As Amazon (AMZN) continues with its amazing public cloud momentum, Palo Alto-based VMware (VMW) has stepped up its efforts to educate the industry about an even more powerful and disruptive form of cloud computing, called hybrid cloud. According to VMware, hybrid cloud promises to be an upcoming disruption in how applications and services are delivered by enterprises of all sizes.
There are plenty of flavors of hybrid cloud circulating today in the blogosphere. Some vendors have advocated a hybrid cloud vision which is hardly visionary: merely two separate clouds managed by a single organization, perhaps with some minimal application portability between them or even SaaS being delivered via a private cloud. That definition of hybrid cloud isn't particularly powerful or even interesting. At best it is a convenient trivialization of something that will ultimately prove to be transformative.
Note what VMware has been saying about hybrid cloud (from www.v3.co.uk):
"We think you should be looking at using public cloud as a natural extension of your own data centre. It should be free and easy to move workloads between those clouds as it is to move them from one rack to another in your data centre." - VMware's Joe Baguley quoted at VMware Forum in London.
If public clouds become a natural extension of the data center, then there will be truly massive and unprecedented increases in application agility, resilience and scalability. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger hinted to the payoff in London's The Telegraph just a few hours ago: Firms Must Ride (Cloud) Wave or Be Swept Away.
Today most enterprises treat their cloud environments like islands that are easier to enter than to leave, hence my blog entitled: The Cloud Migration Gap and a 60s Castaway Comedy. Without seamless integration the notion of a hybrid cloud is a footnote, certainly not a disruption. It is only a matter of time (or perhaps technology) before VMware is joined by a chorus of vendors who simply agree that a hybrid cloud is a single cloud, not two clouds strapped together for a minimal payoff.
That is why I think that cloud migration and integration may be the most substantial components of the critical gap between the two cloud operating model and the true hybrid cloud, a seamless integration between physical data center and various (and evolving) forms of IaaS. Now it is time for the plethora of cloud migration vendors and solutions as well as the cloud service providers to evolve and embrace the hybrid cloud that VMware has so carefully and forcefully articulated.