Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: The Art of the Hybrid Cloud

​Businesses turn to hybrid cloud for pragmatism

VCE believes that the adoption of a hybrid cloud strategy is practical for enterprises, as it gives them the choice of where to place their applications.

VCE foresees that the hybrid cloud market, an area in which the storage company continues to strengthen its position, will continue to experience long-term growth.

Matt Oostveen, VCE Asia-Pacific Japan chief technology officer, argued that the reason why a hybrid cloud strategy is for the long term is because it's a "pragmatic cloud" that offers enterprises the flexibility to choose where they want to place their applications.

"It's a way of combining two independent cloud technologies. We've got the on-premise cloud, some call it a highly optimised on-premise datacentre, and we've also got public cloud. If you talk to a customer, or specifically a CIO, they don't live in a world of childish absolutes, they don't want to be all public cloud or all private cloud, they realise pragmatism is the way, and that there are certain elements from each," he said.

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The Art Of The Hybrid Cloud

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"What they want to do is cherry pick the very best elements from each of those, and combine them in a way that best solves the problem they're solving inside their datacentre."

VCE managing director David Barker echoed a similar view, suggesting that a hybrid cloud somewhat represents a "nirvana" for enterprises. He said that having the choice of a public cloud at hand would mean enterprises can innovate with apps born in the cloud, test them, and develop them if they're successful, or fail quickly.

Oostveen added that hybrid cloud offers enterprises economic benefits, too.

"There are some strategies that look at the cost of continuing to run the application in the cloud and then factor that against what it costs to run it on their own premise. Quite often, we see the question after failing fast is, 'Is it an application that we want to continue using?', 'Does it have enough utilisation, for example a customer base?', and 'If so, what is the economic cost of running it in the public cloud, versus bringing it on-premise?'

"We are seeing some people starting to bring some applications back on-premise, but there are some things that work really well on public cloud," he said.

VCE continues to embrace being the on-ramp for enterprises to hybrid cloud, announcing the latest series of systems. It includes hybrid cloud integration to VMware NSX, vRealise, and EMC's ViPR software-defined storage.

According to Oostveen, VCE's enhancement of its vBlock system is about meeting customer expectations to scale hybrid cloud simply, practically, and quickly.

RedHat's 2015 ANZ cloud adoption index indicated that 82 percent of Australian and New Zealand organisations have deployed some form of cloud infrastructure. Hybrid cloud is the being used by a third of all Australian and New Zealand organisations, ranking as the second most popular cloud strategy. Private cloud is the most popular, deployed by 36.7 percent of businesses, while public cloud is used "exclusively" by 12 percent of respondents.

The research also showed that New Zealand respondents favour hybrid cloud deployment at 45 percent more than Australian organisations, which prefer private cloud infrastructure.

"Private and hybrid cloud are the two most popular types of cloud, which demonstrates the need for security and control that public clouds do not deliver to the same extent," the report said.

Lee Thompson, recently appointed senior vice president and general manager of Netsuite Asia-Pacific Japan, however, argued that there is no such thing as a hybrid, public, or private cloud.

"There is only one cloud," he said.

When asked why he chose to join Netsuite following stints with companies such as Oracle, Thompson said he wanted to join a company that was a true cloud vendor.

"I've seen lots of organisations present themselves as cloud vendors, but they're the old model of hosting. All the customer is doing is outsourcing their own IT infrastructure to a third party, and that's not cloud. You can dress it up anyway you like, but that's not cloud, and it's not scalable," he said.

Thompson drew on examples of "big, cumbersome old companies" that have been trying to make the transition to become a cloud provider in the market.

"I'm not trying to be disrespectful or anything, but I look at Microsoft and I look at their marketing strategy, they call it private cloud and public cloud [and] that was because they were flat footed, they had to come up with something. You pull the covers back, and it's the old model," he said.

Looking at its Australian operations, VCE saw a year-on-year growth of 111 percent during 2013-14, an increase from 18 percent year on year recorded during 2012-13.

A majority of the growth was driven by strong penetration in the financial services industry, healthcare, and managed services, as well as scoring recent contracts with departments in state and federal governments in Australia, Barker said.

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