One of the fun parts of my job is meeting with customers when they visit VMware’s Briefing Center here at our headquarters in Palo Alto, California – in the heart of Silicon Valley. The customers range from those who have used VMware for years and are now working towards the next step, towards a Private Cloud, as well as, those who are newer to virtualization and have begun server consolidation but are also starting to realize how a virtual datacenter can deliver so much more than just CapEx savings – open conversations to figure out how VMware can help the customer (further) reduce complexity, lower costs, and boost business agility.
In these customer meetings, a question that comes up from time to time is “We know you guys are the clear leaders today. How do you intend to maintain your leadership position moving forward?” A fair question, upon which I walk them through our overall business strategy to enable IT-as-a-Service through cloud computing, product roadmaps, and our competitive differentiation (most of which are captured on our Why Choose VMware and Advantages of VMware Virtualization web pages).
But if you read between the lines, their question is also about an attitude check – one that is often posed to industry leaders. It is a check to make sure that VMware’s success has not somehow made us complacent in regards to changing market dynamics or offerings from other vendors. Basically they are asking, “Are you guys resting on your laurels?” And the answer is “Absolutely not!”
Speaking from my experience working at VMware, I see as much (and very likely, more) ambition, drive, and energy now, as when I joined VMware three plus years ago. A survey of some of our announcements over the past year serves as good evidence of our aggressive drive to enabling IT-as-a-Service:
- Release of vSphere 4, the latest major version of our flagship product that is the foundational virtualization platform for IT-as-a-Service, garnering a large stack of industry awards and recognitions over the past 12 months;
- Release of View 4 with its new PCoIP protocol, the industry’s only purpose-built desktop virtualization solution for delivering desktop-as-a-service;
- Acquisitions of SpringSource, Zimbra, and other companies to broaden the overall solution stack that VMware will offer to customers – from the platform to developer frameworks to cloud-ready applications;
- Significant advancements in our vCloud initiative, such as having more than 1000 service provider partners in the VMware Virtualized service, including partners like AT&T, SAVVIS, Terremark, and Verizon Business.
- Formation of vmforce.com, a strategic alliance between VMware and salesforce.com, to deliver a trusted cloud for enterprise Java developers;
- Active collaboration with industry bodies like the DMTF to enable cloud computing standards and interfaces to maximize customer choice and flexibility in this next emerging era of computing;
- And the list can go on…
Attitude is important. As our CEO Paul Maritz likes to remind us, “Beware the good times.” There is wisdom in that exhortation and echoes the sentiment from former Intel Chairman and CEO Andy Grove’s famous quote, “Only the paranoid survive.” Both men know what it takes to be and maintain leadership in the ever changing technology industry. From my view, there’s a healthy level of “paranoia” at VMware these days – the right level to continue (and extend) our leadership position.