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Opening up the cloud

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News that VMware is supporting open source software with new packages that will enable customers, particularly enterprises, to utilise containers within their existing VMware infrastructure has been greeted positively by the market. We absolutely agree.

For a while now there has been a growing disconnect between the traditional enterprise approach to running apps in private cloud and IaaS environments and what’s happening in the public cloud industry.

Traditionally enterprise customers have been creating virtualised environments and private clouds based on Microsoft platforms, where applications are manually deployed in highly available server farms. The managed service cloud provider or indeed the in-house IT team look after those servers to ensure that the customers has a stable and secure platform at all times, caring and nursing each server back to health when it fails.

With the rise of public cloud services, delivered by the likes of Amazon and Google, developers are increasingly creating cloud native applications, which use open source technologies, such as containers. The focus is moving from maintaining individual servers, to defining the whole stack in software, leveraging automation and orchestration to deploy, and facilitate the rise of continuous development through DevOps. This moves away from the complexity of traditional enterprise operating systems and applications, such as Microsoft SQL and Oracle databases. These developers don’t care about the stack these applications run on. They simply require a commoditised platform on which to develop them. With this lack of attention on the stack, servers are becoming less important in the delivery of the environment. More and more they will become a battery farm that simply run what’s needed. If a server falls over, it will be trashed and another provisioned in its place.

Typically these native applications require less support and less maintenance; it’s quicker and provides better agility to develop a cloud native app than a traditional one. Not surprisingly, the market has responded and welcomed the native apps for the public cloud. But this has left the private enterprise customers, and VMware somewhat behind.

VMware’s announcement of its support for Docker and other open source software packages, goes a long way to bridging the gap between the traditional enterprise applications focused on vSphere stack and cloud native apps. And it’s not just VMware that is focused on bringing public cloud benefits to the enterprise. MS Windows Server technology is increasingly acting like containers as the software giant attempts to maintain a market presence in the cloud.

The good news is that enterprises will now be able to benefit from the innovations taking place in the public cloud and DevOps industry and bring those into their own secure, reliable private cloud environment. This can only be good news – encouraging competition and further innovation in the enterprise environment.

 

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