VMware's Eschenbach: Take Aim At SDDC, Hybrid Cloud, End-User Computing

VMware is staying focused on a simple three-part message about the software-defined data center, hybrid cloud and end-user computing, and it is encouraging its solution providers to do the same if they want to successfully navigate the tremendous changes going on in the data center.

That's the word from VMware President and COO Carl Eschenbach during his closing keynote of this year's VMware Partner Exchange conference, held this week in Las Vegas.

Eschenbach, speaking before a packed hall of solution providers and technology partners, said that VMware two weeks ago told its own team during the company's 2013 internal global kickoff event that VMware is embarking on the next part of the journey to transform the IT industry as it moves toward adopting cloud infrastructures.

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That journey includes three simple items on which VMware is focusing, including software-defined data centers (SDDC), hybrid clouds and end-user computing. And, Eschenbach said, the message to the partner community is the same.

"If you're not aligned, not focused, not working on these three priorities, you're not doing your job. ... If we all align to these three priorities, I'll tell you 2013 will be the beginning of a new decade of change," he said.

Adopting these three priorities is not as difficult for solution providers as it might seem, Eschenbach said.

He said that cloud computing is based on virtualization, particularly on x86-based servers, and that solution providers account for over 70 percent of all x86-based servers sold. Solution providers also sell over 85 percent of all the networking technology and over 65 percent of all the storage technology sold to data centers.

"The starting point for transformation of the data center lies in your grasp," he said.

And, with over 85 percent of the x86 servers that form the base of compute virtualization sold by solution providers, the next logical step is for them to branch out into virtualizing other parts of the data center.

"Expand on that into storage and networking. ... You have the opportunity to create the next journey for your customers," he said.

The ability to virtualize the key resources of the data center, including compute, networking, storage and security, is the foundation on which the SDDC will be built, Eschenbach said.

NEXT: SDDC Will Not Lessen The Value Of Hardware

However, while the priority of building SDDC architectures as a foundation for cloud computing is clear, it should not mean that VMware or its channel partners will ignore the importance of hardware, VMware's Eschenbach said.

"I have one thing to say: If anyone can find a way to run software on software, let me know," he said. "I say that tongue-in-cheek. [But,] software is driving hardware innovation."

And, VMware is driving SDDC innovation starting with its vCloud Suite integrated cloud architecture solution, which Eschenbach said has done very well in the channel since its integration last Fall.

"Thank you for driving the adoption of the first software-defined data center implementation," he said.

Partners who are more focused on building virtualized environments for clients using VMware's vSphere application should also be stepping up to the company's new vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) technology, which Eschenbach said not only adds management capabilities to vSphere but also provides significant profit and margin opportunities for partners.

Solution providers will also be on the front lines of SDDC deployment with their compute, networking and storage services expertise, Eschenbach said.

"Someone needs to integrate that for the customer," he said. "And no one is better positioned to do this than you are."

Solution providers also need to make hybrid clouds a priority because customers want to take advantage of both private and public clouds, Eschenbach said.

However, for most customers, the public cloud is really just another silo of the extended data center, which means they will need standardized framework on which to move workloads to and from public clouds, he said.

For that reason, VMware on Tuesday introduced cloud credits, which let customers purchase prepaid credits from their solution provider that can be exchanged at a cloud service provider to acquire infrastructure-as-a-service capacity for use at a later date. Because customers purchase the cloud credits from their preferred solution provider, that solution provider then gets up-front revenue for public and hybrid clouds.

The third priority for VMware and its channel partners is end-user computing, which includes virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobility, Eschenbach said.

NEXT: The Importance Of End-user Computing

VMware in 2013 will be putting in place its largest channel investments ever in building out the sales force that can drive end-user computing technology. "We believe we can take share from Citrix," VMware's Eschenbach said. "We battle them now neck-and-neck before we increase our sales force."

To drive the push for end-user computing, Eschenbach on Wednesday said VMware is working on a partnership with Cisco to develop VDI infrastructure on top of the Cisco UCS server platform. VMware also worked with Dell to develop a channel-focused VDI infrastructure based on Dell's Active System 800 converged infrastructure offering, he said.

To help carry its three-pronged SDDC, hybrid cloud and end-user strategy to the market and the channel, VMware is building a new enterprise sales force to meet customer requirements in the largest enterprise customers and augmenting its midrange sales force that engages its channel partners, Eschenbach said.

VMware is also continuing to develop its services capabilities for the largest enterprises with a focus on bringing related expertise to its partners. Eschenbach said VMware needs to know customers' services challenges and bring that knowledge to its partners. "We are in this to get intellectual property, to package it, to bring it back to you," he said.

Eschenbach said that success for VMware so far, and going forward, is due to its channel partners that have consistently provided 85 percent of the company's revenue for over a decade.

During his keynote presentation, he showed a PowerPoint slide on which was written, "Thank You, PARTNERS!"

"But it should say, 'Thank you to our sales force,'" he said. "At VMware, we see you as an extension of our sales force."