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October 23, 2015

The cloud continuum: why hybrid will endure

C-level briefing: Dell’s Enterprise Solutions head on Uber and Spotify operating their own data centres.

By CBR Staff Writer

If you are a frequent traveller, there will be a tipping point where it becomes more economical to buy your own car than to use public transport.

Perhaps it is time that the same logic was applied in the cloud debate, where many passionate advocates argue that data and applications are heading in one direction: to the cloud.

According to Claire Vyvyan, Vice President of the Enterprise Solutions group at Dell, we are not heading towards a world where everything will be in the cloud.

"I’m not in the camp that says eventually everything will be in big hyperscale clouds," says Vyvyan.

She cites the example of "born-in-the-cloud" companies that have moved away from that model.

"Uber built its business in the cloud as a start-up; they are a born-in-the-cloud company," she says. "Now they are repatriating to their own data centres for cost reasons.

"Spotify is another born-in-the-cloud company that is now repatriating to its own data centres.

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To Vyvyan, cloud is about a continuum, with privately owned data centres at one end and cloud-only at the other. As the Uber and Spotify examples show, businesses are prone to moving around on this continuum based on need and opportunity.

It is not always business reasons driving people to move on what Vyvyan calls a cloud "continuum".

"Lots of customers aren’t 100 percent comfortable with being entirely cloud-based. If I started a business tomorrow I would certainly put all my stuff in the cloud. But there is a scale thing where you don’t want to be completely dependent on someone else.

"For most businesses it is a trust issue and they genuinely worry about security and business espionage and data."

For infrastructure providers such as Dell, then, the key is to continue to cater to all models to ensure that businesses are able to make that choice.

"I think we will see people on that continuum for a long time.

"Knowing that that exists, how do you make sure everything we do serves that end and everything on the continuum, knowing that people are always on the move. You might start over there but you will inevitably come this way. You just want people to be free to move their applications and data."

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