VMware ramps up strategic ecosystem by expanding strategic vendor partnerships

VMware announced some major extensions to its strategic partner ecosystem, with the primary focus being deepening their joint focus around hybrid cloud strategy.

Zia Yusuf, SVP Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions, VMware

SAN FRANCISCO – The big highlight announcements at the inaugural VMware Explore were focused on VMware’s own technology, and involved major upgrades to both their traditional data centre solutions and to their growing multi-cloud solution set. However, the company also announced multiple new and expanded relationships with major OEMs and hyperscalers, following a clear strategy of expanding this type of route to market.

The management of these types of partners within VMware is somewhat complex. Zia Yusuf, SVP Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware, is responsible for hyperscalers, GSIs, technology partners, ISVs, and industry solutions. He also shares the unique Dell relationship with Ricky Cooper Head of Worldwide Partner Channel and Commercial Sales at VMware. Cooper also has responsibility for distributors, resellers, Global OEMs, Embedded OEMs and Telcos.  Paula Hodgins has responsibility for Cloud Providers, MSP and VCPPs as VP of Worldwide Accounts and Telco Sales.

“I have 5-6 pieces of the puzzle, including the hyperscalers,” Yusuf said.  He joined VMware nine months ago from BCG, and previously spent 10 years as EVP at SAP, architecting that integrated ecosystem as head of the global ecosystem and partner group.

VMware and its GSI partners are scaling up their mutual relationships.

“We partner with the GSIs, the Accentures and Deloittes – all of them basically, but with different levels of intensity – as well as some smaller advisory businesses,” Yusuf said.  These players have such a significant impact on the buying. Deloitte, which has had a historic foci on public cloud, created a dedicated VMware business unit several months ago.”

Yusuf also has responsibility from vendor industry solutions teams, and many of these relationships are relatively new.

“Industry, financial services, and health care verticals are all a newer strategy for us,” he said. “Telco is an exception, as we have been there long term, and we have had a little on the public sector, and have had use cases in flagship retail and  regulated industries. We have teams further developing local capabilities, focusing on how we become more domain aware in these areas.”

VMware also has some long-standing strategic partners for which Yusuf is responsible.

“We have long term partnerships with NVIDIA and SAP which have done well,” he indicated. “We continue to engage with others very productively, mainly talking about smaller ones, and around Tanzu. The idea is having them engage and get certified so they can engage with their customers, and this is another piece of the puzzle for us.”

At VMware Explore, VMware and IBM also announced an expanded partnership to help global clients and partners modernize mission-critical in hybrid cloud environments. The expanded relationship includes IBM Consulting as a VMware GSI partner, to drive the companies’ intent to deliver new jointly engineered IBM and VMware Cloud solutions and joint development and go to market, with a particular focus on regulated industries.

“No single strand in our web is that strong – but together they are powerful,” Yusuf stressed.

“Several new tech partnerships announced at the event are new,” Yusuf said. “We have been leveraging many of these techs for a while with NVIDIA and Intel, and with AWS since 4-5 years ago. Azure was selling a service since 2018, but now Google and Azure  have joined our Cloud Universal program, which allows selling integrated solutions to our customers and offers them another mechanism to purchase. That’s what makes us multi-cloud – the ability to build four or five cross cloud services on top is much more differentiated.”

NetApp and VMware also announced an extension of their existing partnership in which they will innovate together across the world’s three largest public cloud providers to certify and support VMware Cloud and NetApp Cloud Services, as well as extend design support to vSphere and vVols.

Yusuf summed up the reception at the event from the partners whom he works with.

“Hyperscalers, large service partners, vertical partners, and large service partners are out in force,” he said. “There is a fair amount of excitement about Cloud Smart messaging, and energy and excitement around our product road map, and the enablement which we are providing. We continue to do that on the channel side with MSP partners. Do we need to do more there? Yes, for sure. It’s important that partners build a hyperscale profitable business – and create a much bigger piece of the pie that relies on our roadmaps. That’s key to the whole movement to sub-scription, SaaS and ARR as we continue our march to making that a primary business model for us. That’s very important.”