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Category Archives: Leadership Perspectives

The Future of IT is Software-Defined

Why the Software-Defined Data Center is a Nexus of Business Possibility

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

By Pat Gelsinger

The $2 trillion Information Technology industry is in the early stages of a tectonic shift, as we transition from the previous Client-Server platform to the Mobile Cloud era. For the first time in history, we’re seeing dramatic changes driven by both the consumer and enterprise worlds. In many ways, everything is up in the air. At this critical juncture, the demands on IT are greater than ever. Whether you’re an individual consumer or a business leader, you want essentially the same thing: instantaneous access to the apps and data you care about, without hassles or hiccups, and with confidence and compliance.

As we make this massive shift from the PCs and servers of old to the Mobile Cloud era, we’re experiencing a fundamental restructuring of how IT value gets created and consumed. Simply put, software has usurped hardware as the place where value resides. This is driven largely by well-established laws of technology: software can be quickly adapted, programmed and automated. By contrast, hardware is inflexible, labor-intensive and specialized. As a guy who spent 30+ years in the hardware world, this is a difficult fact to acknowledge – yet it’s undeniable.

To wit, we have entered the age of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). The SDDC is a data center where everything has been virtualized and infrastructure can be delivered as software on demand. This software-defined approach will become the model for every leading data center in the world because it represents a radical and powerful change agent for the enterprise. At its core, the SDDC empowers IT to move at the speed of the business, by rapidly delivering apps and services as they are needed.

The technical argument for the Software-Defined Data Center is airtight: Virtualize all components, abstract the functionality, pool the resources and automate the processes. In this model, hardware becomes increasingly invisible – seen solely through a layer of dynamic, scalable and agile software. Many of the core elements of this approach have been pioneered by companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. But while they’ve accomplished a great deal, their implementations have been specifically designed for their specialized environments. Now is the time for us, as an industry, to take these valuable learnings and apply the software-defined approach for the benefit of all businesses – and all the millions of applications that power our economy.

Next Step: Virtualize Your Network

Compute virtualization was just the opening act of the SDDC story. According to VMware’s analysis, by virtualizing roughly 70 percent of our customers’ compute workloads over the past decade, businesses saved billions of dollars and in the process, they accomplished something else: They made it easy to spin up new applications in literally seconds. This, in turn, exposed a frustrating reality: As app provisioning has sped up exponentially, we have discovered that the operating model of the network is simply not equipped to keep pace. In fact, the network is now a barrier to achieving the full benefits of virtualization, because the movement of all of these dynamic apps is now severely constrained by the limitations of the physical network. The fact is today’s network is operationally intensive, requiring significant manual intervention and vendor-specific expertise at every turn.

The answer to this challenge is to virtualize your network. This represents the next chapter in our industry’s inevitable move to a software-defined approach to IT.  Network virtualization takes the fast and fluid operational model of a virtual machine (VM) and extends that across your network. It advances networking with new levels of automation, programmability, and management by leveraging the power of software. Network virtualization also transforms the economics of networking within the data center by reducing the need for costly, proprietary networking hardware. As we build virtual networks we are strengthening the foundations of the hybrid cloud, which gives businesses the ability to move valuable apps and data seamlessly between public and private cloud environments.

Charting the Course to a Software-Defined Future 

Modern business is here today. It’s global, competitive, collaborative, and extremely dynamic.  But too often, the technology infrastructure supporting these businesses is limping along – slow, inefficient, brittle, and generally incapable of keeping up. The best companies in the world are charting a path to a software-oriented model of IT where infrastructure drives strategic advantage. IT professionals with the courage to embrace this new reality – and let go of the hardware-centric models of the past – will change the landscape of business forever. The future is bright. Let’s move forward.

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Leadership Perspectives: Sanjay Poonen

In the second of a series of leadership perspectives videos, Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager of the End-User Computing business unit discusses why he chose to join VMware, the end-user computing landscape (now and in the future), and how end-user computing and Desktop-as-a-Service fit into an enterprise cloud strategy.

Check out the video to hear more about Sanjay’s take on:

  • How the end-user computing landscape has it evolved and why it is a critical focus for VMware
  • How the end-user computing industry will evolve over the next 12-24 months
  • How an end-user computing/Desktop-as-a-Service approach fits into an enterprise cloud strategy for customers
  • Computing at the “Speed of Life”
  • What Sanjay is looking forward to in 2014

You can read more from Sanjay on the VMware Company Blog. The VMware Leadership Perspectives video series is an occasional series to introduce the leaders at VMware who are building the next generation of IT infrastructure. Check out the first Leadership Perspectives video from Bill Fathers, senior vice president and general manager of the Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit.

Be sure to subscribe to the VMware Company Blog to stay up to date with each video as well as the latest news from VMware.

