10 Trends On The Radar Of VMware CEO Paul Maritz

Long March To The Cloud

As tech industry CEOs go, VMware's Paul Maritz is as unassuming as they come. In lieu of bombastic statements, Maritz exudes a quiet yet steely resolve, and in this way he's the perfect CEO for a company that has become more synonymous with virtualization than any other company on the planet.

VMware is now trying parlay success in virtualization into cloud computing dominance. VMware's mid-July cloud infrastructure stack update is a major inflection point that is putting it into perspective for customers and partners, and Maritz is helping to defog the parts of the strategy that still aren't clear.

The march to the cloud won't happen overnight, but Maritz is sending a strong message that the road is now paved and there are no technical barriers standing in the way. The following comments are culled from a recent sit-down interview CRN conducted with the VMware CEO, as well as from VMware's cloud launch event in San Francisco.

On The Consumerization Of IT

"Businesses can't stop these new consumer driven devices from getting into people's hands. On the other hand, they're still going to be on the hook to make sure that they're operating in a secure and compliant environment, and that their information doesn't get compromised by a hacked version of Angry Birds and transmitted to Turkmenistan, or whatever it is.

So there's a real challenge here. You want to allow users to get access to all the great stuff that's coming out of the consumer world and still maintain a secure and compliant environment. "

On Tackling Cloud Fears

"Cloud is still an issue where people still don’t quite know what it's going to mean for their organization, in terms of how to manage IT, structure internal IT departments, etc. This is an issue that we increasingly have to come to grips with as we talk to our customers and explain to them that there are different ways to think about this. My sense is that cloud is where virtualization was four or five years ago. We're going to see the same cycle play through."

On VMware's Cloud Infrastructure Launch

"The journey is to allow customers to create a big pool of infrastructure and put applications on top. They then get allocated and moved around. Customers care about applications, not infrastructure.

In some sense this cloud infrastructure is the new hardware. These are enormous efforts, not for the faint of heart. At end of the day, if this is truly to become the new hardware, people want to be able to put it in and have it work."

On VMware's Hybrid Cloud Strategy

"We need an option for customers to buy infrastructure on a rental basis. We need the flexibility to take apps from the private cloud and slide them out to public cloud. To make sure that becomes a business decision, you need to work with the service provider community, so that when you slide in and out, things behave the same way inside the PC as they do in the public cloud.

The last couple years, VMware has been working closely with the service provider community to enable them to have complementary functions to what customers will have in the private cloud. VMware has 2000 service providers transacting off of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) rental model."

On Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service

"What we're also trying to do for new applications is to get those applications to run well in a vSphere environment. We also want to be able to make money by selling new capabilities to developers of those applications. Specifically, we've targeted people who are writing their apps in these new modern programming frameworks, like Spring, Ruby, Node.js, et cetera.

Our view is that there's a new generation of developers who will be building a new generation of applications, and we're trying to accommodate them on our platform and also have the business opportunity. Enabling that developer is the second tier of what we’ve been doing with Cloud Foundry."

On The Importance Of vCenter Management

"People want infrastructure just to go away. That means we have to handle it at a level where it becomes a guaranteed utility. As you create bigger pools, the custodians of infrastructure are going to know less about it. We can't manage data center on an individual silo basis any more. You need a different way of knowing that the infrastructure is healthy."

On VMware's SMB Strategy

"SMB is where we've created products like vSphere Essentials and taken our price points down specifically to target that area. And we've seen pretty dramatic unit growth down there, all of which is going into the SMB market. It's not like Microsoft is going to get zero percent market share, but I think they're probably surprised with how resilient we've been."

On Mobile Device Virtualization

"The advantage of virtualization is that it provides an absolute firewall. The problem is, when you’re cramming everything onto one device, and users are installing apps there from unknown sources, it's very hard for the enterprises to be assured that their world isn't being infected by the consumer's personal world. And virtualization is a very strong firewall to wall those two things off. That's why people are interested in it."

On Automation In The Cloud

"Customers are no longer using our software for server consolidation; now it's about how they do their computing to get additional reliability, availability and efficiency, and all that stuff's baked into the products. That isn't something you bolt on afterwards."

On The VMware-Microsoft Relationship

"Our customers have a lot of Microsoft products, and our products clearly have to work together with theirs in these environments. Both organizations, Microsoft and VMware, are mature enough to know that that has to happen, and neither of us will look good if we're doing things that prevent the interoperability that customers want.

We compete fiercely with Microsoft, but this is not a blood feud. It's genuine competition, realizing that you have to be governed by the fact that customers won't accept not passing information between the two of us."