At VMworld 2019 in San Francisco, during the last week of August, VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger confirmed to an audience of 20,000+ loyalists: cloud is the new black. As a trend, black goes in and out of fashion almost with the cycles of the moon. At some point however, an essence is distilled and acknowledged as timeless. Midnight, noir, cynical, or licorice – the point is that there is one little black dress (or tux, suit, or sports jacket as the mood takes you) indispensable as part of everyone’s overall wardrobe strategy. Pat clearly signaled from the stage that the debate is over: cloud is an essential element of every enterprise IT strategy. And he has the data to prove it.
Source: Photo taken at VMworld 2019
Data science is the new religion for business, which is good as it so easily dovetails into the ritualistic performance of keynote speeches featuring PowerPoint slides that show graphs going up and to the right. Pat’s speech prophesized a world with over 13.5 million developers in 2024 (up from five million today) and something in the neighborhood of 792 million apps! Taken at face value, IT operations is going to have to deal with 2.5 times more high-touch, high-demand customers and support almost six times as many artifacts as it does today.
The only way to deal with these kinds of numbers is by embracing cloud principles of self-service, elasticity, pooling, measurement, and broad access. VMware has positioned itself to provide a single set of tools so that no matter what shade of infrastructure (public, private, hybrid, multi), no matter what venue (DC, co-lo, Azure, AWS, IBM, Google, etc.) you might find yourself in, you’ll always be dressed for success!
With growth projections like that, enterprise IT might well be forgiven for dusting off their plans to open that little chip wagon down on the boardwalk. Whether or not the numbers live up to the hype, we know that citizen programing is on the rise. Some regard it as a necessary prerequisite for the modern, digital, or data-based society. Even Satya Nadella said "We are not just going to have professional developers to build these applications. We need citizen developers." on stage at the Inspire conference earlier this year. Last time we had citizen developers build biz applications en mass, enterprise IT was left holding a big bag full of Access97 databases…how do we avoid the access locks, scripts over code, corruption, backup, and forking control issues of yore?
Technology (even as great and powerful a technology as the mighty VMware has to wield) will not be enough solve this problem. Guard rails for the build, run, manage, connect, and protect areas of traditional infrastructure activity will certainly help, but in a digital-first environment, you can’t expect a single group to act as a clearinghouse to protect integrity and quality. It creates a chokepoint at best and is naive at worst.
IT leaders are going to have to go further to build process and a culture that ensures non-IT citizens understand that with great development powers comes greater responsibility.