VMware's New Campus Overlooks EMC

There is nary a reference to parent EMC at VMware's new Palo Alto campus.

There is something missing from VMware's new campus on Hillview Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif.: any mention of the company's corporate parent, storage giant EMC.

Since EMC bought VMware in 2004 for $635 million, VMware has remained the most independent of subsidiaries in the larger company's portfolio. Diane Greene, a co-founder of the company, has retained her CEO title, and the company-and its campus-has kept the feel of a small startup with the hottest technology on the block. (Although VMware offered an IPO for 10 percent of its stock last year, EMC still controls about 87 percent of the company's common stock, effectively making EMC both its owner and largest investor.)

VMware keeps its name on most of the products. Other companies that have been acquired-think Hewlett-Packard absorbing Compaq or Citrix Systems buying XenSource-usually have their identities swallowed up by the new owners.

For Parag Patel, vice president of alliances for VMware, the issue of EMC's ownership has little relevance for customers. In the first days of the EMC ownership, Patel said he would "address the issue of the elephant in the room," but now that time has passed.

To keep the issues separate, Patel said that while VMware is always conscious of its ownership, the financial structure and day-to-day operations are treated as though VMware is still its own company.

In the end, while the campus is building VMware green credentials, the company's structure builds its credibility with something a little more important-customers.

"It's about credibility," Patel said. "They see that we work with NetApp and IBM storage as well as EMC, and that builds tremendous credibility. We really believe in the rules of engagement."

Open, light and "green"

The virtualization company so often associated with a greener solution, moved into its new quarters in the summer of 2007 with the notion of making it one of the greenest and most environmentally friendly corporate campuses around.

The VMware campus-created by renowned architectural firm William McDonough + Partners, known for its green designs-is a series of five buildings connected by walkways and makes use of open space and glass to bring in more light and allow for better air circulation. The result also gives the complex a sense of openness meant to develop camaraderie and communication among the virtualization giant's 5,000 employees.

The environmentally friendly effort stretches as far as the cafeteria, where healthy meals are served daily and even the utensils, which are made from potatoes, are biodegradable.

Greene helped design the campus and ensured that it was as green as possible.

As an added perk, Greene and her team even managed to place the new complex in the same area as the renowned Palo Alto Research Center building, which VMware employees refer to with the sort of reverence that a child shows to a grandfather.