“Enterprise software companies have been rapidly innovating to deliver customers the infrastructure that provides the simplicity and agility of the public cloud to on-premises environments,” says Vijay Ramachandran, VP of Product Management, VMware, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What challenges do enterprises encounter while trying to achieve agility in a hybrid cloud environment
Vijay Ramachandran: We see three main challenges that organizations face when trying to build a hybrid cloud environment: purpose-built infrastructure, inconsistencies between public cloud and on-prem, and the rise of cloud-native applications.
Purpose-built infrastructure is expensive to procure and maintain, and it can’t provide the operational simplicity and consistency needed for a hybrid cloud. It takes months of planning to procure, and scale-up architecture ties up capital for months or longer as storage capacity sits idle.
The operations needed to use and maintain the infrastructure are hardware-centric, require specialized skill sets and still take weeks to provision infrastructure. None of this translates well to a cloud-centric world where infrastructure scales on-demand, takes minutes to provision and requires little maintenance. However, public cloud infrastructure uses different infrastructure, processes, and tooling than on-premises environments, and using multiple clouds can lead to organizational inefficiencies.
Many IT organizations create separate public cloud infrastructure teams to help manage the complexity, but IT also struggles to move applications between clouds and attempts often stall due to numerous technical challenges.
Additionally, the applications running on the infrastructure are changing. Traditional, monolithic applications are giving way to micro services that have their own needs. IT can’t address the needs of these new applications with the infrastructure on hand today. For example, traditional storage can’t scale rapidly and lacks the transparency required for admins to effectively manage the infrastructure.
Organizations need a cloud infrastructure that can scale from on-premises to multiple public clouds to achieve the agility needed to lead in their industries while also lowering their IT costs.
ET Bureau: What factors are driving the HCI adoption across the enterprise landscape?
Vijay Ramachandran: Our survey unveiled three key benefits of HCI over existing infrastructure according to HCI users:
- Hybrid Cloud – Customers value the consistent infrastructure and operations across clouds.
- Greater Agility – HCI makes the latest technologies easier to access and at a lower cost versus traditional infrastructure, resulting in significant application performance gains without a forklift upgrade. The vast majority of vSAN customers are choosing all-flash nodes that offer up to 150K IOPS per node. We continue to improve performance, most recently noting up to 30% improvement in vSAN 7 Update 1 over the previous release.
- Operational Simplicity – HCI’s tightly integrated solution reduces time to complete common storage tasks by over 50%, according to our survey. HCI’s simple workflows and a high degree of automation make it easy to adopt for new users, and it reduces storage provisioning time from weeks to minutes, while eliminating LUN management. HCI empowers a unified team to manage both compute and storage for faster decision-making.
ET Bureau: How do enterprises meet the continuously changing needs of their data centers?
Vijay Ramachandran: Enterprises faced unprecedented challenges last year that forced rapid data center transformation and increased demand for new digital services. At the same time, the pandemic introduced an opportunity for organizations to invest in the future.
Many businesses relied on providers to deliver solutions that can meet these new challenges, and they responded to changing demands with the rapid adoption of hybrid cloud and developer-ready infrastructure. For example, many US-based retailers needed support as they had to rapidly transition to a mostly remote workforce in the early days of the pandemic. They needed rapid solutions for business continuity as, in many cases, workers were sent home without a VDI solution in place. Organizations with integrated cloud offerings in place were able to stand up desktop on cloud IaaS and enable a seamless and secure transition to remote work.
ET Bureau: What HCI trends do you think will have the greatest impact on hybrid cloud adoption?
Vijay Ramachandran: We’re seeing a blurring of lines between clouds, which is driving hybrid cloud adoption. Customers are getting the best of both worlds and building and running workloads on the infrastructure that makes the most sense in terms of agility and cost. Enterprise software companies have been rapidly innovating to deliver customers the infrastructure that provides the simplicity and agility of the public cloud to on-premises environments.
To deliver these benefits, the industry has been rapidly adding capabilities that accelerate application development by allowing developers to self-service infrastructure while allowing the IT administrator to govern resource consumption and service availability for both traditional VMs and containers.
Second, we’re continuing to innovate as businesses are increasingly interested in pushing enterprise capabilities to the edge, and we believe HCI is the best way companies can run both traditional and modern apps at these locations.
Finally, we can expect demand for greater flexible consumption options to continue. Customers want the flexibility to choose how they use and pay for our products. Subscriptions, for example, that simplify the purchase and consumption of multi-cloud infrastructure will be key. They can enable organizations to select terms that best fit their requirements and deliver deployment options for customers interested in migrating to the cloud, extending their on-premises footprint, or expanding their cloud deployment.
Vijay Ramachandran is the VP of Product Management at VMware where he leads the product management team that develops strategy for Software Defined Storage and executes VMware’s storage roadmap. With over 10 years of product management experience, Vijay has managed all phases of the product lifecycle – from concept to release, and end of life.