CRN Software Defined Data Center Roundtable: Industry Leaders Sound Off On Software Defined Vs. Public Cloud

Software-Defined Data Center Vs. Public Cloud

Industry leaders say through the rapid rise of automation and orchestration technology, businesses are starting to realize the cost benefits of a software-defined data center compared to the public cloud, specifically Amazon Web Services.

"AWS isn't the cheapest solution," said Peter McKay, Co-CEO and President of Veeam, during a CRN Software Defined Data Center roundtable. "Everybody thinks going to the public cloud, going to AWS – it's cheap. And it's not."

McKay was one of several top executives holding decades of experience from some of the largest vendors in the globe who participated in the roundtable discussion. The following are excerpts from the discussion around the cost of on-premise, software defined data centers versus the public cloud.

Paul Miller

Company: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Title: VP of Marketing, HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure

What's interesting about AWS, [is] AWS will give you your utilization on VMs for performance. To get memory, to get network, to get everything else -- you have to pay for those APIs.

One of the problems AWS has is they can't predict usage. So they can't guarantee a performance at all their data centers. And this is where tools like HPE's OneSphere provide insight into on-premise and public cloud regarding performance, availability and usage. I think this is one of the next big holy grails in software defined, is this intelligence that tells you where and why it should run a workload. Not every AWS data center is always going to give you the same performance. [An example] is noisy neighbors. A noisy neighbor could be chewing up a bunch of cycles in the data center. But if you can understand that and say, 'Okay, when [my noisy neighbor] is in town, I'm going to move my workload to AWS West because I know it's not as noisy over there during this part of the week.' … And this is where lines of business can start to make really, really intelligent decisions.

Chad Dunn

Company: Dell EMC

Title: VP of Product Management And Marketing

Two years ago, you went to an account, and it was assumed that public cloud was cheaper, faster, easier. [Customers] said, 'Prove to me why I have to keep this workload on premise?' That doesn't happen now. Now the customers are well aware that they've got to take a look at pricing. It's going to be determined by what those workloads are, what compliance they need to adhere to, what the transit fees are. It's not a given anymore that public cloud is better.

Prashant Gandhi

Company: Big Switch Networks

Title: Chief Product Officer

I don't think any of us, whether it's in the channel community or vendor community, have to be afraid of public cloud. We just have to make sure that we leverage it for the right use cases. There's going to be private cloud for a long time to come because the cost economics are changing. The whole cloud native, software defined and analytics is changing the cost dynamics of on-premise infrastructure. It is making it more cost effective, easier to deploy, less complex, lower OpEx and CapEx, which means it's going to end up going head to head with public cloud economics. That doesn't mean that public cloud use cases are not there.

Our customers are going to public cloud, so the question is, 'How do we make their journey very easy by providing a common hybrid dashboard that allows them to do multi-cloud on-premise, plus AWS, plus Azure, plus Google? How do they do that from a central location? How would they ensure security, compliance, visibility, monitoring?' Our channel partners can provide that by learning and adopting these solutions to provide those services, whether it's on-premise as well as hybrid.

Peter McKay

Company: Veeam

Title: Co-CEO, President

AWS isn't the cheapest solution. Everybody thinks going to public cloud, going to AWS -- it's cheap. And it's not.

Customers are getting smarter about the costs associated with public cloud. That's number one. Then I think they're realizing that there are certain workloads that just make a lot more sense, and some that absolutely don't. That's the shift, there's more realization. There's more people that have brought more workloads to AWS and Azure, and they're realizing the cost. That's the reality. Then they're saying, 'Okay, based on these workloads, this is a better fit than this in shifting those workloads.' … Now they're coming to the reality of, 'Hey, [public cloud] is becoming a bigger and bigger cost. So maybe we should think about how we do this better.' I think there's a lot of that transition.

Frank Rauch

Company: VMware

Title: VP, Americas Partner Organization

When you look at the last three acquisitions that are in progress right now for VMware: VeloCloud, CloudVelox, and CloudCoreo -- they're all aimed at the analytics, the cloud analytics and the cloud security, etc. When you look at where we're investing our money and where we're investing R&D, you look at tools like Cost Insight, it's to be able to establish and optimize use of cloud. When you look at our Hybrid Cloud Extension, it's really optimizing and making it more affordable to be able to move data from on premise to off-premise and back again, etc. We're all in. … Obviously to be able to make it work you need to be able to make the economics work, the security work, the automation and the orchestration work. And without any of the above, you're not going to see the money move.

Paul Miller

Company: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Title: VP of Marketing, HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure

If you're going to continue to compete versus public cloud, it's about increasing utilization and making your data center to be as fungible as the public cloud, because business is moving to be more fungible. Everybody started in this business with, you worked with a client for nine months to get them to roll out an application. That application stayed in there for three to six years. That's no longer the model. The data centers are up and down. With our composable infrastructure, a large US auto manufacturer [for example] specified to us, 'You have to be able to be composable to go in there.' … Applications are coming and going, and they have to have this fungibility that the public cloud has to get the economics.