by: VMware on VMware Staff Writer Christopher Long
I was recently hired as a content writer in the VMware on VMware group. During the interview process, my now manager explained that VMware on VMware acts as the first adopter of VMware technology. My assumption, because of my background with application testing was that as a first adopter, VMware on VMware would be performing surface testing of our products with predetermined actions and results from test scripts.
But VMware on VMware provides so much more than just surface testing. The program has two main goals:
- First, deploy new VMware products into production environments to provide feedback to R&D. Specifically, we help identify bugs and recommend feature enhancements.
- Second, our global IT subject matter experts (SME) share our operational experiences with new VMware products to the field and sales team members. This helps our field teams to be more agile and help close deals.
“We deploy VMware products and become the first customers,” said Michael Bender, Chief of Staff to VMware CIO Jason Conyard. “There’s value in telling this story to the business units and the customers.”
Improving our Products and Solutions
VMware on VMware collaborates with teams in developing, building, and operating our products (and solutions). To accomplish this, as the expression goes, we eat what we cook.
The genesis of the VMware on VMware program goes back nearly a decade. Leadership wanted to understand the details of how customers consume VMware products. We started by listening to our customers then replicating their environments.
It might sound like we only deploy finished products, but actually, VMware on VMware is engaged early on in product development. Our IT SMEs put our solutions under duress to expose our products to realistic deployment scenarios—all while gaining first-hand knowledge of how our products behave in various situations.
Don’t just take it from me, however, just listen to Kristopher Inglis, a VMware Senior Solutions Architecture Manager. “There was a steady stream of customer-driven input coming to the engineering teams. The challenge was deciphering actionable items that would have a big impact from what was just noise.”
As a result of VMware on VMware, a variety of products and customer experience improvements were made. So far in 2021, 120 bugs have been identified, logged, and shared with the development teams. VMware on VMware had a hand in helping automate the process to bring up the entire SDDC product stack in multiple data centers—reducing a 45-day process to 19-hours. VMware on VMware also had a hand in vetting the following products:
Sharing Operational Experience
Before VMware on VMware, what we often heard from customers was that deploying our products into their production environments was challenging. In the earlier days, standing up our products tended to be incredibly manual. On top of that, many of our customers found themselves technically in over their heads.
There is an anecdote about a man stuck at the bottom of a hole. A good Samaritan, who happens to hear the man’s screams of help, jumps down into the hole, too. The trapped man says: “Why’d you do that? Now we’re both stuck down here!”
The good Samaritan replies: “I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”
That story can be applied to VMware on VMware. Our global IT SMEs can share their operational experience of using VMware products as they are the first adopters of the technology. The SMEs can then work closely with the field to assist VMware customers. This service allows us to tell our customers the following: we’ve experienced this before and know the way out.
The next phase of the VMware on VMware program will strengthen the relationship with the business units, formalize the return on investment calculations, and build out the mechanisms to consume the products even more like a customer, including the ordering and billing process.
There are many ways we can end this article, but CIO Jason Conyard sums it up best, “I’m very proud of the positive impact the VMware on VMware program has had on our company. We partner all across the business—this includes everything from R&D to sales—to share our journey with customers and partners. We’re honored to share our innovative solutions as a showcase to others.”