Kathy Gibson reports from VMworld 2016 in Barcelona – It’s just 10 years since cloud computing was first mooted as a commercial possibility, with one of its many selling points the fact that it relieves the user company from many of the tedious, time-consuming and expensive tasks associated with running their own data centres.

But as companies increasingly turn to cloud for at least some of their computing needs, this benefit has proved to be a little elusive, says Guido Appenzeller, chief technology strategy officer: NSBU at VMware.

“We used to think that the customer would move to public cloud and they would no longer have a need for management software,” he says.

“But when you talk to customers who have made the move you understand that they use multiple clouds and are in danger of cultivating siloes.

“We want to help them to bridge these silos and make the whole environment more manageable.”

What’s rapidly becoming clear, Appenzeller says, is that the management services offered by the cloud providers just isn’t enough.

“And because many users are employing cloud services natively, while still running their own data centres, a new generation of services is needed.”

“So what does it mean for the IT department to manage IT in the cloud world?” he asks.

“The IT department is needed to manage this environment more than ever – but there are new challenges.”

Daimler, for instance, has been an early mover in the cloud environment, and is now using cloud extensively for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).

“We quickly notices that each cloud provider had their own strengths, which is why we work with seven cloud providers today,” says Holger Fahner, head of cloud and dats centre networks at Daimler IT infrastructure.

“In addition, the company also runs its own on-premise data centre for workloads that are not suitable for cloud deployment.

“The danger is that this environment could lead to the creation of silos – and functionality that differs in different places depending on where the workload is running.”

As an international company, Daimler faces another layer of challenges when it comes to using pubic cloud.

“Public cloud providers don’t really understand the concept of global connection,” Fahrer says. But the company needs to ensure the customers get the same level of service and the same experience regardless of where they are in the world – and which cloud provider they are connecting through.

Security and compliance is also a huge issue. As a German company, the compliance levels are high and Daimler has a corporate data protection department and an information security department to decide which data can enter the cloud.

It is challenges like this that have prompted VMware to launch a new set of services for its Cross-Cloud Architecture that allow IT to manage both on-premise and cloud environments seamlessly.

The services help customers extend their private workloads into the public cloud, using VMware vCloud Air Network and VMware vCloud Air.

A common driver for cloud adoption is disaster recovery as a service and VMware vCloud Air Network recently introduced vCloud Availability for vCloud Director to the ecosystem of over 4 000 service providers located in more than 100 countries offering VMware-based cloud services.

As part of the announcement, VMware is also introducing the beta of a new vCloud Air disaster recovery solution designed specifically for the enterprise.

The new offering provides the security and isolation of a dedicated cloud environment combined with the simplicity of a replication solution that is directly integrated into vSphere and optimised with SD-WAN technologies.

The company is also introducing the beta of VMware Cloud Foundation Service on vCloud Air which provides a fast and easy way to leverage the combined power of vSphere, VSAN, and NSX in a fully integrated service offering from VMware. When combined with VMware Cloud Foundation environments on-premises, customers gain cloud scale, agility, and flexibility with complete compatibility for a unified hybrid cloud experience.