3 Bits of Advice for VMware
Humble suggestions for keeping the company on course.
I didn't weigh in on our cover story this month, in which our group of writers advise VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger what things he should announce onstage at VMworld 2016. But I'm happy to offer up my thoughts on the company's direction here.
The first thing I'd do is encourage Gelsinger to stay with the company. There was a substantial rumor in the media that the CEO was looking to step down, and might even announce it at VMworld. I think this would be a mistake. Not only is Gelsinger a good leader, and well-regarded within the company, but leaving in the midst of this huge transition from being owned by EMC to being under Dell's wing would further confuse what is sure to be a severely muddled transition anyway. Integrations of this scale are never smooth.
The second thing I'd recommend is that VMware stay away from hardware. The hyper-convergence ascension is real, and VMware needs to be there; but as a supplier of the software-defined plumbing, not having a hand in the hardware. EVO:RAIL was a colossal bust that never reached the end of the runway, let alone get off the ground in the hyper-convergence marketplace. Let's hope the company learned a lesson from that. Apple is one of the very few business that's managed to be successful doing both hardware and software. And VMware ain't Apple.
Finally, VMware should avoid being the company of lock-in. Pretty much every IT pro nowadays works in a heterogeneous environment, using a bit of this and a bit of that to run operations. Going with a full, end-to-end VMware stack just isn't going to happen. Microsoft realized this, and succeeded wildly, when it opened up Azure to non-Windows OSes. Now you can run basically anything you want on Azure, which is exactly how VMware should think about its platform. It won't lose business doing this; instead, it will gain tons of new customers.
See you at VMworld 2016. Make sure you say Hi if you see me.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.