Ed Snowden crocked cloud, says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Oh no! Biz needs cross-cloud abstraction to move data across borders

VMworld 2015 Edward Snowden crocked the cloud for everyone, says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Speaking at VMworld 2015 today in San Francisco, Gelsinger said he once assumed that organizations would decide to work with an infrastructure-as-a-service company, a platform-as-a-service supplier, and some software-as-a-service outfits, and then get on with things.

Snowden's news that Uncle Sam and Blighty spies are monitoring everyone, all the time, have resulted in several nations insisting that XaaS players operate within their jurisdictions, and theoretically beyond the immediate reach of the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

Gelsinger said users of business IT won't therefore be able to pick one IaaS, PaaS and SaaS supplier for their global operations. Instead, multinational businesses will need to pick a collection of suppliers that comply with various jurisdictions' requirements.

While some big cloud providers will build multiple parallel rigs around the world – each falling under the local laws on privacy and data protection – there still needs to be a level of abstraction: while the IT pipework is spread out across multiple jurisdictions, businesses prefer all that technology to appear as a single entity.

VMware isn't upset by this: it is, after all, built on abstracting resources. On the first day of VMworld it floated a thought bubble named “unified cloud” that is all about one view of multiple clouds. There's some substance to unified cloud in the form of things like long-distance vMotion, best understood as teleporting workloads between data centers. But much of it is a vision thing.

Gelsinger may, however, have a point: by exposing the extent of surveillance, Snowden has unleashed the most powerful force in the universe, namely the law of unintended consequences. Which looks like it may be about to make your operations more complex, create a need for a kind of global middleware layer, and put a smile on the face of VMware's shareholders.

Or to put it on a scoreboard: Freedom 1, Capitalism 2. ®

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