Author Archives: Shekar Ayyar

Shekar Ayyar

About Shekar Ayyar

Shekar Ayyar joined VMware in June 2007 and serves as executive vice president and general manager of VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud business unit, which is designed to help communications service providers as well as enterprises with integrated platforms for 5G, edge, telco cloud and IoT use cases. Ayyar also serves as general manager, Edge/IoT for Dell Technologies. Prior to July 2019, Ayyar led the company’s strategy and corporate development efforts for the past 10 years and also helped incubate the telco Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) focus area. Under his leadership, the company has executed on dozens of acquisitions including significant platform additions such as Nicira, AirWatch, VeloCloud and Heptio, as well as a portfolio of strategic investments in technology startups.
Ayyar brings more than 20 years of senior leadership experience in enterprise software, communications and semiconductors. Prior to joining VMware, Ayyar held senior executive roles at BindView, Instantis and Lucent, spanning product management, marketing, and business development, and was also a consultant with McKinsey & Co. Ayyar earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and his MBA from the Wharton School, where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. Ayyar serves on the Boards of Puppet and the VMware Foundation.

Think Again: Tackling 5 Common Myths about 5G

As many of you may have seen, I am about to transition from an operating role at VMware to a Special Purpose Acquisition Company focused on Telco, 5G, and Edge. As I hand over the baton to my esteemed colleague Sanjay Uppal, I am delighted to share with you some thoughts around 5G based on common assertions I’ve encountered – with the goal of helping to separate fact from fiction.  

That’s what this “Think Again” column is designed to do.  Periodically, our team at VMware will publish an update as an opportunity for us to add clarity on Telco and Edge topics.  So, here’s the first installment for 2021!  

Myth 1: Large-scale 5G deployments are another year away.     

It’s true that the costs of 5G are massive; the infrastructure investment is estimated to be $80 billion by 20271.  Given that expense, deployment delays would be expected IF the primary use cases were consumer oriented.  But commercial use cases – like private 5G, remote work, AI applications for autonomous vehicles – are keeping global 5G deployments moving at scale and on schedule.  Additionally, with the emergence of greenfield projects, like the cloud-native 5G ORAN deployment recently announced by DISH, Intel and VMware, the arrival of large-scale 5G deployments is now measured in months not years.  So, yes, 5G is here folks; buckle up.

Myth 2: Hyperscale clouds can deliver the 5G Edge.

Whether it’s a hope or an assumption, there’s a notion that 5G Edge applications can be sufficiently supported by existing hyperscaler cloud infrastructure. Truth is, you can’t just graft your existing hyperscaler solution onto a new batch of distributed requirements and expect it to work.  5G Edges come with their own set of nuanced requirements around latency and scale, requiring any Edge solution to pull together communications and computing clouds in a seamless and effective way.  Hyperscalers can’t dress up public clouds as low latency, distributed 5G Edges.  Edge-native is the new craze … get on that train already and find the right Edge providers.

Myth 3: IoT was a passing fad.

I get it; with new technologies, there typically is an abundance of hype in the beginning with lots of ‘experts’ jumping in to show how it has promise, and a ton of startups and investment following the hope of a big return. IoT in its first phase went through this hype and subsequently cooled off. Carriers set up IoT businesses and only a few of them got returns. However, now we are entering a new and more robust, Edge-enabled phase of IoT. I am bullish about the applications in industrial automation –e.g. automation of a large-scale automotive factory shop floor — that are leveraging Edge-delivered IoT. So, no:  not a passing fad.

Myth 4: The pandemic has had a slowing effect on Telco cloud and 5G deployments globally.

We’ve all seen the pervasive disruptions to life and work due to the COVID pandemic.  It would be natural to expect that 5G and telco cloud deployments could be delayed — but the opposite has occurred.  Driven by the shift to work-from-anywhere employment and the uptick in at-home education and entertainment, connectivity requirements have skyrocketed. That in turn, has accelerated and expanded telco cloud and 5G deployments to be faster, not slower. So NO, we aren’t seeing any slowdown in network deployments because of the pandemic.

Myth 5: 5G is what will finally drive XR into the mainstream.  

Consumer applications of AR and VR have been hyped for years now – will 5G be what finally makes XR a consumer success?  It’s true that XR form factors are getting better and that 5G infrastructure delivers on the low-latency, high-bandwidth requirements for rich XR experiences.  But are consumers ready to embrace those still cumbersome and funky-looking goggles?  Do they feel comfortable strapping around a set of gadgets 24×7?  Jury’s still out on this one.   

