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VMworld 2016: Michael Dell Commits To Keeping The VMware Ecosystem 'Open'

Dell appeared on-stage with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at the opening of the VMworld 2016 conference to assure VMware customers and partners that his company thinks keeping VMware open is the best way to ensure future growth.

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Dell CEO Michael Dell on Monday committed his company to keeping the VMware ecosystem open after his company closes its acquisition of EMC, the majority owner of VMware.

Dell appeared onstage at this week's VMworld 2016 conference, held in Las Vegas, for a few minutes at the end of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger's opening keynote to answer the question Gelsinger posed: How the VMware ecosystem might change as Dell, the company, gains control?

Dell said he maintains the same strategy he outlined when Dell, the company, in May first unveiled Dell Technologies, the new name for the combined entity when Dell acquires EMC.

[Related: VMware Intros Integrated Software-Defined Data Center Tech With New VMware Cloud Foundation]

"The open ecosystem of VMware is absolutely critical to its success," Dell said. "We're not going to change it."

Dell said his company likes how VMware is focused on how to make cloud adoption easier, and that the demonstrations of new technologies like the VMware Cloud Foundation that were done on-stage as part of Gelsinger's keynote showed the power of VMware.

"We'll be focused on how to make it more powerful and deployable," he said.

VMware's VxRail technology for hyper-converged infrastructure, VMware Cloud Foundation, and anything VMware has to offer are all important to accelerating the adoption of the cloud, Dell said. And VMware has always had a vibrant ecosystem.

"Only an ecosystem of this size and power could pull this off," he said.

Dell said that ecosystem can only get stronger over the next two years, and Dell will ensure that it remains open as it gets more applied to things like analytics and machine learning.

"I think we're really only at the beginning of another wave of growth," he said.


It's no secret that the IT industry is in a time of great change, with the old quickly replacing the new, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell channel partner.

"Look at who's in the center of that change," Tanenhaus told CRN. "VMware is one of them. There will be a lot of rainmakers and thought leaders coming together with Dell and VMware."

The thing with change is, one never knows what it will look like until long after it was started, Tanenhaus said. "We're still seeing the Web evolve 30 years later," he said. "When Michael [Dell] says we're just at the beginning of this, he's telling the truth."

Tanenhaus said it was interesting that Dell appeared on stage for under 10 minutes.

"With such a short speech, he's telling VMware to have a great future," he said. "Any longer, and people might think Dell is making more changes than initially planned. But he kept it short and sweet, showing he was there but not the center of attention."

Gelsinger used most of his keynote to talk about the fast changes that IT administrators are facing, and how VMware is responding.

Foremost among the changes Gelsinger referred to is the cloud, which makes IT more effective and more accessible, but which will not reduce the need for skilled IT management.

Gelsinger compared the cloud to when he was leading the Intel team that developed the 486 processor. The 486 was three times faster than the older 386, leading some in Intel at the time to question whether the market might need fewer processors going forward. "Can you believe that?" he said.

Like the increase in processor power led to an increase in the number of servers and people required to manage new workloads, the cloud will expand the need for IT skills, Gelsinger said.

Every industry is embracing the cloud, he said. "Not only is every industry embracing the cloud, every function of IT is embracing the cloud," he said.


That is leading every part of a company to become its own IT department, which can sound scary at first to IT administrators, Gelsinger said. Instead, it means opportunity. "Every part of the business is looking to you for help," he said.

A big part of that change is something that VMware introduced about five years ago when it first described the concept of software-defined data centers, Gelsinger said.

VMware brought it all together this week with the introduction of a cross-cloud architecture to enable any application to run, be managed and be secure across any cloud. "We're introducing freedom and control," he said. "It's like having a teenager you both love and like."

Gelsinger also introduced the VMware Cloud Foundation, which allows software-defined data centers to be delivered as a service, and said IBM with its IBM Cloud will be VMware's first partner for the technology.

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