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Deliver services, don’t worry about infrastructure

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Dave Funnell, manager of VMware Cloud Provider Business, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dave Funnell, manager of VMware Cloud Provider Business, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Most businesses are on some form of cloud journey to reap the benefits of simplifying operations, being able to scale up and down quickly, save costs, and enjoy 100% uptime.

In addition, they are able to deliver a much better service to their customers, as they can focus on enhancing their business, instead of running or patching infrastructure as their cloud provider will deliver all those aspects.

“That's what everyone's looking for,” said Dave Funnell, Cloud Provider manager at VMware, Sub-Saharan Africa, while presenting a keynote on ‘What does the future of cloud look like?’, during the ITWeb cloud webinar series that kicked off yesterday.

“Before the discussion about getting to the cloud quickly, and managing it successfully when you're there, a conversation needs to be had about applications because that's what it's all about,” he adds. 

“What is the application explosion? Every business has to remain competitive particularly under COVID at the moment. These are even more extreme times in our markets, both macro economically and on a micro economic level. You have to come to market faster with new products. You've got to be agile and be able to pivot your strategy very quickly, as customers demand new functionality or new product from you, or their buying experience changes.”

No one in their right mind today running IT operations should be making decisions about what storage or what brand of server to buy.

Dave Funnell, WMware

And you have to do this cost effectively, Funnell says. “I imagine no one out there has got increased budgets - in fact everyone’s budgets are pretty flat or decreasing. Liquidity and cash is becoming even more important for every organisation, so the ability to move to an opex model becomes even more critical, particularly considering that the number of applications being developed over the next four or five years will be more than those developed over the last 40 years.”

Looking ahead, he says we will see a maturing of both migration exercises and the operating model for consuming cloud services as they become mainstream. 

“Analysts agree that the majority of organisations will evolve to a hybrid multi-cloud model. This has been forecast for a while, but we will start seeing the reality of what this looks like and why it works both for the traditional applications that businesses operate today and the cloud-native applications of tomorrow.”

He says most organisations are looking to move everything into the cloud over the next five years. “By 2025, Gartner predicts that 80% of data centres will be closed down. You might still have a room for some networking, but even networking is changing so fundamentally with software-defined that all your edge points can connect directly to the cloud.”

The number of applications being developed over the next four or five years will be more than those developed over the last 40 years.

Dave Funnell, VMware

Why worry about bricks and mortar and air conditioning and running servers in a data centre when you can offload all that to someone else and get rid of complexity?, he asks.  

“The dynamic happening today is that data centres are going to be closing down. Traditional applications are still going to be running, but new applications are going to be in containers, so we are going to have to cope with that as IT professionals and deliver to the business.”

What we are seeing is that application needs are driving IT strategies, which is increasingly becoming the reality, he explains. “There was a time when people thought they would just give everything to the public cloud, and simply move it over from on- premises to public cloud, but they are realising it is much more nuanced than that.

“What we're seeing is those drivers around the traditional applications are slightly different. You’re looking to reduce costs, improve security, you're definitely looking for reliability and very tight control in the cloud-native apps, whether you can see them as SAS, or with Office 365 or Dynamics CRM or similar. You might be developing from the ground up as a cloud-native app or refactoring an existing app for some form of positive business benefits as you move to the cloud.”

Public cloud has enjoyed massive growth, he notes. "We see these headlines all the time - Microsoft announced their results, indicating that Azure is growing at about 30% year on year. However, private clouds are also starting to grow at those rates because organisations are starting to understand the benefits of private cloud, as well as the limitations of running their traditional apps in public hyperscale."

Over the next five years, private cloud is going to have that 30% compound annual growth rate, he predicts. "This is great news for private cloud providers as well as end user customers, because it means that they have that safe harbour for existing, traditional apps and somewhere to put them as data centres close down.

“It enables companies to deliver services, and not worry about infrastructure. I think no one in their right mind today running IT operations should be making decisions about what storage or what brand of server to buy. That's the promise of cloud,” Funnell concludes. “Leave the infrastructure up to someone else.”

* VMware sponsored a webinar on What does the future of cloud look like? as part of an ITWeb cloud webinar series from 10-12 November 2020.

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