With more than one full year under his belt leading VMware Canada, Reeves gave his take on the company’s positioning in Canada and what the major announcements will mean for Canadian customers and partners.
LAS VEGAS – Long-time Red Hat executive Claude Reeves left the Canadian country manager role in early 2021 to join VMware as their VP and Country Manager, Canada. Reeves talked with ChannelBuzz about the differences and the challenges in managing VMware’s Canadian operations. He also discussed the VMware Explore event here, and what is particularly meaningful for Canadian customers and the Canadian partner community.
Reeves said that there were a lot of similarities running the two companies, but that there were differences as well.
“Operationally, large software companies have a lot of similarities,” Reeves said. “Leading VMware in Canada is a more massive footprint however. We have so many customers we deal with. That makes this different, as we finish the transition from perpetual to subscription-based licensing.”
Reeves sees VMware as having a major advantage in Canada over its competition because it has a more flexible vision and a multi-cloud operating model for customers.
“VMware’s vision of multi-cloud doesn’t have a fixed destination,” he said. “That’s not the case with the big hyperscalers, where the end game is that they own the workload. It’s not fabout creating that end destination for us. We have traction in Canada because most large organizations in Canada will say that they initially thought their cloud strategy would see them all on one cloud. Now they have determined that data centres aren’t going anywhere, and they are on multiple big clouds and some sovereign clouds. CIOs now say multi-cloud is a foregone conclusion, and their concern is how to address the challenges. Some signed large consumption contracts thinking they would be all in with one cloud, and now they have signed with others as well.”
This has resulted in Canadian businesses being much more aggressive in getting help with their multi-cloud strategy than had been the case in the past.
“Canada has been laggards in the cloud, but now we are finding that customer pull is critical for us in a lot of cases,” said Peter Near, national director of solutions engineering at VMware Canada. “Canadian organizations are not taking a ‘wait and see’ approach here.”
“The reality of the situations is that medium to large organizations have become multiple cloud companies,” Reeves noted. “That benefits us because we don’t dictate where the customer ends up. If you implement tooling properly you reduce costs and get more flexibility, without having a stake in where they end up.”
While VMware’s multi-cloud strategy was one of the big themes for the company at VMware Explore, the other was Generative AI.
“Canada is not behind here,” Reeves said. “Generative AI is a hype cycle to a degree, but there is still amazing potential for the technology. The people I talk with see the potential, but need to know if they can make it real, and make it work. The use cases are springing up, but having a strategy to execute is another story. That’s one reason that we introduced Private AI Foundation.”
So how well are Canadian channel partners prepared to take advantage of these transitions?
“There is a place for Canadian partners – maybe not all – but there is a partner opportunity here,” Near said.
“There are modern boutique partners and MSPs who have skills and services in house and managed services expertise around multi-cloud,” Reeves commented. “I think we have a good half dozen to 10 partners in Canada who can deliver the multi-cloud vision today, while others are single cloud-focused. The GSIs are stepping in here as well. I don’t think we have partner gaps the way that we did when we started the cloud journey.”
Reeves commented on initial partner feedback to the new announcements.
“Private AI and the NVIDIA relationship, for a partner who really understands on-prem could be a huge win,” he said. “With NSX+, we have solved a problem that no one else has solved – multi cloud networking, which I think is very important. For managed services partners, this can make their business much more valuable.”
“In addition to Private AI, ransomware recovery is important,” Near added. “We are seeing an increased need for this in Canada. Too many Canadians are not well equipped here. There is a difference between having a backup and fast recovery and we focus on the latter.”
“As publicity around ransomware has increased, for marketing it has become table stakes,” Reeves indicated. “Executing against it is a little different, however.”