As a 36-year tech veteran, CEO Pat Gelsinger of VMware Inc. has virtually seen it all from a technology perspective. Which is why it carried weight when he recently said that enterprises are currently experiencing “the most disruptive period in the history of IT.”
Gelsinger made the statement during a business visit to Toronto this month where he met with customers, analysts and media.
“None is as significant as the (technology) period we are in right now,” he told IT World Canada. VMware customers are preoccupied with three issues: security, cloud and mobility, he said. It’s an era of digital transformation and IT professionals, he added, are the best ones to navigate this “violent” and disruptive transition.
Customer-driven technologies, the shift of on-premises to off-premise, the disruptive effects of mobile and cloud technologies “are all coming together and changing business models from perpetual to subscription and are creating violent shifts that everyone needs to navigate to get to the other side,” he added.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s virtualization product business remains strong in owning 80 per cent of market share. But as a traditional vendor, VMware is no exception to technology shifts and will need to “navigate to the other side to deliver value to customers,” according to Gelsinger. As such, it has placed an emphasis on moving from client-server to mobile cloud.
VMware: “A transition year”
He pointed to the recent Dell-EMC Corp. merger as a testament to the upheaval and consolidation in the industry, adding that this should translate into customers benefiting from supply-chain efficiencies. VMware was acquired by and became a subsidiary of EMC in 2004. And as EMC shareholders prepare to cast their votes on the proposed US$67 billion Dell acquisition next month, VMware has to keep moving forward; in an ideal world, EMC and Dell would be private companies while VMware remains public, he offered.
For VMware, the company has effectively transitioned from being primarily focused on virtualization to becoming a cloud infrastructure and business mobility service provider. He offered that VMware is in a good position to “empower customers and core IT leaders to become the agents of change” by assisting enterprises looking to lean on multi-cloud environments to focus on their core business. While he deflected any questions on his plans to stay on as the VMware head in the long term — it has been reported that he intends to depart the company once Dell closes its acquisition of EMC — Gelsinger noted that his current task is to “successfully navigate the company across this Dell-EMC transition.”
This is indeed a “transition year” for the company, he noted, adding that it is seeing growth in its newer NSX and Virtual SAN management and mobility products. The NSX network virtualization platform for the software defined data centre (SDDC) is a key priority for VMware now and moving forward, he said.
He offered that VMware has “created enough evidence in the growth of our products and our strategy that companies will understand and want VMware as part of their strategic future.”
Focus on security, cloud, and mobile
IBM Corp. and VMware this week announced that customers of the VMware Horizon Air platform can now more seamlessly access cloud-hosted desktop and application services via the IBM Cloud. Also this week, VMware unveiled new offerings around endpoint security and management and identity-defined workspace tools.
The new VMware TrustPoint solution, for example, is designed to enable greater visibility and control of endpoints across global networks, next-generation threat detection and remediation, endpoint and application management, and automated Windows image migration and management.
Updates to the VMware Workspace ONE platform delivers enhanced identity-defined manage workspace environments for the enterprise; the updated capabilities in VMware Workspace ONE offers employee and device enablement options, including unmanaged, browser-based on-boarding of end-users using personal devices to enablement of fully managed corporate devices, the company said.
For the enterprise mobile cloud, the VMware AirWatch Platform continues to mature; the company announced that its VMware Mobile Security Alliance continues to add new members, all with an eye on ensuring that security across cloud applications is a key factor in corporate security compliance.
“We are being successful. We laid out a couple of financial objectives for the year and we are meeting them,” he said, adding “we have created enough evidence in the growth of our products and our strategy that companies will understand and want VMware as part of their strategic future.”
Although the company recently shut down its technical support centre in Burlington, Ont. — affecting approximately 100 employees — Gelsinger noted that the company’s commitment to Canada remains strong: “It was a disappointing consequence….(but) not a statement on our commitment to Canada by any means.”
He offered that VMware maintains an “affinity for Canada,” its local growth has been strong, and the company is still focused on establishing and growing its Canadian presence.
“A lot of the traditional roles of IT — keep the email running — are no more, he said, adding “now it’s about creating new lines of business opportunity…it’s thrilling to help facilitate that.”