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Pat Gelsinger Says Michael Dell Is A 'Fan' Of VMware's AWS Partnership

‘Though it has competitive elements with Dell, [Michael Dell] believes that if it's in VMware's best interests, it's in Dell Technologies best interests,’ says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, after AWS announces plans to sell on-premise hardware solutions.

VMware's Pat Gelsinger said Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell continues to be a "fan" and supporter of VMware's partnership with AWS even as the public cloud giant announces plans to move into Dell's hardware space.

"Michael Dell has been a fan of our partnership," said VMware's CEO Gelsinger during Amazon's re:Invent conference on Wednesday. "He's been supportive across the board."

Gelsinger acknowledged the competitiveness between Dell, the worldwide leader in infrastructure, and AWS, the global public cloud leader.

"Though it has competitive elements with Dell, he believes that if it's in VMware's best interests, it's in Dell Technologies best interests," said Gelsinger.

[Related: AWS Outposts Will Be Sold Through Aws And VMware Partner Network]

VMware is majority owned by Dell and a subsidiary of Dell Technologies. Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is also currently seeking to become a public company through a VMware stock swap deal by the end of this year.

Dell is the worldwide market leader for both storage and servers. On Wednesday, AWS unveiled that it will be offering fully managed and configurable compute and storage racks built with AWS-designed hardware to allows customers to run its solutions on-premises.

In an interview at The Channel Company's Best of Breed Conference last month, Gelsinger told CRN that VMware will not abandon non-Dell Technologies customers, partners and vendors. When asked if non-Dell customers and partners are expressing concerns about VMware's long-term commitment, Gelsinger said "trust" becomes a critical part of the equation.

"That's why when they call me up and say, 'Pat, we've got this deal in Europe. Are you really going to honor our registration? You can't let the Dell guys flip this one on me.' We have to go tell our Dell counterparts, 'We're glad you like that account, but there's no blankin' way you're entering that account because we're partnered with one of these other vendors.' It requires us to be very disciplined," said Gelsinger. "Some of the channel programs we've put in place over the last couple of years are very much designed so that we're honoring the partnership with [partners] with the way we do registration and margin back to the channel. For our other partners, it becomes super critical that we honor the registrations [and] that we put in place the investments in the channel programs, so HP or NetApp can say, 'That's a good partnership.' I get a few escalation calls and sometimes it's pre-escalation, and it's, 'Don't leave me hanging on this deal, Pat. I'm partnered with you.' A lot of times, it's the customer's choice."

Michael Dell recently told CRN that the technical and channel collaboration between Dell and VMware is at an "all-time high" with plans to advance tighter integrations around solutions like NSX, Workspace ONE, NSX and hyper-converged infrastructure.

"You'll continue to see the collaboration advance. VMware has done a great job in enabling and preparing for the multi-cloud world, and obviously it's a very important part of Dell Technologies," said Dell. "Partners and customers like and appreciate that we're bringing them a complete solution."

Gelsinger joined AWS’ Andy Jassy on stage at re:Invent on Wednesday to announce the move to bring AWS cloud hardware on-premises with the ability to seamlessly connect to the rest of AWS' services in the cloud. Gelsinger said that while VMware Cloud on AWS broke the barriers between data centers and the cloud, VMware is expanding its partnership with AWS to provide enterprises with more choice and options for hybrid cloud.

"Our new offerings, VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts and VMware Cloud Foundation for EC2, further extend VMware's vision for consistent infrastructure and consistent operations from the data center to the cloud to the edge," said Gelsinger.

Outpost delvers racks of AWS compute and storage with the ability to run services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) on this AWS-designed infrastructure.

There will be two flavors of AWS Outposts initially available: VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts and native AWS Outposts.

For customers who want to use the same VMware control plane and APIs they've been using to run their infrastructure, they can run VMware Cloud on AWS locally on AWS Outposts. This delivers VMware's entire software-defined data center—which includes compute, storage and networking infrastructure—to run on-premises and be managed as a service from the same console as VMware Cloud on AWS by using AWS Outposts. The other flavor is for customers who prefer the same APIs and control plane they're used to running in AWS’ cloud, but want it on-premises, they can use the AWS-native variant of AWS Outposts. Customers will have the opportunity to run other software with native AWS Outposts, starting with a new integrated offering from VMware called VMware Cloud Foundation for EC2, which will feature popular VMware technologies and services that work across VMware and Amazon EC2 environments. For example, VMware NSX can help bridge AWS Outposts to local data center networks or leverage AppDefense to protect known good applications as well as VMware's vRealize Automation for workload provisioning.

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