Inaugural VMware Explore fleshes out vision with strategic insights

CEO Raghu Raghuram gives his perspective on where the company is headed, and the new opportunities available to their broad ecosystem.

Raghu Raghuram, VMware’s CEO, in his opening keynote at VMware Explore

SAN FRANCISCO — Last year’s VMware customer event – the final VMworld – was all about vision, specifically the vision of cross-cloud services. At the inaugural VMware Explore event, being held this week here, CEO Raghu Raghuram laid out his own vision at a face-to-face customer event. He also emphasized the importance of the how the company’s technological direction fit into that, barely concealing his excitement at their implications in driving the company forward.

“When we started VMworld, it was a community for data centre professionals, and we broadened it out beyond that,” Raghuram said. “Now it’s no longer just about the data centre, but across clouds and to the edge. That is why we changed the name from VMWorld to VMware Explore. It is now the event for the multi-cloud community. This is the gathering of the centre of the multi-cloud universe.”

Raghuram emphasized the massiveness of how this all has scaled.

“It is not a stretch to say that the shift to the digital economy would not really have been possible without all of you,” he told his audience. “There are over five million developers in our community. If you have asked me ten years ago if that was possible, I would have said no way. Now 350,000 new projects are starting every week on the Spring platform alone, and we are running 85 million workloads globally. Partners are the third leg, 30,000 partners strong, and together we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Raghuram said that what he called “The Great Replatform” is what almost all executives want to do, but they acknowledge they haven’t being doing it as fast as they would like.

“CEOs say they are not moving fast enough in digital transformation,” he said. “They have a lack of developer skills, particularly cloud and platform skills. They feel the weight of enterprise apps, and they have a fragmented operations model. All of these things are slowing down the Great Replatform. We can fix this and we can change this picture with a cloud-smart approach. This involves taking an architectural and planned approach to digital transformation and multi-cloud.”

This includes the following components, Raghuram stressed. Deploy the right cloud for the right application. Invest in unified developer environment. Have a consistent infrastructure with a consistent resiliency and the same operations model wherever you want to run it. And replace a fragmented app access experience with a frictionless experience.

Raghuram also talked about the purchase of VMware by Broadcom earlier this year, and while there was relatively little he could say until the deal has closed, he was able to shed slightly more light on it.

“I’ve been here at VMware since 2003 and have been through many major transitions,” he said. “In May, we announced the next one – our proposed acquisition by Broadcom. Conversations are now about how to open up the next great stage of innovation.”

Raghuram acknowledged there was initially a significant amount of concern throughout the ecosystem about the deal.

“Any time there is a transaction between two large companies, there will be concern,” he stated. “There were questions at the beginning, but they know what the road map ahead is and that we have focused on the job at hand. Mature customers have been through many transactions before.

“Things are on track with Broadcom, and we are going through all regulatory approvals and helping them understand the breadth and depth of our product portfolio,” Raghuram continued. Broadcom is spending this time understanding every aspect of the business.”

This includes their learning how VMware’s channel works.

“They know channel is a huge part of what we do,” Raghuram indicated. “The message to partners is that the opportunities now are bigger, broader and more strategic, Today you do not even have to touch vSphere, but you could be, say security or Tanzu-focused, and you can be a great partner.”

“We have laid out an approach for customers to be cloud-smart, and we know we cannot do it by ourselves,” said Sumit Shawan, VMware’s President. “A few weeks ago, we reformatted our entire channel program to reflect the multiple roles that channel partners are playing

VMware will work with Broadcom and its competitors in the chip market alike.

“It is a very dynamic space, and just like we did in the data centre, we will work with Broadcom and anyone else producing chips and we will produce software on the edge that takes advantage of all that.”

“There is nothing uniquely specific in the Broadcom architecture. so we will run with it like on all devices,” said Sanjay Uppal, SVP and General Manager of the Service Provider & Edge Business Unit at VMware.

Raghuram noted that he does not think that the impact of recession will have any real impact on the sales of the new VMware technology.

“Public clouds are still averaging 30% growth, which is down, but only slightly from 35%,” he stated. “Aria and Tanzu solve problems that exist today, regardless of future growth. Customers are balancing what they would run in cloud, on-prem or edge and the beauty of Tanzu and NSX is that they work across all these things. We don’t see macro demand spend shifting.”

“We haven’t seen any slowdown in interest at this point in time,” Shawan added. “The uncertainty that is there is more about flexibility. That’s why we are committed to programs like VMware Cloud Universal which gives more flexibility to use containers where they need them.”