VMware Promotes Longtime Engineering Exec To Fill CTO, Chief Development Officer Roles

VMware has appointed a new chief technology officer to replace the recently departed Ben Fathi, tapping 12-year company veteran Ray O'Farrell to fill that role, the vendor said Wednesday.

VMware said O'Farrell -- who has previously led development of its server virtualization and cloud infrastructure products -- is also taking on the position of chief development officer.

In the combined role, O'Farrell "will be responsible for orchestration across all of VMware's R&D Business Units and will lead VMware's CTO team," the Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization vendor said in a statement.

[Related: VMware CTO Ben Fathi Departs As EMC Federation Executive Exodus Continues]

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VMware, which is relatively new to OpenStack, hybrid cloud, DevOps and containers, is looking to boost its software development capabilities in these areas. Two partners told CRN that having a chief development officer role could help VMware attract more developers to work with its technologies, although O'Farrell's role is likely to be mostly internal facing.

O'Farrell was previously senior vice president and general manager of VMware's Software-Defined Data Center unit, which includes vSphere server virtualization, NSX software-defined networking, VSAN storage virtualization and cloud management.

O'Farrell previously reported to CEO Pat Gelsinger and will continue to do so in his new role.

O'Farrell joined VMWare in 2003 and has since held a number of R&D management roles, including managing a 2,500-employee engineering and development organization focused on vSphere server virtualization and cloud infrastructure, according to his LinkedIn profile.

"Over the past decade it has been my privilege to manage and grow an R&D organization from a few hundred to many thousands of engineers with a truly global footprint," he says in his LinkedIn profile.

Former CTO Ben Fathi recently resigned after more than three years at VMware. He told CRN on Sunday that he's "talking to a few companies" but hasn't yet decided where he's going next. Chuck Hollis, chief strategist of storage and availability at VMware, left recently to take a role in Oracle's converged infrastructure team.

VMware, which is 80 percent owned by EMC, has been the subject of rampant industry speculation in recent months, and investor Elliott Management has urged EMC to spin off VMware.

One recent report suggested that EMC might buy out the rest of VMware and absorb it, while another report said it's possible that VMware might instead acquire EMC through what's known as a "downstream acquisition."

VMware will hold its annual VMworld customer conference in San Francisco from Aug. 31 to Sept 2.