It's very likely that most of the world will be stuck in hybrid cloud land for a long, long time. Even Andy Jassy, AWS' cloud chief, told the AWS re:Invent audience three years ago that the shift to a mostly public cloud future would take 10 to 20 years.
And yet, over the last year, and reaching a crescendo at this week's AWS re:Invent 2018, AWS keeps announcing enterprises like Korean Air and Amgen that are moving most or all of their workloads to the cloud giant. Starting most notably in 2015 with General Electric, which announced it was shuttering 30 of its 34 data centers to rely instead on AWS, Amazon Web Services keeps talking a great hybrid cloud game even as its song remains the same: All-in on AWS.
SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research)
And you...and you...and you
Not that any company moves en masse to AWS (or any other public cloud provider) at the start. As Satheesh Ravala, Senior Vice President, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Ellie Mae, has noted, "As a result of early successes on AWS, we are confident that their services will continue to give us what we need to be nimble, innovate, achieve results, and cut costs while we grow and expand our business well into the future." This is typical rah-rah talk for a press release, but implicit in Ravala's comment is months (or, more likely, years) of using AWS piecemeal before going all-in.
Others, like Korean Air, seem to have done less tire kicking yet still have committed to a 10-year journey with AWS, decommissioning its data centers over the next three years as it "overhaul[s its] entire IT infrastructure in the next three years, moving all...websites, cargo management, flight control systems, and enterprise resource planning and other systems to AWS," according to Korean Air CIO Kenny Chang. Like Ellie Mae, as well as Amgen ("increased use of AWS facilitat[es] our ability to scale our business at a faster pace"), the goal is the same: Increased flexibility and speed.
Which is why hybrid cloud is a transition, not the end goal.
If we could, we would
Some may tout hybrid cloud as the end goal, but for most companies this is simply an excuse for their slow-moving infrastructure and inability to move to public cloud services faster. Hybrid cloud, in other words, is a fact of life, but it's not necessarily most companies' end goal. Nor is it the end goal for AWS.
While AWS has become increasingly comfortable touting the hybrid tagline, it would be a mistake to imagine that hybrid is baked deep in its DNA. The same company that once called private cloud "fake cloud" isn't suddenly cheering for companies to slow their momentum to a public cloud future; instead, AWS sees hybrid cloud as a necessary on-ramp to public cloud for a significant chunk of their prospective customer base.
Rest assured that the end goal is more of these all-in announcements from enterprises large and small.
- Amazon expands machine learning services ahead of re:Invent (ZDNet)
- AWS re:Invent 2018: A guide for tech and business pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- FAQ: What Arm servers on AWS mean for your cloud and data center strategy (TechRepublic)
- Five most important cloud announcements at AWS re:Invent 2018 (TechRepublic)
- Developers favoring AWS, Microsoft Azure for cloud IoT platforms (ZDNet)
- FAQ: What Amazon's blockchain services mean for your business (TechRepublic)
- 91% of tech leaders say hybrid cloud is 'ideal' IT model (TechRepublic)
- Multicloud: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Matt is currently head of the developer ecosystem at Adobe. The views expressed are his own, not those of his employer.
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.