Introducing Ben Fathi as VMware Chief Technology Officer

Today we’re excited to announce that Ben Fathi has been appointed chief technology officer at VMware. Fathi joined VMware in 2012 and most recently served as senior vice president, R&D. As CTO, he’ll help drive VMware’s technology strategy and work with the engineering teams to continue to deliver innovative products with a focus on staying ahead of customer needs.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said of the news “I am pleased and excited to have Ben serve as VMware’s CTO where he will lead innovative product development and programs, collaborate with the academic community and provide leadership across our R&D community for years to come.”

Fathi has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, with an expertise in developing operating system software. In his role as senior vice president of research and development, he led teams responsible for our core VMware products and product innovations.

Prior to joining VMware, Fathi served as a senior vice president at Cisco, where he led the operating systems and networking protocol teams. Before his time with Cisco, he held multiple roles at Microsoft over the course of 12 years, most recently as corporate vice president of development for the Windows core operating system division

Fathi holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Computer Science, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. This appointment is effective immediately and Fathi will report to CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Read the press release for more information and stayed tuned for more insights from Ben on the future of IT.

So, What is the Future of IT? More Than Your Top 10 Predictions for 2014

Guest post from CFEngine’s Mahesh Kumar. Vice President, Marketing, CFEngine

We are right at that time of year when pundits and experts dispense with lists of predictions. While it may be tempting and even gratifying to know if 2014 will finally be the year when virtual desktops arrived or died (we never can make up our minds on that one can we?) or the year when self-driving cars finally hit the market that is not the point here.  I am talking about a different kind of prediction…

These are predictions from industry experts, journalists, and futurists who will discuss the Future of IT (#futureofIT) on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10 a.m. PST. And you’re invited to join in and participate in this live virtual Google Hangout event which will include futurist Paul Saffo; Mark Burgess, CTO and Founder of CFEngine; Paul Chapman, VP Global Infrastructure and Cloud Operations at VMware; Chris Preimesberger, Editor at eWeek; and Michael Webster, Senior Solutions and Performance Engineer for Nutanix.

What makes this event exciting is that each panelist will be bringing a unique perspective to the discussion.

Paul Saffo is an acclaimed futurist and MD of Foresight at Discern Analytics and a Stanford University professor.

Mark Burgess
researcher, author, and founder of CFEngine has also taught at Oslo University in Norway.  His recent book In Search of Certainty looks at the complexity, scale, and control of our information systems.

Chris Priemesberger has covered the IT sector for close to two decades and his articles have been published in leading trade and news outlets. In fact, he has published 3200 articles and blog posts on eWeek alone!

In his role at VMware, Paul Chapman brings extensive experience in all aspects of cloud operations, global infrastructure, networking, communications, and client service delivery.

Michael Webster brings more than 10 years of experience deploying VMware solutions in large-scale environments around the globe. He is one of only 124 VMware Certified Design Experts in the world, as well as a vExpert!

Not Just Any Ordinary Prediction

So, buckle up and get ready to uncover the future as the panelists discuss a variety of topics around IT and what the future will hold. They’ll pontificate on the data center and how it’s changing; the affect of these changes on us humans, not to mention autonomous technology with its ability to self-evaluate, self-configure, and self-heal.   It will be a fantastic hour spent hearing these experts discuss about what they think will unfold in the next few years or decades.

The late great Isaac Asimov did something similar about 50 years ago in 1964.  Of course there were no Google Hangouts back then. But he was stunningly accurate in his predictions around a lot of the technological and social advances that exist today!

As you get ready for the panel discussion on December 5, it may be worth reading Asimov’s articles: Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014 and an interpretation of these predictions. While not all of the predictions have come true, he does note, “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.”

To participate, simply visit the Google+ VMware Hangouts page and RSVP. Or just show up at 10 a.m. on the day of the event and join in. Be sure to tweet your questions using the #futureofIT hashtag or ask your questions live using the Q&A panel. See you in the future!

Leadership Perspectives: Bill Fathers

In the first of a series of leadership perspectives videos, Bill Fathers, senior vice president and general manager of the Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit discusses the emergence of hybrid cloud in the enterprise and his role at VMware.

Check out the video to hear more about Bill’s take on:

  • Building a new Hybrid Cloud Services business unit
  • How the cloud industry will evolve over the next 12 months
  • The opportunity and challenges ahead for hybrid cloud in the enterprise
  • How the hybrid approach fits into enterprise cloud strategy for customers
  • The major drivers for the growth of the hybrid cloud
  • What Bill is looking forward to in 2014

You can read more from Bill on the VMware Company Blog. The VMware Leadership Perspectives video series is an occasional series to introduce the leaders at VMware who are building the next generation of IT infrastructure.

Be sure to subscribe to the VMware Company Blog to stay up to date with each video as well as the latest news from VMware.


VMware Weekly News Recap: November 8

VMware News

***Don’t miss our live Google Hangout on Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. PST to talk about the future of IT with futurologist Paul Saffo, along with a number of influential industry analysts and journalists.***

In VMware news, the network virtualization team attended the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong this week, where they announced advancement of our support for the OpenStack framework, expansion of our scope of contributions to include Compute, Networking and Storage and the delivery of OpenStack Neutron support for VMware NSX network virtualization.

