Life After Dell: VMware Exec Heaps Praise On HPE, Lenovo, Teases Tie-Ups With NEC, Fujitsu, Hitatchi
‘As we emerge from that [Dell] relationship, it’s opened up a huge playing field for us. The HPE relationship has absolutely blossomed. … Being part of GreenLake, which is into the several billions of dollars worth of revenue for HPE at the moment, being part of that motion has been fantastic,’ says Ricky Cooper, VMware’s head of the Worldwide Partner and Commercial Organization.
VMware’s head of the Worldwide Partner and Commercial Organization, Ricky Cooper, is touting the “warm embrace” of IT equipment vendors—and some Dell Technologies rivals—as the company looks to a 2023 filled with partnership announcements.
“We’ve received a warm embrace from the other large global partners,” he told CRN. “It’s been a double win for us this year. Not only maintaining and growing with Dell, whilst at the same time taking ground with some of the OEM partners.”
Dell owned VMware from 2016 until November 2021. While Cooper said VMware could still work with other OEMs, being under Dell sometimes kept those vendors at arm’s length.
No more, he said.
“Whereas in the past they may have shied away a little bit because our ownership model was with a big OEM competitor of theirs, as we emerge from that relationship it’s opened up a huge playing field for us,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he has been around the world talking with OEMs about doing business with VMware, speaking with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, NEC, Fujitsu and Hitatchi. The company unveiled a critical partnership with HPE in November, which HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri called “the next step in expanding the partner system of HPE GreenLake.”
That partnership makes VMware Cloud available across HPE GreenLake’s portfolio. Whether the customer deploys on-premises, in colocation facilities or at the edge, they purchase only the amount of infrastructure they require through a pay-as-you-go cloud consumption model.
“VMware, of course, we were a part of that, but I felt that we were really missing the link and that was to be an active part in that, to co-design,” Cooper said. “What I was talking about earlier, some of the great learnings that we have from that Dell relationship, the strategic solutions, what we’re doing with Workspace ONE, what we’re doing with multi-cloud with Dell, and then taking that to some of the other providers into these new areas such as GreenLake.”
VMware still has business connections to Dell, Cooper said. Because some of its most lucrative products are deeply integrated, the two companies operate under a five-year commercial framework agreement that outlines their partnership.
“We’ve still got a number of employees over on the Dell side who are VMware-focused, and we have a number of Dell-focused employees within VMware,” he said. “Those teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that success has been continued.”
VMware is in the midst of being acquired by San Jose, Calif.-based chip maker Broadcom for $61 billion. The deal has yet to get past any of the competition hurdles it faces in the U.S., the European Union and the U.K., where regulators are in the first stages of looking at the deal.
You were in charge of the relationship with Dell right after the spin-out. Can you talk a little about managing that relationship last year?
One big item on our plate at that time was ensuring a smooth transition as we went from being owned by Dell into becoming a partner. And that means everything: maintaining the relationships. maintaining the great revenue of both organizations, making sure that our go-to-market was still aligned.
So, although we’ve got a different relationship, just making sure that we kept progressing, that we kept the co-innovation going and we kept the strategic solutions in place.
So we have that five-year agreement that I worked on, along with many others here at VMware, which we call the CFA, the commercial framework agreement.
Some of the systems were changing. Access into the Dell teams, into their buildings are changing. Many different things, many different headwinds, but we’ve been extremely successful in ensuring that not only have we kept the lights on with Dell and kept going in the right direction, and not leaving money on the table, but making sure that we’re still providing those solutions for our customers.
I’m pleased to say year to date, we’ve had some great success with Dell and worry has dissipated as we’ve gone through the year.
Now that you are no longer under Dell’s ownership, VMware has talked about the excitement around working with other vendors. How are those conversations going?
We had a huge opportunity to go and grow the rest of the global partners, whereas in the past, they may have shied away a little bit because our ownership model was with a big OEM competitor of theirs. As we emerge from that relationship, it’s opened up a huge playing field for us.
The HPE relationship has absolutely blossomed. You would have read not so long ago that we signed that GreenLake agreement, giving us a tremendous ability to leverage HPE’s whole sales force across the globe, which is fantastic for VMware. Being part of GreenLake, which is into the several billions of dollars worth of revenue for HPE at the moment, and doing extremely well, being part of that motion has been fantastic for VMware. We are really looking forward to see where that goes as we hit the go-to-market in the first half of this year.
You would have also seen a joint partnership with Lenovo, where we’ve agreed to go deeper on technologies such as edge.
We’ve received a warm embrace from the other large global partners. And we’ve been doing exceedingly well in those areas, too. So it’s been a double win for us this year. Not only maintaining and growing with Dell, whilst at the same time taking ground with some of the OEM partners.
I mentioned to you that I was in Japan for some time working with the likes of Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC. Some really great plans that you’ll see manifest in the early part of this year.
What are the opportunities for VMware with HPE, Lenovo, some of the other OEMs?
Look at GreenLake. I attended HPE Discover just as I came on board. Where they’ve done exceedingly well is the fact that customers are now used to buying the technology from large cloud providers. But when you look at the on-premises solutions, there really isn’t anybody coming through saying, ‘Hey, the way that you purchase your public cloud, you can purchase your private cloud. We’ll give you SLAs. We’ll give you the opportunity. We’ll look after all of the technology. And you can run your infrastructure with the same financial model that you’re running with the public cloud provider.’
So that’s of great appeal to the customer base.
VMware, of course, we were a part of that, but I felt that we were really missing the link and that was to be an active part in that, to co-design. What I was talking about earlier, some of the great learnings that we have from that Dell relationship, the strategic solutions, what we’re doing with Workspace ONE, what we’re doing with multi-cloud with Dell, and then taking that to some of the other providers into these new areas such as GreenLake.
So now we’re just finalizing the go to market and what that looks like. And the teams are aligned. We’re now working on all of the back-end processes as well, making sure that this is available and ready to order for our joint customer base. It’s good to be an active partner and use the scale of HPE rather than almost sitting back in the backseat being a passive passenger.
What about Lenovo?
Look at Lenovo and what they do. Particularly in the commercial and the midmarket, they are absolute experts in that area. They’ve really got some good technologies with regards to edge and their vision around edge and what they’re looking to do there. Partnering with them in that space certainly makes sense for us. We’ve got some great technologies like Workspace ONE crying out for somebody selling that desktop notebook, to grab hold of that technology and package this up as a bundle.
So there are huge opportunities to partner together rather than us sell that in a silo on our own.