CEO Gelsinger: VMware Cloud On AWS Migration Is So Easy You Can Do It In Virtual Reality

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger donned a virtual reality headset in the latest act in the company's ongoing project to re-image itself as a hybrid cloud kingpin.

Gelsinger joined Bruce Davie, VMware's Asia-Pacific-Japan CTO, onstage at a vForum 2017 event in Mumbai, India, this week to demonstrate app migration to VMware Cloud on AWS, and pictures of the CEO gesturing in a VR headset quickly hit Twitter. "Best demo ever," Gelsinger tweeted. "Coolest thing I've ever done on stage," tweeted Davie.

The VR demo, including a separate video of Gelsinger in the "virtual virtual" migration, is also available online. In it the headset-wearing Gelsinger is guided on a virtual migration from an on-premise data center into the VMware Cloud on AWS. The migration is completed with no operating system or application downtime.

[Related: Partners: Cisco Google Faces Huge Hurdles To Overcome VMware Cloud On AWS Momentum]

"Wow, that's impressive," Gelsinger says.

The demo underlines VMware's efforts to plant its flag firmly in the multi-cloud market after nearly 20 years as the virtualization software leader - and even public cloud naysayer.

Gelsinger's virtual migration also highlights the fact that VMware Cloud on AWS, which was launched a year ago and became available in August, has the advantage of being on the market before a key competing solution from Cisco and Google, which announced a hybrid cloud partnership this week and aim to make their offering available by the middle of next year.

Gelsinger four years ago pleaded with partners not to let any workloads go to AWS. But the company has done a public cloud 180 since then, teaming with the public cloud giant and then selling off its one-time AWS competitor vCloud Air earlier this year.

The strategy shift has paid off so far. VMware earnings have regularly beaten Wall Street expectations this year, and first-half revenue increased more than 12 percent year-over-year.

Cloud partnerships with AWS, IBM and others, as well as red-hot products like NSX software-defined networking and vSAN virtualized storage, have convinced solution providers that VMware will be relevant in the future of the IT market, Gelsinger said at the Channel Company's Best of Breed conference earlier this month.

Rene van den Bedem, chief strategist at RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based solution provider that works with VMware, said that while the VMware Cloud on AWS solution is still new to the market, it's generating a lot of interest among customers eager to get away from old, expensive systems.

"We're having a lot of conversations because it's a cross-cloud platform that you can link together with NSX," van den Bedem said. "You can use the same glue. A lot of customers are using off-the-shelf software built in the 2000s and then customized. To go from that platform to cloud-native can be incredibly expensive, and with this you get the best of both worlds."

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