The Challenges of Pursuing the Hybrid Cloud

December 9, 2015
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

It’s no secret that getting to the hybrid cloud is a top priority for progressive businesses. In fact, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets, demand for the hybrid cloud is growing at a rate of 27%, far outstripping growth of the overall IT market. However, are we on the verge of realizing the benefits of the hybrid cloud? Or does the concept still face some significant hurdles? Is Nirvana anywhere near?

While CIOs and others often get starry-eyed when discussing the future of hybrid clouds — there are some obstacles preventing a full-hearted embrace by some businesses. Strangely enough, it’s often the very nature of existing technology investments that provide significant challenges to hybrid cloud adoption.

Software Licensing

Perpetual licenses are a staple of the IT world because of their known billing cycles and predictable billing amounts. CIOs like knowing how much they are going to spend and perpetual licensing models offer that kind of steady assurance.

Depending on the model of the perpetual license, the software represents an initial purchase with only incremental maintenance costs billed yearly, a very appealing cost-structure for many organizations. Moving to a hybrid cloud model can add vast amounts of complication to whole IT budgets as well as headaches for the finance department. Billing cycles can vary widely and billing models may range anywhere from per site, per user, per device or—as is often the case—per use. While hybrid clouds can offer the flexibility of changing services and providers at the click of a mouse, the unknown and unpredictable costs of such a model often deter adoption.


While one of promises of hybrid cloud’s greatest promises is truly portable workloads, the reality is often very different. Building solutions to work on one public cloud does not guarantee the portability of that workload to another public cloud provider. As noted by the authors of Hybrid Clouds for Dummies, “workload complexities are more prevalent in a hybrid cloud environment than they were with a single cloud architecture.” Because there is no standardized API across all public clouds, the true vision of the hybrid cloud may be more like a promised land rather than a reality at this point. This doesn’t even tackle the more obvious situation—that of moving on-site workloads to a cloud environment. Having a truly portable workload between the physical and the cloud often remains elusive.

VMware vCloud Air

VMware vCloud Air is tackling the problems of moving to a hybrid cloud for those businesses already engaged in VMware virtualization. By offering a 100% vSphere compliant public cloud environment, the issue of workload portability from on-prem to cloud-based is largely negated. Basically, if it runs virtually on vSphere, it’s portable to vCloud Air. Additionally, VMware boasts that its vCloud Air cloud is 40% faster than either Azure or AWS, perfect for those who need both speed and workload portability.

As for billing, VMware offers a variety of ways to create a more predictable billing cycle and amounts while moving to the cloud. Oftentimes, you can even bring your own software licenses, further reducing initial costs while moving to the hybrid cloud. If you are using VMware to do virtualization, vCloud Air is a smart way to move to a hybrid cloud model with minimal risk and cost.

I know there’s been some concern of vCloud Air being moved to Virtustream. However, should it occur, this move may actually allow for more robust cloud offerings while positioning the jointly owned company to become one of the top 5 public cloud providers in the world. In my opinion, that’s a win for VMware users everywhere.

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