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As VMware Explore Begins, Company President Vows ‘Innovations Are Here To Stay’

O’Ryan Johnson

‘We are making these announcements with the full belief that these innovations are here to stay and serve the customers for years, if not decades to come,’ VMware president Sumit Dhawan tells CRN.

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VMware Explore – which launched this week in San Francisco -- was designed as the first showcase of the company’s new vision and mission independent of Dell and EMC, a chance for executives to project bold, horizon-shaping ideas for an audience of virtualization adherents.

While Broadcom’s $61 billion takeover offer of VMware has not upset that apple cart, it has made it tricky to keep the customers’ eyes on the produce, when partners say they will be listening for words of encouragement about the business, alongside product updates.

“We’re hoping to hear a reassurance that they’re going to continue to invest in the technology, the support, the sales team and top talent,” said Stephen Ayoub, president of VMware Premier Tier partner AHEAD. “Also that they’re demonstrating that they have a desire to continue to partner with the channel. They’ve been a great partner for 10-plus years. We expect them to continue to be great partners. Until they demonstrate differently, we’re going in assuming best intentions on both sides and we look forward to continuing to grow our relationship.”

[RELATED STORY: VMWARE PRESIDENT SUMIT DHAWAN TAKES ON BROADCOM DEAL, R&D AND PARTNER QUESTIONS]

VMware has raving fans, but lately it’s been the company’s skeptics winning headlines as a looming takeover by enterprise-friendly Broadcom has some VMware partners concerned the company will turn its back on small to mid-sized customers. Following Broadcom’s takeovers of Symantec Enterprise Security and CA Associates, partners complained that Broadcom killed off support for accounts below a certain size. Broadcom confirmed that was its strategy with those two, but from the outset it has said VMware would be different.

VMware President Sumit Dhawan told CRN that for Broadcom to use the same strategy with VMware would mean “business suicide.”

“VMware’s business is very, very different than the other acquisitions they’ve had,” he said. “We have a lot bigger pool of customers. Our concentration of business in a small set of customers is not quite there and our segments of customers use our solutions in different ways. We realize that and so does Broadcom because they’ve had all of these conversations with us. And as a result, making an assumption that whatever Broadcom Software Group did with prior acquisitions in software would be the same formula for VMware, we believe that would be business suicide because of how our business is structured, how our customer base is structured.”

Rather, Dhawan said what attracts Broadcom to VMware is the vision of its leaders. He said the company is currently engaged in post-closing planning with Broadcom CEO Hock Tan.

“The strategic rationale for Broadcom to pursue the transaction is all based on our vision, which is outlined with the innovation that we are launching at Explore next week; the vision that helps our customers get choice and flexibility to modernize, build, connect, and protect all of their applications consistently across all the clouds,” Dhawan said. “That is the vision. That is the foundation and the cornerstone of Broadcom’s rationale in terms of pursuing the acquisition.”

[RELATED: BROADCOM SOFTWARE GROUP CUT R&D TO GROW ‘STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS’]

VMware Explore will unveil major updates to its flagship compute and storage products with the debut of vSphere 8 and VSan 8, as well as a venture into multi-cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation +.

vSphere 8 can achieve better performance than its predecessor at a 20 percent savings to CPU cores, the company said. This results in higher workload consolidation and a lower cost of ownership. Additionally, vSphere 8 delivers a 36-percent higher transaction rate with 27-percent lower latency by using those freed-up CPU cores to drive more workload traffic, VMware said of the advancements.

The changes to vSAN are meant to optimize hyper-converged infrastructure environments while quadrupling performance. The result is a 40-percent drop in the cost of ownership as well as enhanced data compression, VMware said.

In multi-cloud, VMware Cloud Foundation + is designed around cloud-connected architecture and built specifically for managing and operating full-stack HCI in data centers. VMware said with Foundation + customers can gain operational efficiencies just through the ease of management they now find in VM and container-based enterprise workloads across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

“We are seeing these customers adopt the power of new innovative services that are coming from different clouds,” Dhawan said. “Some may provide better search in an elastic fashion; some may provide cheaper storage; some may provide better identity services. Across these different clouds, customers are now creating their next generation architectures of modern applications that assemble these services across clouds. Our innovations are centered around it.”

All of the changes and advancements highlighted at the show come with an adendumn, however that Broadcom would have the power to undo any changes that do not fit in to its plans for VMware.

Dhawan said he doesn’t put any stock into the idea that Broadcom will stop the progress VMware has started.

“We are making these announcements with the full belief that these innovations are here to stay and serve the customers for years or decades to come,” Dhawan said. “At this stage, we have full belief, otherwise, it would be wrong for us to move forward with any of these announcements.”

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at ojohnson@thechannelcompany.com..

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