Enterprise Hybrid Cloud – Smaller and Simpler with VxRail

First – the headline, because a headline this good shouldn’t be buried: Today, a turnkey Enterprise Hybrid Cloud got 3x simpler, and available 3x smaller.   This makes the number of customers for which it’s an interesting option for 10x more customers.

Now – let’s look at context and detail. Hint – always focus on cause, not effect when you want to understand the big picture.

For years now, technology leaders never have woken up on a bright shiny morning in IT and said “you know what I need – I need a new server”… or “new storage” … or “a new network switch will change the game”.

It’s not that there aren’t people that focus on those questions, and for them it’s their world.   It’s not that component level IT topics don’t exist, aren’t filled with innovation and don’t matter.   Component/ingredient level topics matter – but they are the “effect” not the “cause”.

You may be thinking that I’m leading to a point: “that it’s all about Converged Infrastructure (CI) or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)”   Nope. CI and HCI matter more on the big stage than components – but they remain a simplification of “effect”.   CI and HCI are a force that simplifies, collapses and automates the common domains of server/network/compute.   CI and HCI are awesome – but they are just a part of the picture. CI and HCI represent the foundation of “transformation of IT” (customers getting out of the server/network/storage business), but not a full vehicle for “business transformation”.

So what is the “cause”, this “prime mover” I’m talking about?

The cause has been and will continue to be a simple idea that should never be lost: IT’s job is to support business applications and critical workloads, and more generally provide platforms for the business via SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. This is the cause for IT. This is the purpose of IT – it’s “raison d’etre”.  

IT’s “cause” is to provide these platforms that enable the business to run and innovate.   It’s important for all IT practitioners and innovators to always keep it in mind.   Remember cause leads effect, not the other way around.   Put otherwise – don’t start from the bottom up, start top down.

This is why one of the most important missions at Dell EMC and ultimately at Dell Technologies isn’t at the component level (though that matters), or even at the CI/HCI level (though that matters) – but how we make turn-key business platforms for IaaS, PaaS – the Multiple, Hybrid Cloud Platforms that are the “cause”.

Let’s break down the key words there: “Hybrid”, “Multiple”:

  1. The “Hybrid” vs. “Public Only” or “Private Only” debate is really over – except in the minds of a few – particularly those who like hyperbole 🙂   With notable exceptions to be sure – the answer will be Hybrid – why?
    • For data gravity reasons. Compute tends to live where the data lives – and will bias to where the data is born (either on or off premises). This is due to physics, not alt-facts.   Speed of light. The economic curves of WAN relative to persistence, compute and local networks.
    • For governance reasons. This is NOT the same as not the same as “security”. I’m tending to ignore people who FUD public cloud security which can be demonstrated as better than many private clouds.
    • For economic reasons. Public will always win for workloads that are highly variable, relatively transient – public clouds have an overwhelming advantage for highly elastic workloads, particularly ones that have a compute bias. Conversely, there are fundamental reasons why we are even seeing some repatriation of workloads in private clouds (whether it’s Uber, Dropbox, or others) at the same time that here is an indisputable massive growth public clouds – this is not an OR, it’s an AND.

There is no question that he massive web-scale public clouds have changed the game, and the pendulum is swinging – but the pendulum will settle with a blend of on-and off-premises platforms.   This Evaluator Group study shows the simple economic picture of on and off-premises models – not that on-premises always wins either, but rather that with workload variation, it’s both, not one or the other.   Net? The answer is “hybrid” – the question has shifted to “what stacks, what workloads, what models” – get used to it.

  1. If “hybrid” is the answer – you then ask a simple follow up question: Does anyone really believe that they will have just ONE IaaS/PaaS/SaaS in every customer? Of course not!   Therefore “multiple” becomes critical.   Technologies that link/bind together multiple clouds become important.   What are examples of “binding” technologies?
    • Sidebar: I’m increasingly skeptical about heterogeneous IaaS bridges that just end up neutralizing all platforms. I see customers using heterogeneous Cloud Management Platforms (CMP) to do this and the strategy that seems to win more often is about picking the CMP that is linked to your stack of “most use”, and then binding and extending what you can.   For example people use vRealize to manage AWS, Azure and other OpenStack based IaaS – but even that is somewhat limited value – because these CMPs all neutralize a given layer (like an IaaS) without a ton of benefit. I’m increasingly confident about things that bind without “homogenizing that particular layer”, but more are about “value on TOP of that layer”.
      • Examples include: Pivotal Cloud Foundry creating a common PaaS across multiple IaaS platforms
      • ServiceNow as an ITSM that spans and binds many services
      • There are examples “inside” the IaaS layer – but only where they provide some big incremental value – an example of that would be NSX and other cross-cloud networking, encryption and security services.
      • Heck, there’s an argument that configuration/automation tools (Puppet, Chef, Ansible and the like) are things that bind together multiple clouds, but without the “homogenization” of the CMPs.

