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VMware Cloud Guru Ajay Singh Leaves For Pure Storage

VMware’s cloud general manager in charge of vRealize and vCloud product suites, Ajay Singh, has left for Pure Store. The move comes just weeks after VMware’s Rajiv Ramaswami left to become Nutanix CEO.

Just weeks after its cloud visionary Rajiv Ramaswami left for rival Nutanix, VMware has lost another cloud leader in Ajay Singh who departed this week to become chief product officer for Pure Storage.

Singh was senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Cloud Management business unit, which includes vRealize and vCloud product suites, for the past six years. He helped scale VMware’s worldwide Cloud Management business from $1 billion to more than $2.1 billion over his tenure, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The 27-year technology veteran was responsible for delivering VMware’s cloud management vision and solutions for hybrid clouds to customers, according to his VMware leadership profile.

“I have had long-standing admiration for Pure and I could not be more eager to be a part of this world-class team,” said Singh in a statement. “Pure is rightfully a disruptor and an innovator, meeting customers where they are and enabling them on a path forward to transform their environments.”

[Related: VMware Lawsuit Against Nutanix CEO Cloud ‘Disrupt’ Strategy]

In a statement to CRN, VMware thanked Singh for his “passion and commitment” during his at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. VMware’s vice president, Purnima Padmanabhan, has been promoted into Singh’s role, according to the company.

In his new role at Pure Storage, Singh will be responsible for all of Pure’s business units as well as the Global Alliances team focused on developing technology partnerships.

Singh’s departure is the second top level cloud executive at VMware to recently leave the company.

Last month, VMware’s chief operating officer of Products and Cloud Services, Rajiv Ramaswami departed to become CEO of hybrid cloud software rival Nutanix. He was responsible for all business units developing products, cloud services and cloud operations for VMware.

VMware is now suing Ramaswami alleging “material and ongoing breaches” of his legal and contractual duties to VMware as he was being courted by Nutanix in late 2020.

One top sales executive from a solution provider who partners with VMware told CRN that losing two of its top cloud leaders within weeks of each other isn’t a good sign, but VMware has “a very deep bench.”

“Losing [Ramaswami] to Nutanix and now Singh to Pure is definitely a speed bump for VMware. There’s no doubt that those two were instrumental in VMware’s go-to-market and really their transition and focus shift to hybrid cloud products and partnerships in 2018, 2019,” said the executive who did not wish to be identified. “VMware thankfully does have a very deep bench of talent and executives who they can just pull-in to fill these positions. I’m not too worried about it.”

The executive said VMware sales for his company were up double-digits in 2020 with similar growth expected in 2021. However, with VMware doubling down on public cloud technology partnerships with market leaders like Amazon Web Services, he’s interested to see if VMware’s cloud strategy shifts in 2021.

“Is VMware’s cloud plans now changing again to make these guys leave, or did they just leave for the opportunity? I’m don’t know. But I’m going to keep close eye on all the cloud news coming out of VMware right now,” he said. “Singh leaving for Pure is one thing, but [Ramaswami] going to Nutanix is different because that’s someone who knows everything now in charge of your rival. … It’s an interesting start to the year for sure.”

Prior to VMware, Singh was senior vice president and General Manager of Hewlett Packard’s IT Operations Management Software Business. Before HP, he was the CEO of Elastic Intelligence, an infrastructure platform-as-a-service company that was acquired by Intuit. During his career, Singh also created and sold ProactiveNet to BMC. He has also held global leadership roles in services and marketing at Sun Microsystems.

“Pure continues to lead the storage industry in innovation, reliability and flexibility, and now delivering our technology as-a-service – increasing our relevance to both those who build infrastructure and those who build applications,” said Pure Storage CEO Charles Giancarlo in a statement. “In Ajay, we have exceptional talent to lead the continued expansion of Pure’s portfolio and I look forward to seeing his expertise in action.”

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