LAS VEGAS — People like to say “everybody” is using the public cloud, but really, it represents only 15 percent of workloads today. And it won’t represent more than 50 percent of workloads until about 2030.
The focus of the talk was VMware’s slew of cloud announcements, including a partnership with IBM and the introduction of Cross-Cloud Services to manage applications across multiple clouds, both private and public.
To set that up, Gelsinger offered a reminder of the magnitude of cloud — namely, that it’s comparatively not so big.
By VMware’s reckoning, there are about 160 million workloads being run on servers these days, and 73 percent of them are in the hands of traditional IT — on-premises servers, for instance. Twelve percent are on private clouds, leaving about 15 percent being run on the public cloud.
At what point will we have half of all workloads running in the cloud? VMware’s research says it will be 2021. There will be about 255 million workloads by then, with 30 percent running in the public cloud and 20 percent in the private cloud.
Breaking down the 2021 numbers further, 14 percent of the total workloads will run as software-as-a-service, while 16 percent would be cases of infrastructure-as-a-service. (These two make up the public cloud figure of 30 percent.) Keep in mind that SaaS was the original cloud-computing model; the “cloud” industry started with Salesforce.com circa 2006, Gelsinger said.
Public Cloud’s Tipping Point
So, at what point does public cloud, by itself, represent 50 percent of workloads?
VMware’s researchers came up with 2030 as their answer. By then, there will be 596 million workloads, 19 percent of which will still be on traditional IT and 29 percent on private clouds.
So, the takeover of public cloud, in terms of market share, is 14 years away. “We have much work to do,” Gelsinger said.
The migration to public cloud doesn’t mean the IT market will diminish, he added.
“As cloud takes root, IT becomes more cost-effective and more accessible, and we believe it expands the investment in IT,” he said.
The logic there is similar to what Gelsinger experienced during his years as an Intel executive. When Intel’s 486 processor debuted, it was touted as being a possible replacement for multiple 386 processors, which led some within Intel to ask whether microprocessor unit sales might actually decrease.
Of course, that didn’t happen. “As we made processors cheaper, what happened? The market for processors exploded,” Gelsinger said.
Even if the IT market grows in the age of the public cloud, however, the buying patterns in the industry could shift. In hardware, more of the buying power could end up in the hands of cloud titans, for instance. In terms of enterprise IT, functions such as desktop virtualization — VMware’s initial bread and butter — will give way to tools to manage workloads in the cloud. The Cross-Cloud Services portfolio is VMware’s bid to be part of that shift.