I recently reviewed server shipment projections from a leading analyst firm that concluded about 10 million units will ship per year over the next three years. About half of those servers will be x86, according to the forecast. That really puts recent VMware and Oracle announcements in perspective when it comes to public, private, and hybrid clouds.
The public cloud is where the buzz is; the private cloud is where the enterprise money is; and the hybrid cloud is where the future is.
At the end of the day, VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) has proven how powerful virtualization is for transforming enterprise IT from a feudalistic, static, bureaucratic “cost center” into a more dynamic, responsive, and agile service organization that enables enhanced growth and profit margins.
Because of what it accomplished with server virtualization, VMware increased the enterprise appetite for cloud. Now, enterprises see the rise of a multitude of IaaS cloud offerings and want to be able to leverage them as needed, on demand, without lock-in. They want to optimize clouds with the same level of agility and control they achieved with servers: Let’s call it cloud virtualization.
For all intents and purposes, the hybrid cloud is cloud virtualization.
Today, the cloud ecosystem is missing some critical pieces to the cloud virtualization puzzle, so enterprises have settled for private cloud, or server virtualization deployed on dedicated servers in dedicated premises. For hybrid cloud today, those missing pieces are supplemented by extensive manual processes, so extensive that enterprises realize that moving a substantial multi-tier app and its services to an IaaS environment introduces extra costs and risks that erode control.
The public cloud island may indeed look attractive from a distance, but it’s an isolated island with its own operating challenges. Cloud virtualization could change all that.
Yet, if VMware and others think cloud virtualization means simply locking customers into their own cloud offering, they may find themselves similarly stranded.
Hybrid cloud (or cloud virtualization) is the promise of agility and control.
Almost half of servers shipped today are x86; proving that private cloud (server virtualization) is beyond mainstream. Perhaps in a few short years, those x86 servers will also be shipping with hybrid cloud software. If hybrid cloud software was $1,000 per server, that would mean that the hybrid cloud software total addressable market could exceed $30 billion, based on a 3-year refresh rate.
That would make hybrid cloud an attractive market for many leading tech companies, including VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, and others.