VMware has sparked and driven numerous revolutions in the past two decades. It is amongst the few companies that have the experience, knowledge and resources to go where it chooses, including a future in hybrid multi-cloud computing.
The company’s decision to walk away from the public cloud business and partner with AWS in 2016 is making sense today. The duo has announced some game-changing offerings for their customers like VMware Cloud on AWS and AWS Outposts. It has also partnered with Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and Alibaba Cloud along with over 4000 CSPs in its Cloud Provider ecosystem.
Rajiv Ramaswami, Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services, VMware in this interaction details the company’s cloud strategy. He shares his thoughts on why the company is ideally positioned to support and deliver better levels of IT service, availability, security and compliance in a multi-cloud environment as it has long done in on-premises data centers.
VMware launched its first formal cloud effort (the vCloud initiative) more than a decade ago. It is deeply embedded in many organizations and has obvious appeal for administrators who want to lift and shift applications and keep using familiar tools. What is your strategy today as you continue to deliver solutions and services that address the cloud computing needs of enterprise users?
It is the application needs of today that is driving cloud adoption, as well as broader IT initiatives, such as IT modernization, SaaS, DevOps and automation. So we see our customers wanting to operate in a multi-cloud world overtime.
Most enterprises will continue to operate their own data centers, and run applications on them. At the same time they want to selectively choose applications in the public cloud. A hybrid cloud model addresses exactly that need by providing a consistent infrastructure and operating environment across multiple clouds.
We have our Software-Defined Data Center stack based on our virtualization platform vSphere, vSAN storage and our networking platform NSX. These solutions in multiple clouds and hosting environments is tremendously helping VMware’s ecosystem. Customers can move workloads from on-premises to a partner-managed cloud environment to a hyper-scale cloud platform directly managed by VMware.
The advantage is that it’s a completely compatible environment wherever you are running your workloads. You can run your application in one place and choose to move it to other places without re-factoring or re-packaging or changing the applications characteristics. So there is a level of compatibility. Users can continue to operate these hybrid environments with the same tools and the same training that they already had for managing on prem environments. This is the one part of our hybrid cloud strategy.
We are also seeing scenarios where applications are build directly on native clouds. Enterprises are building applications on AWS, on Azure and so forth. What is your role in such instances?
This I would call as the second part of our strategy. This presents a situation for our customers where they have to manage each of these environments separately. AWS environment is different from Azure or a Google environment. So it is effectively different silos, and for each of these we have different set of services and security groups available so that they can be managed separately.
What we provide in these environments is a consistent way to manage and operate across all of these environments. What do we mean by consistent management and operations here? The first component is very basic like getting visibility into the resources that is utilized; the next aspect is optimization in terms of efficiently utilizing these resources. Another component is that of security and governance to meet the regulatory needs and provide a set of security policies that one can apply across all of these environments.
Then beyond all this you have cloud automation that equips users with the ability to provide automation and workloads across these clouds in a consistent manner. This allows enterprises to operate with freedom and flexibility but with proper control across all of these native clouds.
So the recent acquisition of Bitnami by VMware strengthens your multi-cloud strategy as it will provide more tools for developers using multi-cloud environments and containers.
Bitnami is an application packaging company that allows users to deploy validated business applications in every major cloud. It provides curated set of open source development tools. Yes, the acquisition will extend our multi-cloud reach.
Fundamentally it simplifies the usage of open source tools by developers to help solve enterprise IT challenges related to consistent availability of application packages across teams and clouds. It will enable enterprise IT to provide a customized catalog that meets security best practices and is multi-cloud validated, so they can focus on building differentiated capabilities instead of worrying about deployment and infrastructure.
How are you trying to get the real meaning out of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies in your offerings, and with it the true impact, which can be difficult to measure?
We are putting AI and ML essentially into our product line everywhere and will continue to find ways to bring more intelligence. We are already using AI and ML in various areas of our business. We use it in vSAN to optimise disk performance and predict failure rates, in AppDefense to automatically flag suspicious VM behaviour, and in VMware Skyline that uses machine learning engine to detect any abnormal behavior so it can raise a red flag.
Many enterprises are building their own private cloud. There are others who have multiple data centers, and are now looking for consolidation. Can you share some examples where VMware has played a role in such enterprise initiatives?
As of now, the adoption of public cloud amongst Indian enterprises is fairly limited. Having said this, increasing number of enterprises are adopting private cloud solutions with us.
For example, State Bank of India (SBI) has deployed a private cloud called “Meghdoot,” using some of our offerings. A private cloud environment equips them with automation and flexibility to run old as well as new applications. Applications are deployed in a central cloud in a data center and delivered as virtualized desktops into their branch offices. Everything can be centrally managed and controlled through their private cloud infrastructure.
Another example is of Freddie Mac, a large secondary mortgage firm in the United States. The company was operating multiple data centers and all of them were situated in the Washington DC area. Now a single catastrophic event could take down all the data centers. It became a regulatory issue for them. They chose VMware AWS cloud combination. They have around 600 applications and around fifty percent of this has been upgraded into the cloud.