The internet is afire today with news of VMware’s acquisition of CloudHealth. It’s too soon to say what this means for existing CloudHealth customers– but that’s not what I want to rant about today.
I take issue with the quote from VMware’s CEO: “Anybody who is deploying apps operating in a cloud is utilizing multiple public clouds. How do I manage that complexity? CloudHealth is exactly aligned with that.” From my boots-on-the-ground perspective, please let me to politely and respectfully call that narrative moronic.
Companies who are building multi-cloud environments are doing so in a very carefully structured way. They’ll deploy a single workload to Azure, and two hundred workloads to AWS, or else they’ll have two different divisions using two completely different providers, and the only place those two interact is over in finance under the “infrastructure spend” categories on the P&L. The “lesser” cloud generally started off as shadow IT, or by way of acquisition.
As Ben Kehoe mentioned in a glorious analogy, you can liken multi-cloud to cow-tipping. We know that cow-tipping is a myth for one reason: there are no videos of it on YouTube. Likewise, there are no keynote talks to speak of wherein well known brands say “we were all-in on a large public cloud provider, but we wanted to expand to AWS/Azure/GCP/Oracle Cloud/DigitalOcean/IBM Cloud.” Even when we read the regulatory filings of large companies that discuss large cloud deals, there’s suspiciously little ever said in public about “We’re embracing a multi-cloud strategy.” Pour three to five drinks into an insider, and the real story generally emerges through the sobs: “We bet on Cloud X, and it turns out it’s crap, so we’re trying to get off of it entirely. Multi-cloud is purely a transitional step that we’re rushing to get past.”
If multi-cloud is crap, and it is, why are so many people talking about it? The only folks pushing for it are vendors who stand to lose everything if multi-cloud doesn’t take off. As all public cloud offerings improve, the only need many shops will realistically have in five years for a third-party solution is to tie multiple providers together. In other words, nobody’s going to buy a third-party cost analysis platform just to manage their AWS spend once Cost Explorer stops being complete garbage. They’ve invented a problem and positioned themselves as the solution– because otherwise there’s an entire ecosystem out there that’s looking at an extinction level event as the large cloud providers eat their lunch.