The cloud — a collection of services that stores and manages data over an extended network (typically the internet) — has become pervasive across a wide spectrum of the business world. But the power of cloud services has also brought challenges in the form of existing platforms and applications. For businesses today, applications have become the primary drivers of revenue, customer interaction and branding — and applications aren’t cheap to develop, deploy and support. Many companies have large portfolios of legacy applications; in the past the complexity and expense of moving those applications to the cloud were daunting and required difficult choices regarding specific cloud strategies to pursue. Now a new, more flexible approach is changing the way companies adopt and take advantage of the cloud.

Public, private, hybrid

One of the biggest obstacles to modernizing application portfolios is the investment many companies have already made in applications that weren’t written for the cloud. Making these applications work in the cloud can be expensive and difficult, as it often involves wholesale code revision if not top-to-bottom redevelopment.

One answer to these challenges is VMware Cloud, a new offering that seamlessly combines private, public and hybrid cloud solutions while enabling common operations and security.

VMware is helping the world solve their cloud challenges today — and for the future.

“Typically, your job as a cloud provider is to get people into your cloud,” says Sanjay Poonen, chief operating officer of customer operations at VMware. “But we want to be the Switzerland of cloud services. Our goal is to help our customers use any cloud solution they want or need to — private, public or a hybrid solution mixing both. We want to accomplish that while staying out of the way of the developers creating transformative new applications.”

VMware Cloud allows customers to move application portfolios between cloud providers without rewriting the code. “Clouds are basically islands,” Poonen points out. “That makes managing and changing them expensive, risky and complicated. Moving legacy applications to the cloud is often all pain with no gain, and strategies like ‛lift and shift’ that try to replicate applications in a new cloud often mean you can’t take full advantage of the platform. The key is to use the cloud strategically.” ß entire paragraph missing from online.

Lowering risk

This strategy not only makes it simpler and less expensive to move legacy applications and for companies to leverage whatever cloud solution makes sense for their business, it also streamlines and improves security — something on everyone’s mind in an age of hack headlines and compromised systems.

“Your risk increases when you have different approaches and different environments — each of which requires their own security architecture. With VMware Cloud, your approach to security can be consistent and unified,” Poonen says. “We also enable innovative approaches to help manage risk, like micro-segmentation, which is like adding a firewall to every application. And we just released AppDefense, which monitors how your applications are working within a virtualized environment and can detect when they come under threat.”

These new tools are disrupting the world of cloud services in a big way, combining VMware’s history of innovation as the leading virtualization company with the flexibility of using multiple platforms. Giving their customers that kind of choice is powerful, and the business world is paying attention: The company recently announced major partnerships with big cloud players like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google.

The law of modern business is that technology moves fast, and the cutting-edge solution of today is often the legacy headache of tomorrow. VMware is helping the world solve their cloud challenges today — and for the future.