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VMblog Expert Interview: Virtana Talks Cloud Migration, Optimization and Common Cost Issues

interview-virtana-kilbride 

Enterprises are quickly realizing the critical business need to gain more visibility and control over the cost and management of their hybrid and multi-cloud environments without sacrificing the cloud’s performance, security and scalability benefits.

To better understand the challenges of cloud migration and optimization, as well as their common cost issues, VMblog reached out to industry expert, Bob Kilbride, VP of Channels and Alliances at Virtana.

VMblog: To start, tell us a little about Virtana - what's your focus and who are your customers?

Bob Kilbride: Virtana delivers an AI-powered multi cloud management platform that enables enterprises to run the right workload, on the right cloud, at the best performance, capacity, and cost available. The Virtana Platform radically simplifies the optimization, migration, and monitoring of application workloads across public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. For customers looking to better manage their hybrid cloud IT infrastructure, our hybrid cloud optimization solution - Virtana Optimize - helps to improve cost, capacity, and performance in real time on an ongoing basis. For customers looking to migrate or assess current migrations, our Virtana Migration solution and service provides full visibility into existing on-premises workloads and infrastructure to help enterprises make the best decisions about application priorities, grouping, and deployments.

The strength of our solutions is evident based on the positive outcomes we're enabling at customers like Geico, Apple, Nasdaq and Costco, to name a few. We also offer a value-rich partner program that gives our partners access to a comprehensive set of benefits, support, and solutions through which Virtana products and services can be developed, promoted, and sold. Partners like Presidio, vCore and SHI/Stratascale are taking advantage of our program to expand their offerings and drive valuable results for their customers. We also have strategic partnerships in place with large technology partners, including AWS, Cisco, and DellEMC by which we are delivering best-in-class hybrid infrastructure management solutions to our joint customers.

VMblog: Why is cloud migration and optimization such a big deal for enterprises right now?

Kilbride: Cloud adoption is a popular (and dare I say crucial) move for companies for various reasons. Firstly, they're looking for the agility that the cloud can provide, which helps aid in the digital transformation we've seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, companies are looking to shift from CapEx to OpEx, resulting in an exit from on-prem data centers. Lastly, they're looking for improved availability in the cloud, as this helps streamline efficiency and prevents resources from going idle. Other benefits to cloud migration include the opportunity to cut costs and ensure systems and data are available anytime and from anywhere.

Cloud migration also became a priority over the past two years with many organizations looking to address the needs of remote work. However, many organizations jumped straight to the cloud without strategizing first, and now these same companies are seeing the high costs associated with the premature move. In a survey we released in February of last year, 72% of respondents stated that their organization required applications to be repatriated (moved back from the cloud) for performance or cost reasons, or a combination of both, as a result of insufficient planning.

Unfortunately, a lot of providers out there aren't doing a good job helping enterprises migrate and optimize their IT in the cloud. In the same survey I referenced above, 82% of organizations with workloads running in the public cloud said they incurred "unnecessary" cloud costs. Organizations need partners like Virtana, who can help them identify these unnecessary costs and resources and optimize their cloud strategy. 

The majority of respondents from that same survey (72%) also said they were fed up piecing together data from multiple IT operations solutions. And as we've seen, the bigger the organization, the more complex their toolkit becomes. We're seeing this same complexity as it relates to companies' cloud strategy, with most companies now using multiple clouds, which is why our goal at Virtana is to be multi-cloud first. As a company, our focus is on what we call "day zero", the planning aspect of a customer's migration to the cloud. This way, the customer is not surprised by the deployment itself, costs, or idle resources.

VMblog: When migrating to the cloud, what do enterprises miss that causes the most problems?

Kilbride: When migrating, most enterprises don't understand (or realize the sheer scale of) the applications they currently have and what their dependencies to other applications are. If apps and workloads aren't understood and mapped properly prior to migration, that complexity and lack of visibility often leads to unexpected costs, poor performance, or other business-impacting side effects.

One of our MSP partners recently looked to us to help them create the right migration plan and transition strategy to the cloud for their large enterprise client. By using VirtualWisdom, our AI-powered monitoring, analytics, and automation solution, and Virtana Platform, their customer immediately saved between €300k-800k. Another MSP helped their multinational fast food chain customer realize 25-35% cloud cost savings post migration by partnering with Virtana. We're working with these partners and their clients every step of the way in their cloud migration journey.  

VMblog: What are some common cost issues you are finding for customers in their cloud deployments?

Kilbride: Our customers' most common cost implications come from having idle resources and larger-than-needed servers or containers. We recently helped one customer uncover these findings, as they were experiencing both issues and struggled to make sense of their cloud bills. They employed Virtana Optimize and were able to easily connect to the platform and instantaneously view actionable data around app usage, unused instances, and rightsizing recommendations.

As a result, they took control of their AWS costs by rightsizing instances, eliminating idle resources, and improving planning, which had they not done, would have cost them $8-9k per month.

VMblog: As enterprises increasingly move to hybrid cloud environments across multiple providers, how much worse does this issue get?

Kilbride: Multi-cloud - the use of multiple public clouds - is here to stay, as we've seen in our hybrid cloud research and from our customers. Our February 2021 survey showed that 78% of companies are investing in the public cloud at the same or an accelerated pace even in the current economic climate; and multi-cloud is the norm, with 81% using multiple public cloud providers. The more clouds an organization has, the higher the costs and the more complex the management of these environments becomes. For example, if you need a self-service deployment and have five vendors, you have five pipelines to manage, secure, and test. Multi-cloud brings companies many challenges in integrating, maintaining and managing not only their vendors but also staff, as well. Virtana helps solve those challenges.

VMblog: Where do you see this market evolving in the coming 12-24 months?

Kilbride: These last few years were focused on identifying the right cloud and migrating to it. But after migration, a lot of companies discovered some downsides to being in the cloud - cost, performance issues, etc. But we believe the next 12-24 months will see these organizations reimagining their strategies and processes to the cloud. We have seen that having multiple clouds has been an increasingly common theme, but with multiple clouds comes increased complexity in managing them, along with other challenges surrounding cloud cost and idle resources, to name a few.

Re-strategizing cloud management will allow organizations to identify these challenges and save time, money, and resources. Over the next 12 months, Virtana will continue to expand on its cloud journey lifecycle management with additional capabilities around Cloud Native Monitoring, all while enabling our partners to deliver valuable cloud management services via our platform.

Lastly, we anticipate a shift to FinOps. As previously mentioned, many organizations have a multi-cloud infrastructure, creating a lot of complexity. According to a report by The FinOps Foundation, complex cloud usage triggers a need for FinOps. However, many companies are at the early stages of implementing a FinOps team or department without much direction on how to organize one. It's imperative for organizations like Virtana to help our customers navigate this shift.

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Published Thursday, April 21, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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