Managing Hybrid Cloud Complexity: A Battleground and Differentiator

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • For enterprises of all sizes, the need to manage complex hybrid and multi-cloud environments is fueling demand for integrated management solutions.
  • Solution vendors will respond by continuing to expand their portfolio capabilities, the range of cloud platforms supported and the choice of consumption and delivery models.

It is now widely accepted that the future of enterprise cloud will be hybrid, as enterprises of all sizes look for ways of harnessing the benefits of both private and public clouds. Indeed, the perceived opportunity to deliver hybrid cloud solutions to enterprises is encouraging both public cloud service providers and private cloud infrastructure vendors to evolve their existing solutions and introduce new ones – with the latter often involving the formation of new strategic partnerships.

On June 28, Google become the latest of the large public cloud providers to announce a major strategic initiative that targets emerging growth opportunities for hybrid cloud solutions. Google has teamed up with Nutanix, a leading provider of hyper-converged infrastructure and private cloud solutions, to integrate their respective cloud environments in ways that support enterprise hybrid cloud initiatives. As a result of the partnership, joint enterprise customers will be able to deploy and manage cloud-based and traditional applications across both the Nutanix and Google Cloud platforms, treating them as a single environment.

The alliance between Google and Nutanix is similar to one announced between Amazon and VMware in October 2016. Amazon and VMware are targeting demand for enterprise hybrid cloud solutions by enabling VMware customers to extend their private cloud environments to AWS public cloud data centers. Meanwhile, rival hyperscale public cloud provider Microsoft is continuing with preparations to commercially launch Azure Stack, a solution that will be offered via partnerships with OEMs such as Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE, Huawei and Lenovo, and which will form the cornerstone of Microsoft’s emerging hybrid cloud strategy.

Central to ensuring an effective hybrid cloud experience for enterprise users is the provision of tools that facilitate seamless management across multi-cloud environments. For many enterprises, the need to manage hybrid and multi-cloud complexity is fueling demand for integrated management solutions. This is especially the case among small and mid-sized businesses, which typically lack the resources to manage complex IT environments with disparate tools. Furthermore, the use of two or more public clouds will become increasingly common as enterprises make decisions about which public clouds to use on a case-by-case basis and according to considerations such as cost, performance, availability, compliance, familiarity (i.e., with a given service such as AWS EMR) and available functionality (e.g., serverless computing a la lambda).

Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all prioritizing management capabilities as part of their emerging hybrid cloud portfolios, as are traditional providers of private cloud infrastructure – including Cisco, HPE, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat and VMware. In addition to providing hybrid cloud management solutions as standalone offerings, many of these vendors deliver them as part of a suite of solutions that includes the full range of infrastructure and platform components needed for building and operating hybrid clouds.

As enterprise hybrid cloud adoption becomes more widespread, providers of cloud management solutions – including the public cloud giants, private cloud infrastructure vendors and smaller specialist providers – will respond by expanding the capabilities of their solutions and the range of cloud platforms they support. A focus on providing a choice of consumption and delivery options will also contribute to an increasingly vibrant and competitive market.

For further coverage of the trends and drivers affecting the market for hybrid cloud management, together with analysis of the major vendors and an overview of leading hybrid cloud management solutions, see: Hybrid Cloud Management – Competition Intensifies as Vendors Seize the Opportunity, June 23, 2017.

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