VMware CEO pledges cloud computing freedom

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

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BB: Pat, I wanted to ask you about another important deal, the partnership with IBM that you announced. What expectations do you have for the VMware/IBM partnership?

Let me give you a brief customer story [about] a big healthcare company. I’m meeting with the CTO. It’s about two weeks before the February announcement. We’re sitting in his office and we’re having a wide-ranging discussion on cloud, what they’re doing with some of the public clouds, how they’re trying to run their own private cloud. We covered everybody. We talked about Amazon, Azure, vCloud Air, IBM SoftLayer, etc. I looked across the table to the CTO and I said: Let me tell you a secret. And I described the IBM deal to him and what we were going to do in the partnership with IBM and I got about 90 seconds into the description and he throws his arms in the air and he says: Touchdown.

To the core enterprise customer, this is a winning deal because they have maybe IBM hosting relationships, GTS [IBM Global Technology Services], they have big VMware footprints. They want to have increasing choice flexibility, maybe running fewer data centers themselves. They need it done with enterprise grade agreements, terms, conditions, all of those types of things, support and so on because this is the core of the core. Bringing together a world-class global supplier like IBM with the highly penetrated, deeply virtualized stack of VMware is simply a winning combination for the enterprise customer. We’re going to have customers on stage at VMworld who are attributing that.

We have 500-plus customers who have committed to the product and platform at this point, an expanding pipeline of opportunities together. This really is a very good alignment of partners. IBM will be there in force at VMworld and they’ll be singing the benefits of this partnership to their customers and their large reach into the marketplace. As I mentioned before, they’re going to stand up VMware Cloud Foundation. They’re going to offer it as a service and really say to all the other vCAN [vCloud Air Network] partners and the other VMware partners: This is a powerful offering. You should do it too.

JG: You’ve got some big announcements coming up at VMworld but what should we be expecting for the coming year? What’s the direction that you’re plotting as leader?

We’re just launching cross-cloud. This is sort of day one. We’re firing the gun. We’ll give the first demonstrations of it and describe it, but we will build that out over the next year, more features and capabilities, bring the v1 product into the marketplace associated with that. Being able to accelerate the VMware Cloud Foundation both on-premise and as a service and you’ll see us have more partnership announcements in that domain over the year. Our container service that we’re announcing, the VMware Integrated Containers. You will see us build that out as we go through the year.

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As I described it in the last earnings call, my rocket ship products like NSX and VSAN, we really see that both of them are sitting in this tornado phase of adoption and we’ll just be building out more features and capabilities and acceleration of them in the marketplace. They are foundational to delivering pieces that I described before. They are both products as well as critical elements of these larger platforms across cloud services that we described.

BB: Is VMware still committed to the public cloud? I know there were some changes to that strategy over the last year.

As we think about cloud, we’ll say private cloud. Number one, help people run their own private cloud, extend the private cloud into the public cloud. That’s vCloud Air as well as the vCloud Air Network and for that, we continue to operate and we’re actually continuing to do quite well against our business case for the vCloud Air proper, which is very much focused on a handful of use cases and really the petri dish for the vCloud Air Network. Everything we want the network to do we’re first doing it in our environment and then scaling into these 4,000-plus vCloud Air Network partners.

Part three of the cloud is embrace any cloud. That’s really where the cross-cloud services come in, that we’re saying: Oh, you’re running a piece of the workload on Azure? Great. We’re going to make that better. We’re going to help you manage it, secure it, network as well. It really is a very comprehensive view because every IT shop has multiple clouds. They’ve got traditional IT, they’ve got their private clouds, they have their unique services that they’re running on VMware that they’re going to run in somebody else’s data centers, they have new apps that they’ve built on one of the public clouds.

These three business strategies, private cloud, SDDC and the public cloud and cross-cloud, taking those together are unique but connected and they reinforce each other to deliver the full power of cloud to the IT customer of VMware.

This story, "VMware CEO pledges cloud computing freedom" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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