Now, this brings us to today’s news – we are now offering Enterprise Hybrid Cloud on VxRail.

Why does this matter?   As much as point #1 (hybrid) and point #2 (multiple) above are true – there’s something that we simply must face as an industry:

Currently, deploying, managing, supporting, and all “day 2” lifecycle operations for private clouds is WAY, WAY too hard, and starts WAY, WAY too big (in hardware, and in software complexity).

This is an industry problem for us to solve – and we’re fighting to lead the way at Dell Technologies.

We’ve been working on the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) for four years now – and have been working with customers of every size, every part of the world.   We’ve found a common set of needs that are way beyond a basic IaaS. It’s an IaaS stack engineered for the needs of an enterprise.   What does that mean?   It’s built around the VMware IaaS (vRealize, NSX, vSphere, and now vSAN in VxRail) – but also includes things that we’ve found most enterprises expect:

  • Sophisticated workflows for integrated data protection and DR
  • Platform hardening and additional security measures and encryption capabilities
  • Database-as-a-Service
  • Multi-site topologies where workflows follow workloads as they move between sites.

It’s not just IaaS – it’s ITaaS.

Furthermore – together Dell EMC and VMware standup and take single call responsibility for the full stack, not only getting it running, but full lifecycle (patch, upgrade, decommission) and single call support.

EHC has been deployed at some of the largest customers in the world – and deploying hybrid cloud has not been easy – even with great tech and great people.   I hate to be so blunt, but we have hundreds of people that have been working on this for years. I cringe to think of a customer taking on the challenge themselves.   It’s also historically only available on massive VxBlocks – so between the software, the services, the hardware – the price tag is enormous.   Frankly, the customers like it – but it doesn’t feel too “cloud like”.

This is an industry call – if we can’t make ITaaS simpler, easier – then it’s on us.

So – we have made EHC much simpler.   3x simpler.

So – we have made EHC much smaller.   3x smaller to start – bringing it to customers who previously couldn’t afford it.

…But we managed to do it without losing EHC ITaaS capabilities and its ability to scale.

With the release of EHC 4.1.1 on VxRail, we’ve taken a huge step together with VMware.

Customers can have the full Enterprise Hybrid Cloud capability at a 3x smaller starting point in every metric (size, cost, VMs).   By pivoting to a strong focus on HCI as a simplifying factor – and using VxRail Appliances, the industry’s best HCI Appliance for VMware, we can start small and grow.

Just as importantly, we’ve been working overtime to automate most the deployment tasks – EHC is now 3x simpler.   EHC is now a great answer for tens of thousands of customers that previously would have seen it as “out of reach”.

I want to offer my congratulations to the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud team – hundreds of passionate folks at Dell EMC and VMware working to make IT and Business Transformation easy.

Cause? Customers need simple, cost-effective Hybrid Clouds.

Effect?   Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is now on VxRail.

About the Author: Chad Sakac

Chad Sakac leads the Pivotal Container Service (PKS) efforts at Pivotal where he brings together the Engineering, Marketing and GTM aspects of the business – with the goal of building the best Enterprise Container Platform together with VMware – part of how Pivotal is transforming the way how software and the future is built. PKS is a joint effort with VMware – and the effort involves bringing the immense resources of two great companies together. This alliance part of Chad’s role extends to all of the elements of how Pivotal works with Dell Technologies (Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream, Boomi) - across the transformational methodologies (Pivotal Labs, Platform Acceleration Labs, Application Transformation and more) and technologies (all of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Data) of Pivotal as a whole. Prior to this role, Chad spent 14 years at Dell EMC where he was responsible for several technical customer focusing on customer and partner innovation – most recently as the President and GM of the Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CPSD), and prior to that leading all global Systems Engineering team. Before joining EMC, Chad led the Systems Engineering team at Allocity, Inc. Chad authors one of the top 20 cloud, virtualization and infrastructure blogs, “Virtual Geek” He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.