Dataquest - VMware Robin Matlock Interview

“VMware Customers have been using AWS for years”

VMware—which a few years ago described Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a mortal enemy—recently announced a partnership with AWS. The company wanted to make it easier for customers to run VMware software both on their own internal servers and on Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure. Pat Gelsinger, who was in India last month for vForum explained as to what it means to the customers and the partners.

The VMware-AWS deal would be roughly analogous to the partnership VMware announced with IBM in February, which blessed IBM Softlayer. To understand all aspects of the deal, Dataquest spoke to Robin Matlock, CMO, VMware during the vForum. Excerpts:

After Dell has acquired the company, how does it impact VMware customers?

For customers, there is really very little downside of the acquisition. VMware is going to run as an independent company. Michael Dell and Pet Gelsinger have made it clear. Our strength comes from our independence. It comes from our ability to respond to our customers and our ability to build an ecosystem that is appropriate for our business as well as the disruption we are leading in the market place. And Michael Dell seems extremely supportive of this freedom as he is comfortable allowing VMware to continue on that. So there is minimal downside for customers in that regard.

The upside of acquisition lies in the expanded portfolio, breadth and the brand. With Dell around, customers do have a wide portfolio to use from Dell. We are on record of saying that there is about a billion dollars over the next several years which the synergy promises. And you know that we have been a long time partner of Dell.

Will you elaborate on VMware’s partnership with AWS? VMware has traditionally been private cloud solution provider whereas AWS dominates the public cloud space. How can customers interpret the partnership?

First of all, VMware has proven over the years that we are good in partnering because we can speak specifically about the cloud market.

I agree that Amazon relationship probably took people a bit by surprise. But the cloud market is changing. We value customer feedback. Our customers have been using AWS for a long time. They wanted the Amazon Public Cloud and VMware’s capabilities to be more compatible. We listened to them and formed this partnership.

Secondly, customers are going to use multiple clouds. They are going to use public cloud, private cloud, SaaS solutions and managed cloud services, etc. We wanted to make it a seamless experience for them. Rather than looking at it as a war between two industry’s renowned companies, we see it as a partnership that can open up tremendous opportunities for customers.

In what ways are you going to market AWS partnership? What is the beauty behind this partnership?

The real beauty behind this partnership is the customer demand. Customers have been asking for this. The VMware customers are going to be in love with this move as it will help them to expedite their cloud journey. It is a step further in the VMware software defined data center concept. It is the whole stack of compute, storage and networking which customers are already using. They are digesting the stack in their own data center, right? This partnership is now going to let them just decide whether they want to run this stack on-premises or off-premises. And Amazon is just one choice.

How are you planning to take this partnership to your partners, customers and other stakeholders?

The core message here is the cross cloud architecture which is enabling the freedom of choice and enabling IT to have control. And we have been talking about the software defined data center for a long time. Since we know that everything is becoming software-driven, we are taking our software defined data center to a more integrated platform which is simply offering different consumption model.

There is a big war for value-added partners in this whole ecosystem. It might change a bit for the partners as this might require different skill sets. But this has been the nature of the market. Partners need to evolve as the market evolves.

On the mobility front, AirWatch has recently completed in India World’s biggest deployment. In what ways do you plan to harness the mobility space?

Indeed, AirWatch has just done the largest deployment in India. Actually it is huge. India is actually leading the charge in many regards as far as mobility adoption is concerned. It is really about the fusion together between your identity, your content and your workspace as a whole. India is leading many markets when it comes to embracing mobility. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us. VMware is no longer just about device management. It is about content and collaboration. It is about identity, security and the whole workspace. Managing it and ensuring that consumers have a seamless access to all the functioning provides us the opportunity.

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