By Tim Sullivan

The Digital Transformation (DX) journey to the cloud is playing out rapidly at organizations of all sizes across the globe. DX almost feels like the Age of Discovery in the 15th century. The cloud feels like the “New World” that was discovered and to which millions of people migrated while many more millions stayed behind in the “Old World.”* In DX, instead of “people” moving, the unit of measure moving is the workload, i.e. the computing resource necessary to accomplish work.   In this new era, the Old World is the enterprise’s legacy datacenter and the New World is the cloud or, more accurately, one or many public clouds.  The average enterprise today has moved work into three to five public clouds, and that number is expected to increase.

But, just as in the Age of Discovery not everyone moved to the New World, not all workloads will move into public clouds.  Most studies predict that equilibrium will come with 50 percent of workloads still in enterprise datacenters and 50 percent distributed across multiple public clouds. There’s a good reason for this prediction. Moving workloads is not as simple as “copy and paste,” even if the workload is virtualized.  Most existing datacenter applications run in VMware infrastructure.   Most public cloud platforms are not based on VMware. Therefore, if one wants to move an application into a public cloud, one must determine if there is positive return on investment (ROI) from “re-platforming” the application. With trillions of dollars invested in datacenter applications running 200 million workloads and functioning quite well, the hurdle rate for re-platforming is quite high.  Still, the cloud offers the opportunity to innovate. So, we can expect to see most new development being done in “cloud-native” technologies such as containers.

Where does all this leave us? With one foot firmly planted in the Old World of the datacenter and the other firmly planted in the New World of the multi-cloud.  This hybrid state is, unsurprisingly, called the hybrid cloud.  How long will enterprises operate a hybrid cloud?  Most experts believe that the hybrid cloud era will last for decades to come.  This has serious implications for the type of security controls that enterprises put in place to manage their workloads regardless of where they’re running: these controls must be architected for the hybrid cloud.   At Caveonix, our primary design goal from the start was to enable our customers to manage their risk and compliance across a hybrid cloud.

*Both “Worlds” have done quite well in the last five centuries, by the way.