VMware Offers Glimpse of Future and Blast from Past at PEX 2014

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VMware PARTNER EXCHANGE A glimpse into the future and a lesson from the past. Thats what software-virtualization giant VMware offered its partners on the second day of its Partner Exchange (PEX) 2014 event under way this week in San Francisco.

The big news Wednesday: a partnership with Google to provide software that will allow Google Chromebooks a secure way to access Windows applications, data and desktops via the cloud, and a collaboration with F5 Networks to provide a robust and secure access to virtual desktops and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) capabilities for mobile-cloud computing.

The partnership with Google is actually an expanded alliance between the two organizations. As a result of the recent effort, VMware partners will be able to offer their customers a fully managed, subscription-based DaaS offering in the cloud or within hybrid deployments.

Similarly, the collaboration with F5 brings together F5’s Software Defined Application Services and VMware’s End-User Computing (EUC) technologies to provide a secure and powerful experience to the mobile workforce, with the ability to readily and securely access applications wherever they may be,” according to the companies. As part of their alignment, F5 is introducing virtual editions of its BIG-IP Access Policy Manager designed specifically for VMware Horizon View, and an iApp to optimize and simplify deployments.

Here in San Francisco, VMware executives made clear their plans to disrupt hardware organizations at every turn.

Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager of VMwares End-User Computing group, told partners that he views technology like a bottle of wine. Software, he said, is like the juice within, while hardware is more akin to the bottle. The line, of course, drew a laugh from the audience but also underscored how serious the company is about transforming computing as customers see it a theme picked up afterward by VMware CEO Patrick Gelsinger.

When he took the stage in San Francisco, Gelsinger, a life-long hardware engineer, told partners that their future lies in software and cloud computing. He challenged them to ramp up their services businesses as quickly as possible. To cement the message, he reminded partners of what can happen to technology companies that dismiss disruptive threats only to regret it later. To set the scene, Gelsinger played a video featuring iconography from the late 1980s, a time when DEC was the worlds second-largest computing company with ambitions of becoming No. 1.

A year after dismissing the PC as a toy, DEC began losing money. It continued to lose market influence and money, he said, for most of its remaining history before it was acquired in a fire sale in 1998 by Compaq Computer Corp. one of the very companies that DEC had dismissed as a passing distraction only a few years before.

Gelsingers message to partners was unequivocal: VMware is the company of the future, while others with legacy hardware businesses are destined to be relics of the past. In addition to this perspective, he offered several other observations:

  • Mobile cloud computing represents the most disruptive era in IT ever so information professionals must operate at higher velocity.
  • Nothing in technology today has offered customers the business savings and benefits that virtualization has.
  • IT budgets are flat or declining, but virtualization is one tool that is able to increase the value of legacy systems while serving as a foundation for the future of computing.
  • VMware believe all aspects of hardware will eventually be abstracted.

Gelsinger also outlined what he said were VMwares must-wins for 2014. They are: Make the software-defined data center mainstream, win the network architecture battle, become the leader in mobile enterprise management, and establish vCHS as the definitive hybrid cloud platform.

To ensure that it makes these ambitions a reality, Gelsinger said VMware will continue to stay on the right side of technology trends, do whats best for its customers and enable the partner ecosystem.

Who will you hitch your wagon to?” he asked rhetorically. Make sure its not a DEC” from 2014, he said.

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