VMware stays the course in rough data center seas


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VMware is a company that has always embraced change. As we have already noted, the company that began to disrupt the data center with virtualization technology that initially changed the dynamics – from efficiency to flexibility to costs – of servers and s’ was eventually expanded to include storage devices and corporate networks, creating what it called the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).

As the cloud has dominated the IT conversation over the past few years, VMware has extended its reach beyond the data center and into the cloud and ultimately the edge. Its vRealize management platform can handle containerized workloads as well as data center applications, it leveraged its relationship with Dell Technologies to become the hardware vendor’s key cloud partner and launched its platform. Tanzu form in 2019 which allows developers to build modern applications and supports both containers and virtual machines (VMs).

In addition, the company has developed partnerships with major public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba. It also developed its cloud security capabilities largely through its acquisition of Carbon Black for $ 2.1 billion in 2019.

More recently, the company has seen a change in leadership, with longtime CEO Pat Gelsinger returning to his Intel roots and becoming the chipmaker’s eighth CEO. Raghu Raghuram, an 18-year VMware veteran who has been involved in everything from the company’s development of virtualization to its latest cloud efforts, was named CEO in June.

Today, the company is less than two months away from the split from Dell, which owns around 81% of VMware, a move that makes VMware an independent company that can expand its list of partners and deepen relationships with those with whom she is already working. with.

Raghuram and VMware Chairman Sumit Dhawan – who took over the job around the same time Raghuram became CEO – recently sat down for a virtual Q&A with reporters to talk about the CEO’s first 100 days. , how VMware got to this point and what it plans to do. down the road. And while VMware embraced the change that has taken place in recent years, executives have made it clear that for the enterprise, multicloud and hybrid cloud – the reach of the cloud to the data center and to the edge – are on the horizon. foreground.

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram (left) and Chairman Sumit Dhawan (right)

“Our role is to provide the platforms and infrastructure to enable our customers to take advantage of this IT capability,” said Raghuram. “It’s on multiple clouds in their data center [and] at the edge of the network. It’s this ubiquity of IT that opens up a whole host of exciting new innovations for our customers and we want to be the software publisher that makes it all happen.

It comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated businesses’ push to the cloud and fueled the expansion of what was already becoming a highly distributed computing environment. They not only need a way to establish themselves in the cloud and at the edge, but also a way to manage such a complex architecture. VMware offers a range of features – from vRealize and vSphere to Tanzu and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) – that can help enterprises deploy, manage, and develop modern applications for their multi-cloud environments. In April, it brought Tanzu and VCF together under a single umbrella called VMware Cloud, which also provides the ability for organizations to purchase VMware infrastructure and services through a subscription model.

The changing IT landscape opens up many opportunities for VMware, the CEO said, noting that 74% of its customers use two or more clouds, while 40% use at least three.

“The opportunity for VMware is because the world is more and more distributed,” said Raghuram. “The conventional wisdom was that the world is becoming centralized. Everyone will be living on a single cloud. Over the past decade it has turned out – especially in recent years – that the world has become much more distributed. Let me talk about the edge, 5G, the data center. We are living in a new era of distributed computing and we want to be the platform for distributed computing. Not only do we want to be the platform, but we want to do it using the open technologies and open protocols to come so that we can handle things like Kubernetes etc.

Dell’s VMware spin-off, scheduled to occur in early November, will help the virtualization pioneer in its cloud ambitions. Dell, which acquired VMware as part of its massive $ 60 billion purchase of storage giant EMC in 2016, announced the split decision over a year ago, but waited until later this year. to pull the trigger to complete the deal. tax free.

“If you think of multicloud, what we’re really saying is that we want to be the Switzerland of industry,” said Raghuram. “If you want to be the industry Switzerland then you want to be an independent company and that’s where we’re heading after the spin. This will allow partners who were previously competitors to Dell to now see VMware in a new light and say, “We can do things strategic with VMware”. At the same time, we have a fantastic relationship with Dell and we do a lot of business with them. We have codified this into a framework trade agreement and a technology agreement that allows for continuous and deep technological and commercial collaboration with them. We believe that after the spin we will be in a best of both worlds situation.

For example, Lenovo and VMware have announced a partnership that will allow the OEM to bundle VMware edge technologies into its ThinkSystem SE350 edge servers.

Raghuram and Dhawan answered a wide range of questions, including the role of VMware’s hypervisor in the age of clouds and Kubernetes.

“Tanzu is a very fundamental part of our portfolio,” said the CEO. “The growth opportunity for Tanzu is just the growth opportunity for the applications as a whole. … This is really a huge opportunity for Tanzu. The problem, however, is that any time a new application is written with Tanzu, it can land on some piece of infrastructure, be it public cloud infrastructure or potentially the VMware hypervisor. We believe the hypervisor will prove to be the best infrastructure for modern applications, so I expect the growth of modern applications to benefit both.

In addition, 5G and the telecom space are another opportunity for VMware, according to Dhawan. 5G is a key technology for leveraging modern applications and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to reach the edge, leverage the cloud, and create a hybrid environment in which infrastructure data center has cloud-like functionality. It will also play an important role as the hybrid workforce accelerated by the pandemic becomes part of everyday life, increasing the distributed nature of not only IT but also work.

“The pandemic has made customers realize that the virtual office is an extremely powerful tool for enabling employees to have a great experience that is fully controlled anywhere,” he said. “We’ve seen a huge boost not only in a short-term move from last year, but also with more feedback on how to invest in virtual offices in a much more strategic way. Second, what we’re seeing is modernizing it by leveraging the power of the cloud. We are seeing a much greater interest in taking both the customers who have invested in the five generations of virtual office solutions (ours and others) and now considering a single cloud-based solution.

VMware will also continue to invest in AI and machine learning, which Raghuram says are fundamental to business strategy and how IT works for years to come.

“Our approach is really to embed machine learning into the platforms that we do and the management that we do in a distributed role,” he said. “Getting back to management, you can’t let humans handle this, you have to have machines that manage in this distributed world. Human intelligence cannot determine who the bad guys are attacking you from a security standpoint. You need machines to do it. So we’re excited not only to come up with new machine learning algorithms, but also to use them to create this new world of distributed multicloud.

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