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Virtustream COO: Hybrid Cloud Has Already Won

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Virtustream COO Simon Walsh explains why he believes hybrid has already won the cloud battle

Having passed through the first wave of cloud computing, businesses are now looking at how to optimise their cloud operations and get the best ‘bang for their buck’ related to their specific needs.

This is happening across all industries and has led to organisations frequently splitting workloads across different cloud platforms and vendors, taking either a multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud approach in what has become an extremely complicated world to navigate.

According to Simon Walsh, COO of Dell-owned Virtustream, the route taken is usually triggered by a business problem – or what he calls “a compelling event” – and more often than not, the answer is hybrid.

azure, hybrid cloud

A hybrid world

“Cloud is a way of doing stuff, it’s something you do not something you buy,” he explained. “Every single company will have a compelling event which forces a change of something.”

He cited Jaguar Land Rover as an example, a Dell EMC customer that is currently focusing on updating its legacy data centre infrastructure in order to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry environment. This poses some interesting questions for CIOs. 

“Do you do that yourself because there’s a compelling event? Do I go and spend a load of money yourself on a modernised data centre, or do I put some of that in the cloud and have it run for me because I don’t need to run everything myself?”

It’s these types of questions that lend weight to the hybrid cloud argument. Because modern businesses are so complex, taking a one size fits all approach simply isn’t possible.

By putting workloads in the best place for them rather than trying to group them all together, businesses can keep their most important data under their control and hand over the management of less important data to a third party.

“We’ve talked about hybrid cloud for the last five years and its been a slide myth until recently. I think hybrid’s doing to win. Hybrid has won actually,” Walsh explained. 

“It’s because every customer is going to go multi-cloud. That might be their own cloud, it might be AWS, it might be Google, it might be Virtustream, it might be Microsoft, it might be a regional service provider. They’re going to do it because you cannot get everything from everyone.

“You put the workloads in the right locations, so hybrid has won because you will not have everything on-premise and you will not have everything off-premise.”

Although not a steadfast rule, it’s one that more and more businesses are following and a trend that Walsh believes will continue for the foreseeable future.

Dell Technologies

The Dell ecosystem

Of course a significant advantage that Virtustream has over its competitors is that it is part of the Dell Technologies family of companies, put together at considerable expense by Dell founder Michael Dell with last year’s EMC acquisition.

This means it is able to leverage technologies from the likes of VMware and Dell EMC and create joint propositions that increase its stature within the market.

But it’s two-way street. As good as Dell Technologies is for Virtustream, the company has also made itself a valuable cog in the machine by carving out its own niche as “the cloud unit of Dell”.

Walsh explained: “Virtustream’s value proposition hasn’t changed dramatically [since the acquisition]. The biggest difference is that, instead of Virtustream being a private entity in the public cloud space, we’re now the cloud unit of Dell which means we provide the on and off-prem cloud services.

“We’re using VMware and Dell EMC technologies and we’re partnering with companies like Pivotal to establish that whole ecosystem. So we’ve gone from playing a component role to being a fundamentally independent force. We play a strategic role for when a customer needs a hybrid cloud.”

So, Virtustream needs Dell, but Dell also needs Virtustream. By bringing the various technologies together, the two companies are able to offer platforms and services that solve multiple business problems in one go, with everything essentially under one roof.

That’s a capability that Virtustream’s competitors will be hard pressed to match.

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