The way that I see it, VMware is up for a political fight in many of its customers’ IT departments. Two things have become evident to me this week at VMworld 2011 – first, moving to the cloud is going to involve rewriting a lot of our applications and two, this is going to to be as much a political shift in our companies as a technical shift.
I think that the political issue is easier to explain, so I’ll begin there. Unlike virtualization or virtual infrastructure, the decision to move to the cloud is not going to come from the systems group in most companies. The systems groups may be able to advocate the change and provide the reasons for it, but it is going to have to be a strategic move from higher management. The tangible monetary benefits of cloud are less clear than with virtualization, whose primary motivators were increasing utilization of physical machines and reducing the number of physical machines required which saved money. In other words, the IT systems group is not going to be the primary advocate or decision maker when moving to the cloud. Cloud is going to need to meet some higher business need rather than a technical need, although there are technical benefits.