What constitutes a supercloud is certainly generating a great deal of debate.
That was made clear when theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, hosted its Supercloud2 event last week, a follow-up event of theCUBE’s first supercloud conference last August. Enterprise executives, practitioners and analysts engaged in wide-ranging discussion around the impact of a growing number of businesses built on top of hyperscale cloud platforms.
Emerging trends in self-service infrastructure and how organizations are evolving their data and cloud strategies formed the basis for in-depth analysis as participants shed new light on supercloud and its impact on enterprise IT. (* Disclosure below.)
Here are four insights you might have missed from the exclusive enterprise computing conference:
1. ChatGPT is about a lot more than faked college essays.
The emergence of Open AI’s ChatGPT as a sophisticated chatbot capable of generating highly realistic content has captured a significant amount of media attention in recent weeks. Cries of alarm have sounded over the technology’s ability to autonomously write college term papers and pass a U.S. medical licensing exam.
Yet veteran tech industry observers have noted that major segments of the enterprise have been moving toward bringing machine learning and data together in ways that will undoubtedly forever change how business gets done. This has manifested itself in the development of supercloud platforms built on top of major cloud providers along with the actions of hyperscalers themselves.
As Bob Muglia, former president of Microsoft’s Enterprise business and former chief executive officer of Snowflake Inc., pointed out in his interview with theCUBE, Snowflake now supports Python for task automation, Databricks provides an end-to-end machine learning environment, and the three largest cloud providers offer extensive analytics platforms for the data stack.
“The underlying infrastructure is still super, super nascent, but I think we’ll see the infrastructure develop to take this concept of learned models and put it together with more explicitly defined models,” Muglia said. “Some of these incredible machine learning programs in foundation models like GPT and DALL-E, and all of the things that are happening in these global scale models need to get applied to the domains that are appropriate for a business. The worlds of machine learning and machine learning models are taking over more and more of what applications are doing.”
Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Bob Muglia, along with George Gilbert, principal analyst and investor at TechAlpha Partners, and Tristan Handy, founder and CEO of dbt Labs Inc.:
2. Supercloud is extending the definition of what can be made programmable.
When the object storage startup Chaos Sumo developed what it described as the first “intelligent smart storage” for Amazon S3 in 2017, it was an early tell sign of what would become the supercloud evolution.
Chaos Sumo would go on to become ChaosSearch Inc., the provider of a cloud data platform for activating object storage into a hot, analytical environment. Enterprises could leave data where it resided and leverage multilingual tooling to extract insights.
The company was able to accomplish this innovation by building on top of Amazon S3 and turning it into a database for providing analytics at scale. Along with others following similar models, such as container solutions provider Platform9 Systems Inc., ChaosSearch signals an important move toward making infrastructure a programmable interface.
“Our viewpoint is smart object storage can be programmable,” said Thomas Hazel, founder and chief technology officer of ChaosSearch, in an interview during Supercloud2. “It’s hard to get data in for analysis. We said simply that’s we’ll automate the entire process, give you APIs access across regions, across clouds. We leverage the superclouds.”
Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Thomas Hazel, along with Ed Walsh, chief executive officer at ChaosSearch:
3. Will Starlink provide a viable fallback option for enterprise connectivity?
It wasn’t until the last minute of theCUBE’s interview with Walmart Inc.’s Jack Greenfield, vice president of enterprise architecture and chief architect of Walmart’s global technology platform, that he casually mentioned one very interesting element of his company’s IT operation.
He indicated that Walmart relied on SpaceX’s Starlink low Earth orbit satellite system as a backup for its network connectivity if fiber went down.
“When the disconnection happens, we’re able to fall back to 5G and to Starlink,” Greenfield said. “Starlink is preferred; it’s higher bandwidth.”
The Starlink platform was launched in October 2020 and did not reach 1 million subscribers until late last year. At least publicly, the SpaceX venture appears to be targeting the mobile travel market, having previously announced deals with Royal Caribbean, Hawaiian Airlines and Carnival Corp.
Starlink will face competition from Amazon Inc. and its Project Kuiper initiative to deploy a constellation of 3,236 internet satellites. The race for satellite-based internet connectivity may be heating up, and having Walmart as a major enterprise customer represents a significant development for SpaceX in this emerging market.
Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Jack Greenfield:
4. ‘Enterprise pragmatism’ is driving VMware’s business model in 2023.
In 2020, the market for enterprise application software eclipsed the non-cloud market for the first time, according to Gartner Inc. By 2025, it is expected to be double the non-cloud market.
For independent software vendors, this represents a mouth-watering opportunity and future growth will be driven by an embrace of multicloud services, according to Vittorio Viarengo (pictured), vice president of Cross-Cloud Services at VMware Inc.
“I will argue any new company, any new ISV, is by definition a multicloud services company,” said Viarengo in his opening keynote remarks during Supercloud2.
Viarengo’s company is following this path as well. VMware has crafted its strategy for 2023 based on a pragmatic approach to an enterprise market increasingly dominated by customers’ multicloud preferences.
“VMware has what I like to call ‘enterprise pragmatism,’” Viarengo said. “The private cloud is not going away, so we’re going to help our customers there, and then as they move to the cloud, we are going to give them the option to adopt the cloud at their own pace. With Tanzu and Aria and the rest of the Cross-Cloud Service portfolio, we’ll meet them where they are.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Vittorio Viarengo:
There’s much more supercloud content at theCUBE’s Supercloud2 event page.
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Supercloud2. Sponsors for theCUBE’s event coverage do not have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)