UK Leads In Private Cloud Adoption

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Businesses in the UK are pushing into the cloud at a faster-than-average rate, according to VMware

The UK is one of the most advanced markets for data centre virtualisation in Europe, with some British enterprises now reaching the point where 70-80 percent of their x86 estates are virtualised.

So said Dave Wright, VMware’s vice president of technology services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), speaking to eWEEK Europe at the VMworld conference in Copenhagen.

On average, organisations in the EMEA region have server estates that are 30-35 percent virtualised. The proportion increases for larger enterprises at the higher end of the market. However, in the UK, enterprises are moving closer to a model where the majority of their applications are running on virtual machines or in private clouds.

Buying into the cloud

“The UK is where we’ve started to see people really buy into the private cloud concept,” said Wright (pictured). “They have taken what they’ve virtualised, they’ve started to add a management layer over it. Now they’re putting a self-service layer over it, and starting to deal with the security side of it.

“On the partner side we’ve started to see people like Colt go out there and set up public clouds that allow them to run in a hybrid environment,” Wright added. “Probably the biggest challenge is explaining to people how to run it all, because they need come up with physical processes to run their IT from a service management perspective.”

VMware’s new cloud management tools – Vmware vCenter Operations, VMware vFabric Application Management and VMware IT Business Management – are designed to ease this transition, giving greater visibility into the workings of private cloud environments.

Meanwhile, VMware is seeing more interest from the small and medium business market in the UK with regards to what they can host in a public and hybrid environment, said Wright. The company is aiming to tap into this market with its vCenter Protect Essentials Plus and VMware Go Pro offerings, which offer a range of capabilities for both on-premise and Software as a Service (SaaS) deployment options.

“If your business is running an engineering company somewhere, you don’t want the hassle of someone to manage an email system or an HR system, so we’re seeing companies come out and say they want to be able to outsource that or run that as a managed service somewhere else,” he said.

Differentiation in the cloud

As the market matures, VMware expects to see more cloud service providers trying to differentiate themselves by customising theior services for particular sectors such as local government or police forces.

“We see people saying we’ll build a cloud but your data will never leave Brussels, or we’ll guarantee it’ll stay in Brussels. People doing high-availability cloud, people doing high-security cloud and putting price differentials in place around that,” said Wright.

At VMworld this week, for example, Oxford University announced plans to build its own private cloud, based on VMware’s vCloud suite, in a move that will allow it to become a shared service provider for various Oxford colleges, as well as other universities around the UK.

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