I was at a panel discussion at the Nasscom Cloud and Mobility summit early this week. The discussion was around “The Myths of the Hybrid Cloud”. There were three of us in the panel and each of us took turns to talk about specific myths associated with the Hybrid Cloud. The myth that I addressed was “Hybrid Clouds is for every enterprise” and this was my answer.
Before we go onto address if Hybrid Clouds are for every enterprise, I think we should first look at what makes up the Hybrid Clouds. Hybrid Clouds are created when a Private and Public Cloud act as one, with the same kind of policies, the same network, etc.
If we pay a lot of attention to the vendors whose solutions are used to create a Private Cloud or analysts covering this technology area, we will not be wrong in thinking that Private Cloud is the next step after Server Virtualization. I was also of the same opinion about 18 months ago and we actually developed VMUnify to exactly address this very need. When we were ready with a beta version of the product, we approached multiple enterprises (banks, government, manufacturing, defence, etc.) for doing PoCs. Our prospects had heard about the Private Cloud and with VMUnify, we gave them a first look at a Private Cloud solution. These enterprises were already into Server Virtualization, so virtualization was well understood and that made explaining the Cloud concept easy. The PoCs went on well, but a month or so later, when we went back to them and asked about the next steps which were either LoI or PO, most of these prospects responded by saying, “We don’t know what we can do with a Private Cloud”. A piece of information is that we were primarily targeting the Indian market.
So, it was back to the drawing board for us. We had already spent close to a year on developing this solution and had just discovered that our prime market was not yet ready for this solution. We did discover another market for VMUnify (the Cloud Service Providers) and are going after this with full force at this point.
Anyway, coming back to the discussion topic, with our experience in the field, this is what we concluded: The workloads in an enterprise can be broadly classified as Fixed and Variable. The fixed workloads can be described as application servers for which, the numbers of current and future users / consumers are understood clearly. For these workloads, Server Virtualization is the answer. If the workloads are variable, and this typically happens with an application that is outward facing such as Online Tax Filing application, a gaming application, etc., where the number can be anywhere between one and something really large, a Cloud is the answer. Whether this has to be Private or Public Cloud needs to be decided on other factors such as cost, type of the application, capabilities of the infrastructure, etc.
Every enterprise has examples of fixed or predictable workloads but not every enterprise has variable workloads. Also, not every enterprise may want to host a variable workload in house.
In summary, a small set of enterprises which have variable workloads and also want to deploy it on their own infrastructure, Private Cloud is the way to go. If some of the enterprises decide that, along with the Private Cloud they would also want to take advantage of Public Cloud resources, Hybrid Cloud would be applicable in these cases, and this percentage is likely to remain low for a long time. What’s your take on it?