Industry News

In Industry news, InformationWeek’s Charles Babcock reports on VMware’s announcement to partner with Mirantis to help customers build OpenStack private clouds on top of their vSphere virtualized servers. Boris Renski, executive VP and co-founder of Mirantis, calls the VMware deal “a strategic partnership” that illustrates how both Mirantis and VMware “are trying to uphold customer choice.”

ITWorld.com’s Nancy Gohring also reports on VMware’s announcement to partner with OpenStack. Gohring writes, “Mirantis says that VMware has now demonstrated its commitment to the community with its significant code contributions to OpenStack… Given that so many enterprises are VMware shops, it benefits Mirantis to have its OpenStack distribution run nicely in VMware environment.”

In other networking news, Alex Barrett of SearchServerVirtualization writes an in-depth piece on the nitty-gritty of VMware NSX. “With server virtualization, VMware revolutionized how organizations deliver compute services. Now, [VMware] says it can do the same thing to networking with VMware NSX.” Barrett goes on to answer three important questions that customers might have about NSX.

Forbes’ Ben Kepes highlights recent conversations with executives from Microsoft and VMware that discussed both companies’ plans to become “cloud powerhouses.” In the article “In The Face Of Armageddon, Microsoft and VMware Get A New Religion,” Kepes writes: “Despite an arguably slow start, [Microsoft and VMware are] both pushing hard against the AWS hegemony. There’s a need for both of them to move further away from the FUD and more into real world benefits their platforms can bring.” Kepes notes, “both companies are innovating and delivering real value to customers and that gives them an odd-on chance of surviving the tectonic shifts to come.”

The VAR Guy’s Elliot Markowitz reports on a recent Cisco study that indicates virtualization’s room for growth, although new statistics show that the technology is currently making significant inroads within SMBs. Markowitz muses that every year seems to be the year of virtualization, with industry pundits predicting that most organizations will finally adopt server, PC, operating systems or application virtualization in a major way. Citing the study, Markowitz declares, “Well, it’s safe to say we finally crossed the chasm… 77 percent of all respondents said they already have some sort of virtualization technology in place. Even further, 71 percent of these said they expect to allocate more budgeted dollars for virtualization to the tune of 20 percent.”

eWeek’s Jeffrey Burt reports on a recent survey by Dell’Oro that predicts the software-defined networking market will grow by six-fold over the next five years. According to Burt, Dell’Oro analysts say they expect Ethernet switches and network security appliances to make up the bulk of the space. “They will account for 75 percent of SDN sales revenue in 2013, according to the analyst firm.”

InfoWorld’s Eric Knorr discusses nine predictable trends for 2014 and beyond. He writes, “We’re at one of those rare junctures when a bunch of trends have begun to crystallize – and I’m pretty sure many of them will persist for more than 12 months.” The nine predictions span a range of technologies, with “Cloud is the new hardware” taking the number one spot.

Lastly, Farah Mohamed of Huffington Post reports that as revelations about the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance continue to trickle out, cloud companies are feeling the fallout. Mohamed writes, “[Public cloud company] growth is threatened by revelations like one in a recent Washington Post article, that the NSA has been tapping into the cloud company databases of Google and Yahoo. When users’ data is stored far away from them in the cloud, privacy is paramount — and stories about threats to that privacy could hurt cloud companies’ bottom line.” She goes on to talk about how some big technology companies are reacting to the new information.

Stay tuned for our Weekly News Recap next Friday and be sure to follow @VMwareNews and subscribe to the VMware Company Blog to stay up to date with all VMware news and announcements throughout the week.

Updated: Join us for a live Google Hangout where industry luminaries will gaze into a crystal ball and predict the future of IT

In 10 years, will the world’s data centers be shuttered?

In 20 years, will all technology be self healing, requiring no human interaction whatsoever?

As a result of shifts in the IT industry, will CIOs stop worrying about infrastructure and servers, refocusing on innovation?

What is the future of IT?

Updated – please note the new date

Join VMware for a live Google Hangout on December 5 at 10 a.m. PST to talk about the future of IT with futurologist Paul Saffo, along with a number of influential industry analysts and journalists.

You may remember Paul from VMworld 2013 in San Francisco where he shared his thoughts around the future of IT.  You can watch the video replay here.

During our hour-long chat, we’ll discuss trends, industry observations and how IT will affect business around the globe and our everyday lives.

Join the discussion

If you’re curious what the future of IT will hold next year, 10 or even 20 years from now, here’s how you can participate:

  • Post questions and thoughts below in the comments section of this blog
  • Visit and follow the VMware Hangouts Google Plus page and add your questions there
  • Tweet using the #futureofIT hashtag
  • Simply ask questions live during the event in the comments area of the Hangout

We’ll do our best to answer all of your questions during the live broadcast.

To join the Hangout, you can RSVP here or simply visit our Google Plus page at 10 a.m. PST and click the video to watch. Once the event is over, the video replay will be available on VMware’s YouTube channel, and we’ll post a recap here on this blog as well.