VMworld: making the VMware cloud case to buyers

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan August 26, 2013
Carl Eschenbach, President and Chief Operating Officer, has been making the case for VMware's cloud proposition to IT buyers, but will it convince?

Phil Wainewright earlier today published his analysis of some of the VMware cloud announcements coming out of the VMworld conference in San Francisco this week.

Elsewhere at the show, Carl Eschenbach, President and Chief Operating Officer, has been making the case for VMware's cloud proposition to IT buyers.

He argues that many of the firm's clients have what he calls:

"the overarching business call of embracing the public cloud is to achieve greater agility. Practically, they want to get more done, they want to do it with less, and they want to get there quicker.

"Our value proposition to our clients is around providing a seamless extension of their existing IT environment into the public cloud. And this resonates extremely well with clients."

OK, so that's the headline-friendly mission statement. The big question remains how it works in practical terms.

Eschenbach states that there are different areas of focus that come into play, beginning with the installed base of applications running on existing VMware infrastructure:

"They can now move or create new versions of that same application without facing the dilemma of whether the application will work, whether they have to rewrite it, test it and reconfigure it.

"They know because of the great control point we have in the infrastructure at the hypervisor layer, you can pick the application up, move it, and it's going to work first time.

"We're also targeting this to be a platform that clients can build "born in cloud" and next-generation applications that need to get access to content that already resides on their virtualized infrastructure on premise."

Carl Eschenbach

The second point of focus is around networking and more specifically clients being able to extend their existing local area network over into VMware's public cloud without worrying bout security policies needing to be re-addressed:

"You can just extend your existing networking and firewalls into the cloud Hybrid Service, and it's going to work with all the same security protections.

This means if you've achieved compliance on your platform for a regulatory, governmental or industry standard, as you extend it into vCloud Hybrid Service, you're guaranteed to preserve that compliance, which is, again, very valuable."

The third area Eschenbach highlights is VMware's common management framework:

"You can take advantage of the same tools you're using on-premise to manage this public cloud service off-premise.

"The vision we deliver to our clients is so that they have a public cloud that allows them to develop any application and they can put it either in vCloud Hybrid Service or on-premise and they don't have to make any compromises."

In practice

Eschenbach cites as an example of these principles in action Harley-Davidson Dealer Systems which needed to deploy a new application for their 500-plus dealerships around the US:

"It's a sort of tablet-based applications, point-of-sale, and it allows the salesperson to basically have quick reference to inventory and perhaps the profile of the client that they're talking to and their purchasing history. Now it is an app that's mobile. It's obviously based on an old SQL database.

"But it critically needs to get access to content that resides in their inventory and client databases that reside in their datacenter, inside their firewalls on the existing highly virtualized databases they already have running.

"They experimented with a number of other public clouds to run this mobile app in various other clouds but just could not get it to integrate because trying to circumnavigate the various layers of security you've wrapped around a very important client data [is] really, really complicated."

"They basically came to us and said, 'Look, this is what we want to achieve. Can we deploy this app and not have to fret around with the networking?'. And it worked. Iit just worked instantly. They are very aggressive a rolling this application out, and we'll see them expanding that geographically."


Who the buyers are that VMware is addressing with all of this may result in some oversimplification, admits Eschenbach:

"We think about our clients in terms of the buyers and the economic buyers we're targeting either within the technical domain or in the line of business. We see application developers living on both sides, but we're obviously quite focused on the application.

"Over the last few years, the decision-making around buying public cloud services has started to shift as the line of businesses have disintermediated IT in some cases. They just go ahead and buy what they need as quickly as they need it."

This interpretation has clear implications for VMware's own go-to-market thinking. Eschenbach explains that it's a three phased strategy:

"In the first phase, you'll see us very much targeting our traditional core buyer and traditional applications and workloads and really establishing this fundamental basis of differentiation, this hybrid model. [This is] uniquely placed to be able, with such a great installed base, to present a seamless extension of what they're doing.

"You'll see us piling on with more and more hybrid services that reinforce this notion [that] ultimately, you're going to have some stuff on-premise, some stuff in the public cloud. The more seamless you can make that, that's a great value proposition.

"In the second phase, you'll see us take that value proposition and continue to pile on with more features and services, but really expand it geographically.

"And the third phase will see us move into becoming more attractive for targeting next-generation scale-out type applications and really starting to zero in on the line-of-business buyer as well."

And progress to date?

"I'd probably say where we are today is we're well establishing in Phase 1 of the strategy. We're already starting to plan and prepare for Phase 2 in terms of geographic scale-out.

You also saw us announce Cloud Foundry as a service, which is clearly an indication that we're already embarking upon making this platform an attractive destination for next-gen applications. So there's sort of a fairly large overlap in the phasing of the strategy here."

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