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Incoming CEO's 'Apple' goal for VMware

Incoming CEO's 'Apple' goal for VMware

Incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger wants VMware to be the 'Apple' of IT operations and infrastructure, but he says it will never develop the 'arrogance' of other successful tech companies.

Two days before formally taking over his role as CEO of VMware, Pat Gelsinger says he already knows what he wants his legacy to be with the company. “As you would look at Apple as the icon of innovation in consumer electronics, you will look at VMware as the icon of innovation in datacentre, in IT operations and infrastructure,” says Gelsinger.

He says he also wants VMware to avoid something that he has seen successful companies have evolved into in his 30-plus years in the sector.

“Very successful companies often develop an arrogance to them,” says Gelsinger, current chief operating officer of EMC, VMware’s parent company.

“I would hope VMware will never become such a company, that it remains focused on satisfying customers, continuing to partner with the ecosystem, that not only will we do the right things but do it the right way as well.”

He says current CEO Paul Maritz, who will move to EMC as chief strategist, “sets a very high bar” for him. He points out how Maritz had successfully transitioned VMware from its founders, growing its annual revenue from US$1 billion to almost $5 billion.

“I give him A-plus as a leader,” says Gelsinger, who joined Maritz during the opening keynote at VMworld, the annual user conference of VMware being held this week in San Francisco.

Gelsinger says VMware’s acquisition track will continue to acquire companies and organically innovate in the “software defined datacentre” which they had announced at this year’s conference, as well as in end user computing.

VMworld focuses on consumerisation of technology

The conjoined trends of consumerisation of technology and ‘bring your own device’ took centre stage at the keynote of the second day of VMworld.

“The days of telling users what to do are over,” says Steve Herrod, chief technology officer of VMware, in his keynote address at the company’s annual user forum and technology showcase.

And while previous VMworld conferences put forth the concept of preparing for the post-PC era, Herrod points this year to moving towards a multi-device workspace and a heterogeneous environment.

Herrod says in the desktop world, one device was “pretty good” but “a lot of other animals are entering the zoo now”.

This leads into a hodge podge of tools for IT, resulting in complexity and costs, and an environment where consumers are more tech savvy and choose the devices they want to use, he says.

Herrod says IT has to “broker things “, providing a “switchboard” or “hub” where identity management, security and policy can be set, to make sure enterprise data is safe and compliant.

Herrod presents the roadmap of VMware in this space, previewing the alpha version of the Horizon Suite. Horizon Suite, which will be available before the yearned, will understand a user’s attributes and environment (device, location and connectivity level) and enforce policies across applications, data and desktops. This will allow IT to deliver Windows, Android, iOS, web and SaaS applications in a single workspace and allow users access to applications and data from any device.

Herrod likewise demonstrates the combination of View and Wanova Mirage which he says will allow IT organisations to deliver legacy desktops as a centrally managed service. This means it can support the combination of office and mobile workers.

“The dramatic influx of mobile devices and applications is quickly subverting existing IT policy and managements,” says Brett Waldman, senior research analyst at IDC. “Modern solutions will need to have an integrated approach that holistically manages users, applications and devices to satisfy radically changing requirements to be well accepted by today’s IT organisations.”

The issue of consumerisation of technology and a mobile workforce as highlighted in a research conducted by VMware on the topic. The report finds across the Asia Pacific 85 percent of employees bring their own devices and use these for work, using downloaded apps. But 60 percent of companies still have rules and regulations against doing this.

“So companies are trying to limit the data usage correctly need to secure data but using old and outmoded model they still think they have PCs they can control,” says Andrew Dutton, VMware Asia Pacific general manager.

The survey says employees in companies with these tight policies around not being able to use their own devices wish to move to companies that had a greater understanding of how to allow people to work anywhere and anytime on their own device.

Divina Paredes attended VMworld 2012 in San Francisco as a guest of VMware.

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