After the previous two VMworld conferences took place virtually, the inaugural VMware Explore opened in San Francisco on August 29, 2022, with more than ten thousand people eagerly attending in person. Bharath Rangarajan, General Manager of VDI/DaaS and Vice President of EUC Product Management, was one of them. A week later, he took some time to reflect on VMware Explore, and then shared his impressions from interactions with customers and partners following the EUC Keynote session announcements.
Julie Koyano: Based on your conversations, of all the product announcements from Explore, which ones did people seem most excited about?
Bharath Rangarajan: Intelligence Guided Root Cause Analysis was a popular topic. And the concept of self-healing was definitely something that people resonated with quite well. Then there was the notion of Titan (next-gen Horizon Cloud) and the next-gen DaaS platform for Horizon customers. And Freestyle Orchestrator for Mobile was pretty popular. We had folks from Crate & Barrel talk about it. And the Apps On Demand strategy that we announced with App Volumes, and how we can radically change app delivery.
JK: You mentioned “self-healing.” That was part of the Autonomous Workspaces announcement. What were people saying about that?
BR: It’s certainly a new construct for folks. It’s an exciting construct, and a lot of people gravitated towards the self-healing part because that’s something they could understand. Self-configuring, quite frankly, a lot of people think that we already do a lot of this. And self-securing is also a nirvana state.
Overall, I think autonomous workspaces, from a customer perspective, gives a unified view to look at why we do what we do. This hits home why a platform like Anywhere Workspace exists in a strong way. And correlations with things like self-driving cars on autopilot, etc., makes it that much more tangible to people.
JK: Did people approach you to talk about autonomous workspaces? What interesting conversations did you have?
BR: For autonomous workspaces, there was one interesting discussion with a customer around: “How do you do [autonomous workspaces] in the context of BYO devices?” If you think about everything operating autonomously, some level of the ability to make changes to a device is important. It’s not an easy question to answer because you’ve got to be very careful about privacy — and the user boundaries as well — and be respectful of those. So, I found that to be an interesting question, and something that we need to think through. How do we deliver self-healing, self-securing, self-configuring across all device ownership types? To me, that was a thought-provoking question.
Perhaps due to IT and travel budget restrictions or caution around COVID, VMware Explore saw a more tightly focused audience than at live events in the past. From Bharath’s perspective the conference felt more personal and allowed for more opportunities to connect with other people.
JK: Obviously the past few years have been overshadowed by the pandemic. Do you feel that was still a topic of conversation? Or do you feel like people are looking forward?
BR: No, I think there was very little talk about the pandemic. Right now, I think the bigger issue this year — that is a good thing and a bad thing — is that it was a smaller group because of IT budget constraints and some travel restrictions for some companies. But that said, it ended up being a very focused group. So, people who were at Explore were there for the right reasons. People were fairly serious. And a lot of the discussions were strategic in nature. Everybody was passionate about: “How do we use what we’ve learned over the last couple of years to essentially make that a springboard to the next phase of innovation?” A lot of the conversations were in that vein. “How do we fundamentally change, and build an organization that values freedom of choice, that values resiliency?” Some of the higher-order topics came out.
For me, personally, just connecting with people live in that forum felt more manageable. And it also gave me some space to connect with my own team and everyone I hadn’t seen for a long time. It was a double-win in terms of customers and partners — as well as teams — to be able to talk.
JK: Speaking of customers, which success stories did you hear about how VMware products and solutions help people in the real world?
BR: We heard Sentara say in the [EUC] Keynote how they use our solutions. Sentara is in this business of mission critical lifesaving experiences. The way Matt called that out was super exciting. And when I shared [the story] with some of the R&D folks, they were also extremely thrilled to see their products in use for mission critical scenarios like that. So those to me hit home the point about the relevance EUC tech — or Workspace ONE technology — has in the customer context. I think we’ve matured into not just an interesting or important piece of technology, but we are moving up the stack to becoming way more mission critical in our customers’ environments. And it’s not a position we take lightly, and we will need to continue to innovate, to stay and service them that way.
Some of the customer success stories mentioned in this interview can be viewed or listened to in on-demand session recordings. To hear the Sentara Healthcare story for yourself, go directly to the video recording of the EUC Keynote, “Setting the North Star for a Hybrid Work World.” Simply log in or create an account to watch for free.
For more VMware Explore news, see our VMware Explore 2022 Anywhere Workspace, Workspace ONE, and Horizon announcement overview and all of the articles in our VMware Explore 2022 category.