Shaping the future of IT begins with passionate people who bridge customer needs with innovative ideas. Hear from Emad Benjamin, Principal Architect, VMware Global Center of Excellence, and see how his connections with people, both coworkers and customers, have helped him bring innovative ideas to life.
Name: Emad Benjamin
Title: Principal Architect, Global Center of Excellence
Office Location: Palo Alto, California
Years at VMware: 8
Favorite tech innovation: Java because it runs the world.
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
Hmmm! I was always curious to figure out how things actually worked. I used to take my toys apart as a child to see what was inside, so engineering made sense to me.
Speaking of toys, how can viewing things like that help with your work at VMware?
The drive to understand the functionality of technology is the true essence of being able to balance innovation with customer reality. It has helped me appreciate creating simple but straight to the point effective solutions. By double clicking on various layers of technology, one can understand what makes a specific functionality tick and then how it is used or ought to be best used. At VMware, we are about pure play innovation; we focus on digging deep at the core of user functionality and understanding the best way to bring SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) to solve everyday customer problems.
How would you describe what you do at VMware?
I focus on solving practical customer use cases by leveraging VMware vCloud Suite, and then share back this experience with our engineering team on an ongoing basis.
What are some of the exciting things currently happening for you and your team?
I have been in the industry for 20 years, covered projects from all around the world, and worked with some technology pioneers – but until the GTS (Global Technology Solutions) Team, I had never really seen a group that was so talent packed. GTS is the Swiss Army Knife times 1,000 – insanely capable to sell, deliver, and promote VMware products.
Continuous learning is what helps us innovate. How do you practice this at VMware?
Simple, the customer is always right, the customer always has new ideas, and we listen. Engineering at VMware doesn’t have the luxury we have, of knowing all of the real customer use cases – so for the GTS Team, innovation is a daily pursuit – not because we espouse all good things about the technology, but because we have a real customer force driving us to practical innovation.
How did your growth and development at VMware empower you to write the book Virtualizing and Tuning Large Scale Java platforms, and Enterprise Java Applications Architecture on VMware? What were your takeaways from this experience?
I spent a long time, 5 years, in VMware IT, and then GTS, so I was both a consumer and advocator of our products, so it was an easy transition to write about it. My time with VMware allowed me to solve some hard-core problems, much of the same type of problems that our customers face on a daily basis, which gave me the ability to look at our product suite with customer solutions in mind.
Which VMware value most resonates with you and how have you seen it come to life?
Passion. At VMware if you truly have an idea, it can come to fruition through hard work and collaboration. I had the idea of Java Virtualization, as a concept, and I was lucky to have the support around me to have this dream materialize.
What is a fun VMware memory for you?
President Club Paris. We attended the Opera Garnier, a charity event, dinner cruise in a yacht on the Seine, and then finished off the fourth day with a memorable dinner at the Louvre. It was pretty special to have met the executive team, mingle with everyone that was over achieving on their numbers, and to listen to many of their great stories.
Share what’s next for you, your team or VMware?
I plan to continue to further evangelize the Java Virtualization story, taking on some of the world’s toughest workloads, such as the 3rd largest trading platform in the world, which today runs on a virtualized instance of GemFire. I will turn my focus to a wider global reach to carry the BCA story across EMEA, APJ, and Americas regions. VMware is on a strategic course to virtualize the world’s most critical applications, and while we have been very successful at doing this, I will be part of a team that will carry and scale out this effort globally.
*Take a look at Emad’s video interview where he further discusses his two books, Virtualizing and Tuning Large Scale Java Platforms, and Enterprise Java Applications Architecture on VMware: http://bit.ly/1hL9r0w
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