VMware's Long View of Cloud Transformation May Be Too Conservative

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2016-09-03 Print this article Print

VICs enable VMware to give customers container functionality if they want it and to run containers in a familiar environment without radical surgery to data centers. Karthik Narayan, senior product manager for VMware's Cloud-Native Apps group, argues that despite the rhetoric around what constitutes a true container environment, container-based applications can live in VMs.

"If you look at containerized workloads out there today, the vast majority are already running on VMs [in public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure]," Narayan said. "We want to stay within the zone of success and apply that experience to the new world."

One major customer echoed that sentiment. "The reality is most of our folks are trained and experts on specific technologies, VMware being one of them," said Marriott International Senior Vice President Alan Rosa. "We know it's going to work, and when we've ventured too far onto the wild side we have had 'interesting' results."

Partner Priorities

The VMware ecosystem remains large and vibrant, a point accentuated by Michael Dell during his brief appearance on stage. What is obvious, however, is that VMware is no longer the only option for partners when it comes to the cloud.

VMware will need work fast to persuade customers who do want to work in containers to give VICs a try, a point made by software-defined storage partner Nexenta. "The container push has already started," said Nexenta CEO Tarkan Maner. "Application developers are already there, building in containers."

IBM is also helping VMware's push. The two companies expanded their relationship here with the announcement of making Cloud Foundation services available on IBM SoftLayer along with programs to help users migrate.

VMware, like so many "legacy" IT vendors, is in a race against time. How much time is the question. At the annual "Titans of Tech" ask-the-experts session this week, the subject of time came up. "What will be the big things we will be talking about here in three to five years?" an attendee asked.

Chad Sakac, president of EMC's VCE unit, had the answer. "Three to five years from now we will be talking about the maturity of technologies now on the fringe," he said. "For the bigger game changers, you will have to look 10 to 20 years out."

We won't have to wait that long to see if VMware is right.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.



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