Popular perception these days is that Amazon Web Services dominates the public cloud, while VMware enjoys the most momentum deploying private clouds that run on-premise.
But a new report from 451 Research based on a global survey of 1,500 IT professionals finds that 57 percent have instances of AWS running and 37 percent cited AWS as their most important infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider.
IaaS providers leading the way
At the same time, 42 percent of the enterprises surveyed reported using the Microsoft Azure platform. Only 20 percent ranked Microsoft Azure as the most important IaaS provider for their organization, which may account for why respondents viewed AWS as providing a better experience and higher levels of technical innovation. Nevertheless, the respondents also made it clear that Microsoft is the next IaaS provider they’re likely to evaluate.
Meanwhile, VMware clearly dominates on-premise data center environments, with 70 percent of respondents reporting they use some form of VMware software. But the survey results also indicate that more than 70 percent of VMware customers have deployed an alternative cloud platform such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Microsoft Cloud OS.
Diversity in the cloud
To make matters more interesting, 34 percent of the respondents report they are also using hosted private clouds. The survey finds that with 20 percent Rackspace has the highest amount of share in this segment of the market. According to the report, the rest of the hosted private cloud market is highly fragmented.
It’s clear that there’s more diversity inside and outside of the cloud these days. AWS and VMware might still dominate when it comes to production applications, but rival platforms are at the very least getting evaluated as a viable alternative.
Managing hybrid cloud computing
The challenge facing IT services providers is going to be finding ways to manage all these public and private clouds. For all the talk about hybrid cloud computing, all these different cloud computing platforms are semi-autonomous. For the time being, that means IT service providers will need to manage these solutions in isolation from one another. That means deploying dedicated expertise surrounding each cloud platform, which usually comes complete with its own management console.
For IT service providers, increased diversity usually means more complexity. Naturally, increased complexity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it tends to increase IT service management costs. On the other hand, it also increases demand for cloud service management expertise.
The IT service provider that gains the most efficiency in managing all those cloud environments will usually enjoy the most profits. But attaining that level of proficiency usually requires time and patience.
In the meantime, hybrid cloud computing environments that are truly heterogeneous will evolve in the fullness of time. But in the short term, most of what we call hybrid cloud computing today will involve connecting two instances of VMware or OpenStack to each other rather than connecting VMware to OpenStack or AWS.