CDI CTO Is Watching The Broadcom Merger, But Says VMware’s Channel ‘Amazingly Good’
‘Over the years, it maybe wasn’t the healthiest. We have our ups and downs just like any relationship in life. But right now, it’s amazingly good. You can definitely see that they are viewing the channel, I think as a means for growth,” said Will Huber, CTO at CDI, VMware partner of the year.
CDI Chief Technology Officer Will Huber said he does not know what may be in store for partners, should Broadcom finally make good on its year-long, $61 billion quest to buy VMware, but one thing is for sure.
“VMware can’t do it alone,” said the technology chief at VMware Pinnacle Partner CDI LLC, a New York City-based solution provider. “They were a much more direct-minded company. They did a lot more direct business with end-user customers. That works to a particular size and scale. Now they’re in the many multiple billions of dollars. They have very aggressive growth goals. They can’t do it themselves.”
And that extends to integrations as well, Huber said. VMware partners, he said, are closer to the customers as well as the technologies that can multiply VMware’s ability to solve complicated technology problems.
“We’re tremendously valuable to a company like VMware because we know their technology as well as they do, but we also know everything else that sits beside and in between, and we can make them more relevant,” he said.
Technology infrastructure has never been more complex, or the choices more varied for businesses which need to navigate hybrid cloud environments, how to leverage generative AI, and ways to protect and store all the data that is created, Huber said.
“If you ask any CIO, ‘Is your job easier today or harder today than it was 10 years ago?’ And they’re all going to say, well, it’s harder today. There’s more concerns. There’s more complexity,” said Huber, who runs technology for one of the largest solution providers in the nation. “Most of our customers, they don’t want new friends. They’re not looking for more partners. They’re looking to double down with a fewer number of more strategic, highly capable and highly value driven partners that they work with. And again, like I think that’s what’s fueling the growth of the MSP market in general.”
CDI is a Dell Technologies Titanium Black partner, No. 50 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500 list. It has also been growing. CDI was bought by private equity firm One Equity Partners in a deal that closed in January 2020. Since then, the company has completed seven acquisitions in three years.
“What’s interesting is I think there’s an imbalance of supply and demand in terms of skill sets that are required to be able to make sense of all this complexity and to operate this technology and to sufficiently protect these businesses,” Huber said. “What customers are realizing is that they need partners.”
Huber said, for its part, CDI needs vendors to step up as well. As a longtime VMware partner, the company, he said, has been watching VMware’s pending acquisition by Broadcom as it has wound through a year of takeover talks.
“The good news is, I guess from our perspective, is they’re saying what I think are the right things. So, (Broadcom CEO) Hock (Tan) released a blog that came out that directly said, ‘Hey, we can make this work without increasing prices. We can continue to invest in innovation. We’re not going to stop or slow that down.’ “ Huber said. “I think the encouraging thing is it seems very clear that the VMware brand will stay and that VMware is going to sort of emerge as we think of sort of the dominant DNA for their enterprise software division.”
Huber talked with CRN about the generative boom, what’s coming next for VMware partners, and how cloud chaos is still dominating the conversation.