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October 15, 2015

VMware CTO: Tackling the biggest challenge facing hybrid cloud

C-level briefing: CBR spoke to Richard Munro, CTO, vCloud Air, EMEA about what the biggest challenges are facing hybrid cloud.

By James Nunns

The biggest challenge that Munro faces with hybrid cloud is not the technology, but changing business processes and mindset.

When choosing a hybrid approach, Munro finds the easiest customers to speak to are senior and who already have experience of public clouds.

Munro said: "Then the hybrid cloud is well understood, what differentiation it brings is well understood and customer already has a cloud mindset."

A challenge VMware faces is helping customers to understand how to deliver the software defined data centre on premise.

He said: "Many people are trying to do that and struggling and it’s not technology, it’s because they can’t change their processes and mindset to understand what it is they need to do."

Part of the challenge is dealing with procurement and that comes from the classic IT spectrum, a traditional model that makes it hard for them to recognise the realities of cloud.

"You can start small, if you don’t like it you can copy it back and turn it off, you’re done. The risk profile of procurement is the trickiest barrier to overcome…they are still thinking this is a multi year commitment. This is cloud it doesn’t work that way."

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Munro went on to say that security has the same challenge with overcoming these mindsets, with people often confusing security, privacy and governance.

The problem doesn’t lie solely with IT, he said: "It’s not just IT that has to figure out the changes in these processes, it’s absolutely finance and procurement have a job to do here as well."

The larger the organisation the more the problem of procurement is exacerbated, partly due to the scale of legacy.

Where this problem is solved is through creating compatibility, which is already being achieved with applications and operating systems, but importantly so with the networking stack as well.

He said: "The networking stack is even more important because it enables that seamless integration not just for classic IT but all the way through to the new applications as well, the new constructs and new app blueprints.

"It really opens up the whole continuous delivery mechanism where IT and Dev are working together in unison."

VMware has clearly planted its stake in hybrid, with its recent conference VMworld in Barcelona an example of its focus on the technology.

The company is aiming to find the middle ground between public and private clouds. Munro says that hybrid is the answer to challenges that public cloud creates.

He said: "You know the legal jurisdiction of your data and you know the privacy of your data."

It is where management tools are extended and where developers get what they want but IT maintains control and governance.

In the end he says it is what the customers have, "begged for when it comes to being able to take advantage of public cloud services."

Backing up the hybrid strategy, Munro said: "Hybrid is the recognition that for a significant time, we will have workloads in on premises and in public cloud, that world will exist.

"For some people it might be the large majority is in the public cloud, for others it might be a tiny bit is in the public cloud component."

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