VMware talks up multi-cloud era, need to transform security

Laws of physics, economics, and land will drive enterprises towards hybrid cloud environments, says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who also urges the need to transform security, which has become too complex for businesses to manage.

Driven by the laws of physics, economics, and land, the future of enterprise computing will head towards a multi-cloud era and technology vendors will have to step up to help businesses manage these environments. Organisations also will need to get a better handle on security, which--comprising multiple tools from different vendors--has become too complex to manage effectively and is in need of a transformation. 

Every organisation eventually would operate in a multi-cloud, hybrid environment, predicted VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who was speaking at the company's CIO Forum held in Singapore on Thursday. He pointed to the "three laws of cloud" that were fuelling this movement where economics, for instance, made it more cost effective for enterprises to look to the cloud as their storage, bandwidth, and networking requirements grew alongside their business. 

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The laws of physics, however, meant that they would have to run some functions on-premise to ensure higher response time. For example, robotic arms in a factory floor that required a 50-millisecond response time would not be able to do so via the cloud. 

"The physics just doesn't allow you to run this over the cloud," Gelsinger said, noting that data would have to remain on-premise since compute needed to be in close proximity to deliver on such high response rates. 

With the laws of land, he pointed to data sovereignty laws and said some enterprises would be required to move workloads and data out of public clouds, and run or store these on-premise, locally. 

And with enterprises, currently using five to six cloud platforms, expected to use eight to 10 different clouds in future, they would need a way to manage the different tools, systems, and accounts, he said. 

This was where VMware hoped to play a role, in particular, through acquisitions such as CloudHealth Technologies, which it acquired last August, he noted. The aim here was to help enterprises manage multi-cloud environments, analysing cost, billing, usage, security, and performance of computing environments across native public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. 

Businesses also needed to be able to build next-generation applications. In this aspect, Gelsinger underscored VMware's belief that Kubernetes would play an important role here, which he described as akin to what Java was as a software extractor for two decades over the turn of the century. 

"We're committed to be the dial-tone provider for enterprise Kubernetes, where it's standard and available [to organisations] and works," he said, noting that VMware's acquisition of Heptio last November was aimed at fuelling the adoption of Kubernetes services amongst enterprises. 

A contributor to the Kubernetes project, Heptio's Kubernetes services would be integrated into the VMWare Kubernetes PKS portfolio, which was created alongside Pivotal. 

Need for security to undergo fundamental transformation

In his presentation, Gelsinger also called for the security industry to undergo a "fundamental transformation". Relating a conversation with Citi Group, he said the financial services organisation engaged just two IT vendors, two storage vendors, and four networking vendors. However, when it came to its security infrastructure, it had 250 security vendors to manage. 

"How do you make 250 security products work [together]? It's insanity," Gelsinger quipped, noting that 80 percent of security budgets were being spent on detection and response, as opposed to prevention. He called for the need to help lower enterprises' attack surface and build the underlying infrastructure to prevent security incidents from happening in the first place. 

Again, VMware was looking to provide the tools to help simplify this and enable its customers to better manage their security requirements. Last August, the vendor introduced VMware Secure State to automate configuration security and compliance monitoring in native cloud environments. 

Rima Olinger, AWS's global alliance lead, also spoke at the forum to pitch the cloud platform's partnership with VMware Cloud, which she said had been adopted by enterprises across various sectors including financial services and healthcare. 

VMware Cloud on AWS recently launched in Singapore and also was available in Sydney and Tokyo, according to Olinger. Its coverage would be expanded to Mumbai and Seoul by the end of the second quarter, with Hong Kong slated for launch in the second half of 2019. A launch in Osaka also was planned for next year.

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