LAS VEGAS – The interesting thing about this year’s VMworld was the almost total absence of the word virtualization.
These days, it’s a given: it’s one of the businesses VMware regards as mature, underpinning everything else. Instead, the company focused on its emerging lines during its 20th annual user conference, held last week in Las Vegas.
“VMware’s role in the end is a bridge across silos of innovation,” CEO Pat Gelsinger said during his keynote. “The datacentre used to look like the Museum of IT Past.”
He described the company’s virtualization tools, vSphere and ESX, as Act 1 in its continuing innovation efforts. For Act 2, it bridged the enterprise and BYOD with its Workspace ONE product. Act 3 virtualized the network with NSX, and Act 4 was cloud migrations using VMware Cloud.
Today VMware is working on the next act: the multi-cloud era. To that end, it announced an agreement to acquire CloudHealth Technologies, which delivers a cloud operations platform across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. The platform enables customers to help analyze and manage cloud cost, usage, security, and performance centrally for native public clouds. Once the deal closes, Gelsinger said that it will be a fundamental part of VMware’s platform, alongside VMware Secure State, Wavefront by VMware, and the newly announced VMware Cloud Automation (formerly Project Tango).
Rohan Pal, CIO of Brink’s, had a vision of bridging public and private clouds in 2016, before VMware Cloud was even a product. Now an early customer of VMware Cloud on AWS (announced at VMworld 2017; it’s coming to a Canadian AWS region in the first quarter of 2019), he has been able to replicate his disaster recovery cold site in the cloud and shut down the expensive physical location. With VMware, he can quickly move operations to the cloud and run there until his main site is stable again.
Edmonton-based oil and gas company McCoy Global faced different challenges, according to David Kendal, IT infrastructure manager. With an aging infrastructure and ERP systems that didn’t perform well across the WAN, he opted for VMware Horizon desktop as a service. Since processing for the virtual desktops occurs in the datacentre, the performance issues with the ERP systems were alleviated. As an added bonus, desktop as a service takes much of the burden off IT. “With Horizon Cloud, if we have a problem we just put in a ticket and VMware manages it,” Kendal said. “That’s a big consideration in a small IT department.”
VMware’s cloud efforts are also extending into an area underserved by even its own core products: telcos. Where enterprises are 80 percent virtualized, telcos languish with a mere 10 percent, most of it in their traditional IT areas, not their communications infrastructure. Gelsinger said that VMware’s strategy there is to take mature virtualization products and bring them into the telco space, now that the company has addressed robustness issues that had previously held back adoption. It’s working so far; he said that six of the top ten telcos in the EU are deploying VMware-based Network Function Virtualization (NFV).
Sean Forkan, VMware vice-president and Canada country manager said that telcos are a big bet for him as well, and the business is moving as expected. “Hybrid cloud is the area they’re most interested in,” he noted, adding that he expects VMware’s SD-WAN product to be next on the list.