For these reasons, mobility across the data plane is important, but it means companies need a decision matrix for what they run in the various clouds and how often they’ll move, “so movements don’t become the cost,” said McCallum. “We don’t want to pay an army to move apps then pay the same army to move them back.”
These issues boil down to an organization’s culture and how it makes decisions, he said. Companies can choose to use cloud management tools to enforce the policies and decision criteria they create – such as Nutanix Beam for cost optimization and Nutanix Calm for application optimization.
“But those tools can’t create the criteria for them,” McCallum said. “Businesses have to do that work themselves.”
Newer development and management tools can also have a big impact on preparing businesses for cloud changes by providing an abstraction layer between apps and the underlying cloud platform, said Sahil M Bansal, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Nutanix.
“If you don’t have an abstraction layer, it becomes really challenging to exit one cloud for another,” he said.
That problem is the primary one that the Nutanix Cloud Platform, which runs the Acropolis Operating System (AOS), attempts to solve, he said. AOS once ran in data centers only, but now provides a common platform that spans private data centers, private clouds and AWS and Azure (in preview) public clouds, allowing seamless workload movement among the dissimilar environments.
In addition, through a recent development agreement with Red Hat, businesses can also build containerized applications on the AOS platform so they “no longer have to worry if an app has to move to another environment,” Bansal said. “Apps can move to any supported platform.”
Andreessen Horowitz’s Casado said the industry is “in the early days of cloud and just starting to understand its economic implications.
“Cloud isn’t a location or a company,” he said. “It’s an operating model.” One that can be deployed on-premises in a private data center, in a collocation facility, or as a service over the public Internet.
“What’s important is having optionality in how you consume it. The right way to do that upfront is [to deploy] multicloud,” which lets enterprises continually match workloads to the infrastructure best optimized to run them.
Editor’s Note: A real-world analysis of some of Nutanix customers’ cloud usage trends revealed that just three simple actions could help them reduce their cloud spend by 15% or more. These include eliminating old and unused VMs or VM snapshots, rightsizing underused VMs and rightsizing underused databases. Learn more in the Nutanix Cloud Usage Report.
Follow industry insights from Andreessen Horowitz Partners Sarah Wang and Martin Casado on Twitter at @sarahdingwang and @martin_casado.