VMware Explore - moving from "cloud chaos" to "cloud smart" to speed up "the great re-platforming"

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels November 8, 2022
CEO Raghu Raghuram recognizes that a shift to the cloud is tough for many companies, so his firm wants to make the transition simpler and more effective.


VMware is looking to help businesses around the globe provide their users with consistent and effective access to services and data in a multi-cloud world.

In a keynote speech at VMware Explore in Barcelona, CEO Raghu Raghuram explained to the audience how his company – whose owners recently approved its $61 billion acquisition by Broadcom – wants to use its collection of products and services to gives IT organizations an effective cloud strategy that allows them to run applications from any location.

According to Raghuram, VMware surveyed its customers earlier this year and asked them to characterize the state of their cloud strategy. The response that came back was that, despite the widescale deployment of on-demand IT, most organizations suffer from what he referred to as “cloud chaos”, with a consequential impact on digital transformation initiatives:

It’s not surprising that the great re-platforming is going slower than expected. While the cloud has been a phenomenal success, it's still only 10% of enterprise IT spending. There’s a long way to go. And we’ve got to go faster.

Raghuram said a number of issues continue to limit the pace of change, including a lack of developer skills, the weight of existing applications and – most specifically – the increased use of a broad range of cloud platforms:

Across your organization, different teams tend to do different things, use different clouds. And so now our businesses have very fragmented operations and security that is not only slowing you down, but in fact is increasing the risk in your organization.

While challenges to cloud rollout remain, Raghuram argued that the good news is that pioneering enterprises are moving to a state of  what he referred to as “cloud smart”. Here, the application determines the cloud strategy, whether that’s the type of deployment, the location, or a series of other technical factors, including data sovereignty:

We believe 'cloud smart' is replacing 'cloud first' as the modern approach to digital transformation.

A 'cloud smart' approach should remove some of the heat from debates about whether data is held in containers, private clouds or hybrid locations, is his main point: 

In my opinion, that is the wrong debate to have, because those are all means to an end. The debate should be about what does your application portfolio look like? How is it put together? How do we accelerate the path to production? How do we manage and secure and connect our needs? That is the central story behind cloud storage.

Becoming 'cloud smart'

Raghuram said it takes a huge community of people, including developers, customers and partners, to create VMware’s solutions to the challenges that modern businesses face. The scale of those challenges continues to increase, particularly given the broader macro-economic environment and cybersecurity risks, but Raghuram is hopeful:

When I talk to CEOs and CIOs, they are steadfast in their priorities in continuing and accelerating the race to become 'digital smart'. Just within this community, we see over 350,000 new applications started every week. At the same time, all of you are managing over 85 million applications that keep all of your businesses running. So there's this combination of being able to transform your business on one hand, while keeping your business running on the other.

In Raghuram's view, the journey to on-demand IT continues at pace, suggesting the past decade has seen a rapid shift to mobile and the cloud. This transition has been so successful that CEOs have started charging CIOs with creating 'cloud first' organizations. That shift has led to what he refers to as the great re-platforming of the enterprise. But as some areas of the business move to cloud slower than others, CEOs have started asking some pertinent questions:

Why is it taking so much time? Why can’t we go faster?

VMware's pitch is that it has spent the past couple of years developing cloud-class services to help customers move successfully to on-demand IT. Raghurman believes companies that adopt this strategy can move from disparate teams and fragmentation to a consistent cloud strategy, which provides frictionless experiences to users:

All these tools together form the foundation of our cross-cloud services portfolio. They form the foundation of our core cloud infrastructure.

At the event, VMware unveiled its next-generation SD-WAN solution, including a new SD-WAN Client, to help enterprises deliver applications, data and services to any device. The company also announced the number of providers signed up to its VMware Sovereign Cloud, its framework for on-demand IT provision, now includes more than 25 partners globally. VMware hopes these tools and services – as well as its recently announced vSphere 8 virtualization platform, VSAN8  hyperconverged infrastructure software and VMware Aria cloud management system – will help CIOs deliver more from the cloud. 

A new direction

With regards to the future of the company, Broadcom announced its intention to buy VMware in May. With that deal nearing completion, Raghuram referred to progress during his keynote speech:

I've been at VMware for a very long time and we've been through many transitions as a company during my tenure. During all of these transitions, we've always been focused on bringing together innovative technology solutions that address your challenges. In May of this year, we took the next major step when we announced the proposed acquisition of VMware by Broadcom.

While he didn’t go in to too much detail on plans, Ragjuram did say he’s spent “a lot of time” with Broadcom CEO Hock Tan over the past few months:

I’ve been educating him about this wonderful community and the portfolio of VMware solutions and innovations that we bring to the table. Hock Ton is as excited as I am about continuing and accelerating the innovation that all of you get to enjoy every day.

In a press conference after the keynote, he added that the long-term plans for the organization post-acquisition are still being honed, but that the software division of the business will be consolidated under the VMware brand:

Broadcom has said publicly that VMware will become the software division. Today, we operate as a completely independent company – with our own planning and business activities – and clearly the acquisition means employees have a lot of questions. What Broadcom has stated is that they're committed to continuing and accelerating the strategy, as well as investing in VMware. So, we expect that a lot of what is happening today will continue.

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