Cloud: It's not about IT, it's about the app

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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.

When embarking on a journey, it is important to know the starting point. If this is not established upfront, there is little chance of success, irrespective of the tools used.

So says Dave Funnell, manager of VMware Cloud Provider Business, Sub-Saharan Africa, during his keynote address at ITWeb Cloud Summit 2019, being held at The Forum in Bryanston today.

When it comes to the cloud, it's not about IT, it's about the application, and the application owners need to decide where their apps reside, and this is driving a shift in how IT and enterprises need to operate, he said.

"Cloud is all about the application, and making sure you're delivering the app to the business as efficiently as possible. Cloud strategies must match the needs to each application, and all clouds [private, public, hybrid] have different benefits."

There are many reasons to adopt cloud: tough markets, competition from start-ups, having legacy technology.

"Start-ups can go back to first design principles, they aren't hampered by legacy technology, and in a world where time to market is key, businesses need the flexibility to pivot and change their strategy to meet new market conditions."

Companies also need to reduce cost, because so much of the IT budget is spent keeping the lights on, leaving only about 30% of the budget left to innovate.

"This is why organisations need to understand what benefits they hope to gain. Is it about improving reliability and availability? Boosting security? Expanding or deploying new capacity? It's all about understanding what you want to achieve, and what problems you want to address. If you don't grasp this, you will struggle."

Tipping point in 2021

According to a recent VMware cloud survey, the majority (73%) of apps are kept on-premises, with 12% on a private cloud, and 15% on public cloud.

"We expect a tipping point in 2021, where there will be as many apps in the cloud as there are on-premises, and then by 2030, we expect 81% of applications will be cloud-based."

Funnell noted there is also the perception that everything will move to public cloud to hyperscale providers but this is not the reality. "It's not so easy to do that. A lot of apps run well on-premises, so there's no need to change them. This goes back to the point about understanding the reasons for embarking on a cloud journey.

"There are also many others besides the big guys that are currently delivering to the local market. There are an awful lot of options when it comes to cloud."

We also need to look at the device explosion, said Funnell. It is predicted there will be 8.7 billion Internet of things (IOT) connected devices by 2021, and this is seeing more and more data being generated at the edge. "And businesses are looking to harness the IOT and digitally transform."

He said 92% of VMware enterprise customers believe consistency of architecture between private and public clouds is important. In addition, the VMware cloud survey revealed that 92% of organisations are using at least two public clouds, while 77% are using three or more.

Destination ahead

Ultimately, an organisation's approach to the cloud needs to be a flexible cloud strategy, versus cloud as a single destination.

"This approach to cloud is based on building a long-term strategy that enables customers to take their existing on-premises investments, and seamlessly create a two-way architecture to leverage multiple cloud providers. The focus on choice and flexibility leads to a cloud future with no dead ends of lost investment."

Organisations want to be able to deploy any cloud, deliver to any devices, and develop any applications, while enforcing enterprise IT requirements, essentially increasing agility, while reducing complexity and risk.

This is going to be the model of the future: the key to being successful in the cloud is how it is managed, Funnell concluded.

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