To learn more about how the VMware Telco Cloud is supporting 5G, visit

1 Fortune Business Insights, “5G Infrastructure Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis,” January 2021

The VMware Telco Cloud Platform as the Software Operating System for 5G

EDITORIAL UPDATE: On September 14, 2020 VMware officially closed its acquisition of The blog post below has been amended to reflect the team and the technology of joining VMware.

VMware continues to make great progress on our vision and we are seeing proof that our strategy is resonating with customers and partners. We view the VMware Telco Cloud Platform as the software operating system for 5G. And our recent momentum shows that the industry agrees.

In the last quarter, we have shared new partnerships, customer wins and technology developments across the telco industry. We are working with DISH to bring 5G speed and performance to the majority of the US population with the world’s first open radio access network offering. VMware is also collaborating with Intel to deliver an integrated software platform for virtualized radio access networks (RAN) to accelerate the rollout of both existing LTE and future 5G networks. And finally we formally announced the delivery of our 5G Telco Cloud Platform, a consistent cloud first solution powered by a field proven, carrier-grade, and high-performance cloud native infrastructure with intelligent automation.

Today we are sharing that we are expanding our team with the acquisition of the team and the technology of This group brings knowledge and expertise with communication service providers that will be directly relevant to the work we have underway. These new team members have been working on unifying legacy telco networks with a multi-cloud architecture and helps expand our existing bench of talent, bringing additional engineering expertise and innovative ideas that will help us accelerate our delivery.

Across the globe, the race is on to bring 5G from idea to wide deployment. VMware is helping communication service providers meet the increasing demand for innovative 5G services by delivering   a telco cloud platform that can efficiently create, monetize, and deliver an array of new applications and services for both consumer and enterprise markets.


10 Predictions on 5G

With the current year promising to be a breakout one for 5G, I’ve taken the opportunity to outline some of the key changes I see coming in the Telco & Edge Cloud area as a result of this arrival.

  1. We will see robust, nationwide 5G networks and services in the US beginning in the latter half of 2020.
  2. The growing popularity of eSim technology will chip away at the traditional barriers to multi-carrier solutions and dynamic carrier switching, making both much more feasible and popular.
  3. The primary driver of consumer 5G usage will be the growing adoption of credible enterprise 5G use cases such as advanced conferencing and private network connectivity.
  4. 5G connectivity will emerge as a credible replacement for WiFi. For the majority of us who are accustomed to always asking ‘What’s the WiFi password?’, this will be a liberating sea-change.
  5. Tier 1 telcos will get comfortable with a ‘virtual-first’ architecture for their core network functions, turning their attention to the Edge and RAN.
  6. The battle for the Edge among telcos and public cloud providers will heat up significantly. Hybrid architectures that connect telco clouds to hyperscale public clouds will gain traction.
  7. We will see the emergence of edge-native applications spread across two categories:  latency sensitive and high data volume. By the end of 2020, latency-sensitive apps will lead in edge deployments.
  8. Radio (RAN) infrastructure will see significant software-driven upheaval due to the disaggregation and separation of radio, distribution, and control.
  9. Increased IoT device-based cyberattacks will compel CIOs to assert more control over IoT deployments. Security will become an inherent requirement of the 5G infrastructure supporting IoT.
  10. The adoption of programmable network architectures will increase among global carriers, enabling strong policy-based security solutions.

VMware To Add Uhana to Telecommunications Portfolio, Harnessing the Power of AI for Mobile Networks

Communications Service Provider (CSP) networks are on the cusp of two major shifts: transition to a programmable and virtualized 4G/5G network; and the rise of low latency applications such as cloud gaming, VR/AR and IoT—which are placing stressful demands on the network. To deliver a consistent and great user experience with competitive economics, network service providers need to automate network operations and directly optimize applications to solve this problem urgently. The answer is an AI-driven, scalable network and application experience management system.

VMware is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Uhana, a company that is pioneering the use of deep learning and real-time AI in carrier networks and applications, to automate network operations and optimize application experience. Uhana helps operators reduce the cost of network operations, improve operational efficiency and offer a differentiated application experience in an industry where mobile connectivity is being commoditized.

Uhana’s core technology is a highly-scalable, low-latency, real-time stream processing and AI platform, deployable in the operator’s private cloud or public cloud infrastructure. It includes a high-performance stream processing engine that ingests subscriber-level network telemetry from a variety of data sources: the radio access network, the core network and optionally even the over-the-top (OTT) application directly, and processes the telemetry to provide real-time, per-subscriber visibility. It also includes an AI engine that discovers and predicts anomalies in the network and/or application, prioritizes them by their estimated impact, infers their likely root causes and automatically recommends optimization strategies for the best subscriber experience.

