announced on the first day of the show, including its public cloud-focused Cross-Cloud Services play and its software-defined datacentre proposition, Cloud Foundation.

VMware Cloud Foundation is a hyper-converged infrastructure for creating private clouds that is built on VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN and the company’s network virtualisation platform, VMware NSX.

The stack of VMware products that make up Cloud Foundation can be automated and managed using the firm’s SDDC Manager offering, which the company claims can markedly speed up the time it takes to deploy a cloud environment.

The setup is designed to support traditional and cloud-native applications that are run in either virtual machines or containers.

Cloud Foundation will be made available on an “as a service” basis through VMware’s vCloud Air Network of service provider partners, with IBM confirmed as the first member of this group to offer it to customers.

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