VMware CEO pledges cloud computing freedom

Heading into VMworld, Pat Gelsinger talks software-defined data centers, Cisco coopetition and Dell/EMC turbocharging

In what’s become something of an annual tradition, we talked with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at the outset of the virtualization leader’s VMworld 2016 conference. In this interview with Network World Senior Writer Brandon Butler and IDG Chief Content Officer John Gallant, Gelsinger shared the big news from the event, including new tools that make it easier for customers to build cross-cloud environments, as well as an expanded partnership with IBM. With finalization of the Dell/EMC merger just over the horizon, Gelsinger reassured VMware customers about the company’s independence but said the resources available from that powerful ally will put ‘turbochargers’ on VMware’s back. He discussed the state of the software-defined data center and where customers stand in the deployment of virtual networks.

BRANDON BUTLER: What is the big message from VMware and VMworld 2016?

The big message is clearly this idea of the Cross-Cloud Architecture that enables our customers to have cloud freedom, control and simplicity. With that, we’re making two big area announcements. One is the VMware Cloud Foundation, bringing together all the core technologies to build and operate clouds and make them simpler to build and run, as well as a new set of cross-cloud services - largely built on the capabilities of NSX vRealize - enabling our customers to manage, run and connect workloads on any cloud, including major public clouds that aren’t built on VMware technologies at their core, like Amazon, [Microsoft] Azure, etc. That’s the big headline: changing the way people can take advantage of cloud for the future.

VMware Cloud Foundation is a unified SDDC [software-defined data center] platform and we are announcing with IBM that they are the first customer to take advantage of that to build and accelerate their cloud offerings. It’s an extension of what we announced earlier with them but now IBM with SoftLayer will be bringing a new offering forward that allows people to essentially instantiate a full VMware SDDC environment in minutes. That used to take days.

Also at the show, we will have updates on NSX, our storage, our products, VxRail and the VxRack products. We’ll have Michael Dell there affirming both his commitment to the ecosystem as well as his embrace and use of the vCloud Foundation products, and we will be rolling out our VMware integrated container offering as well. This is making containers great on VMware environments, making it easy for container development but also robust, manageable, secure from the IT shop. Those will be some of the big, top-level messages.

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