Our intent to acquire Uhana and to add Uhana’s technology to VMware’s Telco Cloud and Edge Cloud portfolio further demonstrate our commitment to serving the telecom industry and deepening intelligence in the journey to 5G. After closing the transaction, Uhana’s technology will also be poised to empower intelligence and analytics for VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience products. We look forward to welcoming the team from Uhana to VMware.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements including, among other things, statements regarding VMware’s intention to acquire Uhana; the expected benefits of the acquisition; and the expected complementary nature and strategic advantages of combined offerings and opportunities after close. These forward-looking statements are subject to the safe harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risk factors, including but not limited to: (i) the ability of the parties to satisfy closing conditions to the acquisition on a timely basis or at all; (ii) market conditions, regulatory requirements and other corporate considerations that could affect the timing and closing conditions to the acquisition; (iii) the ability to successfully integrate acquired companies and assets into VMware; (iv) VMware’s customers’ ability to accept emerging technology and to transition to new products and computing strategies; (v) competitive factors, including but not limited to VMware’s ability to compete in new industries, the entry of new competitors into the industries in which VMware competes, and the success of new product and marketing initiatives by VMware and VMware’s competitors; (vi) VMware’s ability to enter into and maintain strategically effective partnerships; (vii) rapid technological changes in the virtualization software and cloud, end user and mobile computing industries; (viii) changes to product and service development timelines; (ix) VMware’s ability to protect its proprietary technology; (x) VMware’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees; (xi) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (xii) changes in VMware’s financial condition; and (xiii) VMware’s relationship with Dell Technologies and Dell’s ability to control matters requiring stockholder approval. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this release, are based on current expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in condition, significance, value and effect as well as other risks detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including VMware’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K that we may file from time to time, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. VMware assumes no obligation to, and does not currently intend to, update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.



VMware at Mobile World Congress Americas: Service Assurance is Key to 5G Success

Today at Mobile World Congress Americas, VMware is highlighting the next phase of 5G readiness for communications service providers (CSPs) worldwide. At the event, we will showcase how the VMware Service Assurance Suite will integrate into VMware’s NFV portfolio and illustrate real-world service assurance use cases for CSPs as they prepare for 5G.

2018 has been a year of unprecedented momentum for VMware’s Telco NFV business. Solution innovation, the movement to acquire Dell EMC’s Service Assurance Suite, continued customer momentum and expansion and the ability to address more use cases have defined the first part of the year. 5G deployments will not be possible without virtualization, service assurance and a solid multi-cloud strategy. With VMware, customers have everything they need to become 5G-ready while still meeting the demands on today’s networks and reaping the benefits.

Last month, we announced our intent to acquire the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite portfolio: software spanning network health, performance monitoring and root cause analysis for communications service providers (CSPs) and their customers. The addition of the Service Assurance Suite to the portfolio of VMware telco solution offerings will enable CSPs to maintain operational reliability in their core network, cloud and IT domains across physical and virtual infrastructure and operationalize competitive new services faster. Service Assurance Suite is now a part of VMware’s robust telco portfolio, engineered to enable CSPs to bridge the gap from 4G to 5G through simplified networks, service enablement and multi-cloud support.

So how does it work? VMware Service Assurance Suite focuses on automating a variety of key operational use cases for CSPs aimed at reducing operational costs and improving customer experience,  such as:

  • Network and Service Availability Management: with automated root-cause and service impact analysis
  • Performance Management and SLA Monitoring: with deep analysis for historical and real-time views, trending, forecasting and adaptive alerting
  • Network Configuration Management: enabling automated network infrastructure change and compliance management
  • Application & Service Level Monitoring: with cross correlation of Network Applications and/or Virtual Network Functions (VNF) with service delivery infrastructure
  • Hybrid Assurance: Correlation spanning physical, NFVi, VIM and service layers offering unparalleled operations management with deep NFV closed loop integration

VMware Service Assurance Suite covers a rich variety of network segments such as: Backbone/Transport, IP, MPLS, Mobile, SDN/NFV, SD-WAN, IPTV, Unified Communications and Managed Enterprise Networks.

We will be showcasing the VMware Service Assurance Suite and NFV solutions in booth #S1714 at Mobile World Congress Americas, September 12-14 in Los Angeles, Calif. Our executives will also be participating in a panel on network analytics, diagnostics & service assurance on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 1:00-2:00 pm PDT. Stop by for more information—we hope to see you there!