It’s obvious that enterprises will retain on-premises infrastructure for the foreseeable future. Given the use of public cloud computing there is, ipso facto, hybrid computing. The key question: How much infrastructure will remain on-premises and in what form? One vision proffered for hybrid cloud is an on-premises cloud environment based on, say, OpenStack, which interoperates with a similar public environment. Another vision proffered is an on-premises cloud environment interoperating with a dissimilar public environment. Yet a third is an unchanged on-premises environment, say a vSphere cluster, along with use of some public environment.
Depending upon what form of hybrid cloud one envisions, the appropriate solution varies widely. And the question of what will emerge as the dominant form of hybrid cloud emerges victorious will dictate the fortunes of both users and vendors in the future.
For what it’s worth, I think it’s unlikely that most enterprises will end up implementing an on-premises cloud environment, both for the cost reasons that Matt Asay outlines in this recent blog post, and the ongoing reality that implementing a “true” cloud (i.e., one that implements the NIST definition of cloud computing) is an extremely complex technical undertaking. Beginning in 2016, enterprises will increasingly recognize that they: (1) can’t afford the infrastructure and staff costs to implement a cloud; and (2) more important, want and need to direct their investment and talent toward value-delivering efforts, i.e., applications. The poor prospects of on-premise cloud products was underlined by Citrix’s announcement that it divesting its CloudStack offering.
This year will see endless discussion of hybrid cloud computing. At the end of the year, things will remain pretty much as they stand at the beginning: increasing use of public cloud computing for most new applications, and an unchanged on-premises environment mostly used for existing applications and new applications that look a lot like legacy applications.
As to cloud brokerage, vendors will confront the reality of all distributors – there is a limited amount of margin available for “value added” services. Moreover, vendors will also come to realize that cloud brokerage is more like consulting and less like standardized offerings, which means it is complex and requires highly skilled talent. Anyone who has spent any time around a large consultancy realizes that they operate quite differently than a product vendor – lower margins and a constant hunt for staff utilization opportunities.
I expect that by the end of 2016, most presumptive cloud brokers will come to recognize it’s a difficult offering to bring off successfully – and one that does not afford large overhead and wasteful spending. Look to increased layoffs at the end of 2016 as incumbent vendors recognize (or have the public markets and/or private equity players force them to recognize) that their future looks quite different than their glorious past.
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