The adrenaline rush for hybrid clouds

LS Subramanian, CEO, NISE

LS Subramanian, CEO, NISE

There is an adrenaline rush to prove that hybrid clouds is what will win the gold for your business in the use of cloud computing. We have Dell – Virtustream (Vmware & EMC), IBM, HP, NetApp and many analysts shouting hoarse that hybrid clouds are the best route to the cloud.

Back to Basics
Gartner’s definition of  hybrid cloud computing refers to policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services.

Let us revisit the NIST Definition – Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. Hybrid cloud can also mean the ability to connect collocation, managed and/or dedicated services with cloud resources.

The Question to Ask
So how does Hybrid cloud suddenly become the holy grail for business cloud computing, it has been demonstrated that in a hybrid cloud the risks are higher and the responsibilities divided and the economics are skewed.

Who are the Cloud Players
The market leaders who have garnered the public cloud market are Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google. It must be noted that HP recently shut down its cloud offering simply because it was a loss making proposition.  Companies need deep pockets to build and sustain public clouds and the leader in this space continues to be Amazon who straddles the public cloud landscape. Today’s stakes are in favour of Amazon capturing 80 percent of the market place for public clouds given its innovation and pace of expansion.  So we have Microsoft and IBM and Google struggling for their market share; Google’s primary revenue model is not from cloud rather it has a robust public cloud platform which is used to offer its profitable services which straddle the ICT space. So this leaves Microsoft and IBM, Microsoft has now turbo charged its cloud presence with its new CEO and does not want to leave any stone unturned in realizing revenue. So it has partnered with Dell to offers its clouds as a hybrid service.

Dell is a privately owned company and will not invest capital on a Public Cloud, it prefers selling is technology solutions and systems.  Dell needs a cloud and its old ally and financier and knight in shining armour Microsoft is ready to help and co exist. Dell will do the same tango as it did with Microsoft for the operating system, today it is a tango of Dell boxes and Microsoft cloud. Dell has a strong and proven arsenal to deliver secure and reliable hybrid cloud services with the acquisition of Virtustream, Vmware & EMC, which is very commendable from strategic acquisition and service offering. Dell has to recover its investments in these great companies it has acquired and being privately owned, the pressure to succeed is greater than that of Wall Street analysts.

IBM is the old damsel, the Big Blue, the one company that moves deftly and surely, and the elephant has started its cloud dance. Unfortunately though this has created thunder and lightning the revenue streams are difficult since it is a late entrant. Plus IBM key revenue is from services which will be down if it does not offer hybrid cloud services. So this is a win-win situation for IBM, keep the customers lights on with IBM services and push hybrid cloud as a soother. With most large corporate and government accounts in its portfolio this works best for IBM, and enhances the revenue with the use of cloud offerings. The customers board is pacified that its business has not lost on the benefits of the cloud. Also when it comes to building Government Public Clouds or Community Clouds IBM is the partner by choice. We must also remember that IBM and Apple tango together as partners in the cloud ecosystem.

NetApp is the last man standing in the storage market, waiting for the right suitor to buy them, until then their survival is by offering hybrid storage. It is an innovative company and still has its two great offerings Cloud OnTap platform manages both on-premise and cloud storage products and its All Flash FAS businesses  which offers a flash storage technology with 20x the performance of traditional hard disk drive systems. Though it is a small player when compared to Dell, IBM and HP it is in the reckoning as the lubricant for an on premises or hybrid cloud solution for big data and analytics.

Adrenalin Rush is Short
An adrenaline rush lasts for a short duration and one hopes that the hybrid clouds do not serve the purpose of being used as a stepping stone in the cloud journey of organizations adoption of public clouds driven by economics and performance.

We must follow the hybrid cloud development for a few quarters when it will be clear whether hybrid clouds are really the winners which can be demonstrated by ROI and reliability.  Until then may the loud debate of hybrid Clouds versus other clouds continue, this is an all out war between those who have a cloud and those who do not have a cloud service. So there is still more play left and we have to wait for the dust to settle till we know whether it is a tie between public and hybrid or the hybrid cloud takes it all — leaving the present winner the public cloud way behind.  Keep tracking these companies to be ahead of the curve of this great battle between public and hybrid clouds.

– The author , L S Subramanian, is CEO of NISE.  LS (as he is called) is also a respected thought leader known for his innovation in information technology for business. He is the architect of the OTC Exchange of India, India’s first online trading national stock exchange and has advised NCDEX, Power Exchange, CRISIL, Exchange Next  and other companies in trading solutions and processes.  He can be reached at


Other articles by L S Subramanian

Why speed of execution is crucial for Indian startups

How a solar mobile phone can transform banking for the poor in India

Bharat Badal – Why rural India needs a national cloud computing plan?

Why India needs to build 100 new smart cities from the ground up

Can Indian banks do a Flipkart in customer service?

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