I'm finding that the "cloud or not" decision increasingly reflects the "rent or buy" decision. Those decision trees have a lot more possible outcomes than they did a decade ago. For example, for most people the answer to "How do I get around town?" was either "Buy, lease or public transit". With the advent of services like Zipcar and Uber, there are more possible answers at a wider variety of price points. Most importantly, the choices are no longer mutually exclusive – after all, most Uber users own a car. The question changes from the very general "How do I get around town?" to "What's the best way to get where I'm going right now?"
The decision process looks very similar in information technology. The question is not "Where should I put all my applications?" It's "What's the best place for this application?" As long as the primary driver is economics, predictability and variability of the workload play the major role in how this decision is made. The more predictable the workload, the more likely it is that it belongs on premises.
So understanding that in the coming years nearly everyone will have workloads both in the cloud and on-premises, EMC is working hard to integrate with public cloud platforms, including Microsoft's Azure and Office 365. Here's a quick map of our current integration points:
Avamar Virtual Edition for Azure allows you to back up "born in the cloud" data, backup data to the cloud, and perform disaster recovery from the cloud. Source level deduplication is an excellent way to minimize egress costs.
Azure Site Recovery allows you to orchestrate disaster recovery and replication operations from Azure. By integrating with SAN replication, you can automate those DR operations while leveraging SRDF for site to site replication.
CloudArray is an incredibly elegant solution to cache or tier infrequently accessed data in public or private clouds. Its compatibility with a large variety of both publicly and privately hosted object stores help our customers avoid lock-in with robust options for cloud to cloud migration of storage.
CloudBoost is a feature of the EMC Data Protection Suite that allows you to leverage cloud object stores for long term retention of backups. EMC's industry leading technologies around data reduction help alleviate the pressures this can place on a WAN infrastructure.
CloudLink SecureVM encryption management not only enables the encryption of the entire virtual machine running in the cloud or on-premises, but by extension, allows you to dictate where and under what circumstances that virtual machine is allowed to run, giving you full control of your cloud VMs.
CloudPools for Isilon were recently announced, enabling native (sans gateway) tiering of Isilon data to object stores residing almost anywhere you want – on premises with ECS, AWS, Azure, and Virtustream.
I'm a huge fan of our Spanning folks. They offer SaaS backup products that can currently back up Office 365 mail and calendar data, not to mention Google Apps and Salesforce. They are coming out with new features at a very quick pace to add on to their already impressive offerings.
All of these solutions either help people leverage the cloud, creating a bridge between public and private IT, or they solve challenges inherent in cloud. These are both spaces that are worth keeping an eye on.