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VMware Expands IBM Relationship, Looks Forward to Dell-EMC Acquisition

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James AndersonVMware VMworld — VMware is deepening its relationship with IBM as it seeks to give customers flexibility and control over their cloud platforms.

IBM has signed on as the first vCloud Air Network partner to deliver the VMware Cloud Foundation as a service. VMware announced on Monday at VMworld that the Cloud Foundation, which is a software-defined data center platform, will be a major component of the company’s newly announced Cross-Cloud Architecture. CEO Pat Gelsinger explained that VMware is changing part of its vision from “One cloud” to “Any cloud” and focusing on helping customers, automate, govern and secure their workloads across various cloud platforms.

“All of the capability we announced today on the Cloud Foundation is all on top of SoftLayer that allows the client to mix the public cloud and your private cloud so that they run on VMware today,” said Robert Leblanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud.

VMware and IBM first announced their partnership earlier this year to help move VMware workloads from on-premises to the cloud.

“Our collaboration with VMware is becoming the glue for many organizations to scale and create new business opportunities while making the most of their existing IT investments in a hybrid cloud environment,” LeBlanc said.{ad}

Melanie Posey, president of research for IDC’s Hosting and Managed Network Services, said both companies “are making great strides” to improve hybrid cloud adoption.

“The IBM-VMware partnership offers enterprises the ability to extend existing on-premises workloads to the cloud seamlessly without the need for a major IT operations overhaul, thus greatly simplifying the entire migration process,” she said.

Gelsinger said the IBM partnership had the potential to ruffle some feathers — particularly with Dell, which is acquiring VMware’s parent company, EMC Corp. IBM often competes directly against Dell, as evidenced by IBM’s Monday announcement about its new all-flash storage portfolio.

But Gelsinger said Dell CEO Michael Dell supported VMware’s exploration of a relationship with IBM.

“Michael’s comment was … ‘That’s good for VMware. You should do it,’” Gelsinger said.

Michael Dell and Gelsinger sat down for a chat on the main stage during the keynote session and later took questions from the media about how Dell’s acquisition of EMC will impact VMware. Gelsinger said that for all of the high-ranking executives that left the company following the announcement of …

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… the acquisition, there is a story about their personal or career ambitions that gives context as to why they left.

“It was not a result of Dell-EMC,” he said.

Dell said the acquisition will result in a host of new engineered solutions.

“You’re going to see on day one, as we bring together Dell, EMC and VMware, a whole new series of engineered solutions that we’ve been working on together,” he said.

Gelsinger said that service providers are increasingly viewing VMware as more relevant to their business.

“All of a sudden, those service providers are seeing the cloud as an important hosting and managed service market for them to pursue.”

Gelsinger also explained how his company views its transition to a SaaS model. He said 7 percent of VMware’s business was SaaS last year, and he said he expects that number to grow 1-2 percent per quarter.

“We don’t expect this fundamental right-hand turn to a SaaS model,” he said. “The majority of customers – private cloud customers, on-premise[s] customers – continue with that perpetual business model. But ultimately the puck is going this way.”


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