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Hybrid matters and heterogeneous matters. Those were two of the conclusions from a survey that Red Hat conducted with more than 400 attendees of the recent VMworld conference in San Francisco.

When asked whether they were considering a private or a public cloud for storing their unstructured data, the type of data that increasingly dominates storage and analytics discussions, a small majority  (51 percent) said that they planned to use on-premise/private clouds. However, nearly as many (44 percent) said that they would use a hybrid architecture that consisted of both private and public clouds. Only about 4 percent said that they would use exclusively public clouds, perhaps reflecting concerns about compliance and other data regulatory and security requirements or simply the costs and technical difficulties associated with moving large quantities of unstructured data across external networks.

Many respondents also plan to have a heterogeneous hypervisor environment. That all of the respondents use VMware vSphere isn't exactly a surprise—this survey was conducted at VMworld after all. However, a full 20 percent also use or plan to use Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (and nearly as many use or plan to use Microsoft Hyper-V). These results support a multi-hypervisor strategy. These results are fully consistent with other recent data from the Gabriel Consulting Group about hypervisor diversity.

Whatever the hypervisor though, it's worth noting that—at least on Linux—“bare iron” remains an important part of the equation. At Red Hat, we've consistently observed that there's been more of an imperative to virtualize Windows systems to address limitations that we've seen in that operating system's ability to achieve multi-tenancy in other ways. Even today, and even at VMworld, 30 percent of the survey respondents are planning to continue running Red Hat Enterprise Linux purely on half of their physical servers. Another 28 percent plan to keep the majority of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems bare metal. That said, 13 percent plan to move to 100 percent virtualization with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the balance plan to virtualize the majority of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers.

Finally, consistent with the results of a similar survey that Red Hat conducted last year, the respondents don't plan to radically change their programming practices because of cloud computing, whether public cloud or otherwise. Although a significant number (40 percent) are still figuring out their exact plans, almost as many (42 percent) plan to continue using the same languages and frameworks that they use in-house. These results supports a “polyglot” Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) approaches such as with Red Hat OpenShift that allow developers to choose the languages and frameworks of their choice.

To sum things up, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In many respects, cloud computing represents a major step forward in how IT operates and how applications are consumed. At the same time, heterogeneous IT remains the order of the day—just as it's always been.

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