The impact of cloud is undeniable: from instant access to infinite IT resources and new application architectures, to redefined IT operations and the acceleration of digital transformation.
Digital transformation has been top of mind for a couple of years now, but the unexpected circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated interest in transformation from organisations across the board.
But Dave Funnell, cloud provider manager at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, cautions that organisations need to understand why digital transformation can improve their operations before just plunging into it.
“Digital transformation really means being able to stay competitive in a world of new technologies, new demands, new consumers and new competitors.
“In this environment, organisations need digital transformation to be able to predict and quickly react to a changing market with new applications.”
Funnell explains that there are around 300-million apps currently running around the world, and this is expected to rise to around 800-million by 2025.
“We are going to see an exponential growth in the need to develop, deploy and manage apps that will increasingly be used to run business. IT needs to be concerned about supplying and delivering these apps, but have typically been viewed as unresponsive and bad at scaling.”
For Funnell, the whole point of digital transformation is creating, delivering, scaling and maintaining these apps – and the only way to do this effectively is by using the cloud.
Cloud service providers offer a wealth of tools to let developers quickly create and deploy new apps; but IT also has a responsibility to maintaining and delivering the many legacy applications already being used to run the business. As Funnell explains, the vast majority of organisations have a huge footprint of installed applications – dating right back to mainframe systems – many of them now presented to users via a Web front-end.
Companies need both types of apps: the new, quickly deployed and scaled systems that will give businesses a competitive edge in the modern world typically developed with rapid development tools and deployed in the cloud; and the traditional core applications running on-premise that are critical for the business.
And this is where it gets complicated: these apps need to work together and scale seamlessly regardless of whether they are running in-premise, on a private cloud, with a cloud-verified service provider or in one of the hyperscale public clouds.
Funnell explains that, with VMware, CIOs have the freedom to build and deploy modern applications, from the data centre to the cloud to the edge. Users, applications and data can migrate seamlessly between environments and ensure that all data and applications remain secure and protected in any cloud.
IT administrators can match their applications to the different strengths of each environment.
Within the proven VMware infrastructure, organisations can now access leading hyperscale providers include AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud.
For CIOs, this means they are confident their applications are built on the most powerful, most widely deployed cloud infrastructure in the world; they can deliver consistent operations from the data centre to the cloud to the edge; they have the flexibility to build, run and manage modern apps on any cloud; and they can optimise cost and resource management across clouds.
“VMware has always allowed for the migration of workloads from server to server, and from data centre to data centre; and now you can do that from an on-premise data centre to the cloud. It’s a consistent platform that is available in different flavours.
“We complement the hyperscalers by accelerating migration to the cloud and thus accelerating the development of apps that drive digital transformation.”
The reality for organisations today is a hybrid cloud environment where they are have a some applications on-premise and some in the cloud. But increasingly, they are also juggling two or more public cloud environment as well in a multi-cloud set-up.
Multi-cloud operations allow IT to easily maintain visibility and control of cloud cost, usage, security and governance – even across different cloud environments.
The typical IT estate is complicated, with workloads deployed natively in multiple clouds, multi-cloud Kubernetes, and VMware private and hybrid clouds. Adminstrators want the visibility to control cost, usage and configurations across them all.
VMware delivers the multi-cloud operations capabilities you need to use any cloud with confidence.
It’s possible to achieve visibility across AWS, Azure, Google, and Oracle public clouds; Kubernetes; and VMware-based private and hybrid clouds. These cloud can all be managed with VMware.
Hybrid cloud is a reality for organisations trying to balance their on-premise infrastructure and edge network with a public cloud provider or providers.
There are many benefits to hybrid cloud: it creates new digital possibilities, opening the door to cost-effective scalability, flexibility and modernisation.
With hybrid cloud, CIOs can save money; increase speed and agility; and make the digital business a success.
The public cloud is where a lot of modern app deployment takes place, Funnell points out. Developers are increasingly using Kubernetes, Docker and other containerised tools, which allow apps to be easily deployed in the public cloud.
“But organisations still have their private clouds; their traditional applications running on-premise, so there are a lot of issues that IT has to deal with in terms of new multi-cloud operating systems and traditional data centre workloads.
“We believe that VMware is in a unique position to assist them in managing all of these environments as one, with all the security, networking and management policies required for enterprise IT.”
Among the benefits that VMware brings to the party as cost optimisation. “So often, companies move to the public cloud without really understanding the costs associated with them. What they need to do is leverage the platforms to the best benefit of the business.”
The public cloud operators offer plenty of services for deployment and management of apps, with each provider specialising in different areas and delivering different services, Funnell points out. “Strategically, most organisations standardise on a particular cloud provider, but inevitably they use other hyperscalers for different applications.
“The public clouds all offer great tools to help customers. But they don’t focus on everything. Using the right tool can save a customer up to 25% of the cost of their cloud deployment. VMware offers a set of tools that works across all the environments, so there is better manageability and cost optimisation.”
In the time of Covid-19, security and compliance are arguably more important than ever, which is why CIOs want the ability to continuously inspect cloud resource configurations and benchmark them against cloud, industry and custom security and compliance standards.
Streamlined operations become a reality and administrators can govern the use of cloud resources to improve operational efficiency and security without negatively affecting development and operational teams.
With the right hybrid cloud foundation, application developers can focus on business needs and developing software features, without worrying too much about underlying infrastructure, Funnell adds.
VMware Cloud Foundation is a software-defined foundation for private, hybrid and pubic cloud, with unified support for traditional (VM) or containerised applications.
We think there are advantages to be had from deploying VMware Cloud Foundation everywhere, because it is based on a VMware software-defined data centre (SDDC) and is the foundation for VMware private and public cloud solutions.
By deploying workloads on top of the same SDDC-based virtual infrastructure stack everywhere, IT organisations get the benefits of a simplified hybrid cloud, including improved IT efficiency and increased agility to support digital business goals.
Traditional on-premises applications don’t always perform optimally in a cloud environment – so businesses have to spend significant time, money and resources rebuilding applications, with no guarantee that they will function as needed.
With VMware Cloud Foundation everywhere, they can seamlessly migrate applications across environments, without refactoring or re-architecting workloads.
There are also significant savings to be had in operating costs.
VMware hybrid cloud, based on the idea of deploying VMware Cloud Foundation everywhere, creates a consistent environment that simplifies and streamlines hybrid cloud.
With VMware Cloud Foundation as the platform, VMware offers a range of tools to help CIOs manage multi-cloud operations.
CloudHealth by VMware lets them analyze and manage cloud cost, usage, security and governance in one place with a cloud management platform.
VMware Secure State mitigates risk through intelligent, real-time security insights.
vRealize Automation Cloud lets systems consume the latest software technologies seamlessly and efficiently.
vRealize Network Insight Cloud provides app-centric security and network visibility across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
VMware Cloud Foundation is the software-defined platform for private, hybrid and pubic cloud, with unified support for traditional (VM) or containerised applications.
HCI Powered by VMware vSAN allows virtualisation investments to be extended.
VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC lets IT deploy VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC hardware, delivered and maintained as a fully-managed service.
VMware also has a number of products for public cloud environments in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.