VMware’s top three 2019 priorities are NSX, cloud, and containers, and in that order, according to CEO Pat Gelsinger.
“If we come out of next year and let people really see us in lead in those domains, score,” he said, during his keynote at the Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference.
The company has taken steps over the last year to stretch its network virtualization from the data center to the edge and the cloud, adding SD-WAN from its VeloCloud acquisition and support for vSphere-private clouds, native Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) workloads, and VMware Cloud on AWS.
Last month at VMworld Europe the company supercharged its container play. It updated Cloud Foundation, its hybrid cloud stack, with new Kubernetes support. VMware also announced a new integration with IBM Cloud’s managed Kubernetes service. And it’s buying Heptio, a startup whose founders co-created Kubernetes while working at Google.
With that acquisition “VMware has jumped to the front of the line in container technology,” Gelsinger said at the Barclays event.
He also said the relationship with Amazon Web Services, first announced in 2016, was a defining moment for VMware. At the time, share prices were down, and investors weren’t convinced that VMware’s software-defined infrastructure would be relevant in a cloudy world. Gelsinger, however, continued to preach hybrid-cloud.
“The Amazon relationship was the single thing that cause that spark that people said, ‘oh, you are part of the cloud, the multi-cloud, the hybrid-cloud future,” Gelsinger said. “That was the one thing that caused people to shift.”
Fast forward to today and the partners have launched VMware Cloud on AWS, which allows VMware customers to run their workloads in the public cloud using their existing VMware software stack. This summer they rolled out Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) on VMware. This new service allows customers to deploy the public cloud-native database in their on-premises VMware-based data centers.
And at the recent AWS re:Invent, the companies announced AWS Outposts — AWS branded servers running in customers’ on-premises data centers. This could hurt legacy hardware vendors like Dell Technologies, which owns 81 percent of VMware and next week is about to make its relationship with VMware even tighter by buying up VMware tracking stock.
So what does Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell (aka Gelsinger’s boss) think about VMware getting cozy with AWS in the data center?
“Michael sees that publicly if it’s good for VMware, it’s good for Dell Tech,” Gelsinger said. “Because how much benefit does Michael get from the Amazon relationship? Approximately zero. How much value does Michael get from the outpost announcement? Negative. He gets a new hardware competitor.”