VMworld Europe 2016: VMware Offers Clouds, Clarity and Containers

VMworld Europe 2015 and 2016 both started with big news breaking before the event began. While it may seem like the news before the 2015 edition was bigger, VMware will certainly hope that it’s the pre-2016 news that is of much greater importance to the business going forward.

It was early October 2015 when news broke that Dell was buying EMC, VMware’s majority shareholder. The news cast a shadow over VMworld Europe 2015, with many partners, customers and other attendees uncertain over what the deal would mean for VMware.

Cast a shadow

That the following few days brought some rather muddled messages from the company, particularly when it came to its cloud strategy, didn’t help the situation.

The big news before this year’s event, however, was that VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), previously rivals of course, announced a partnership that will see VMware cloud services available on AWS infrastructure.

Sanjay Poonen, head of global marketing and general manager of end-user computing, admitted that last year’s messages weren’t very clear.

“I was very gratified speaking to people after [the day one] keynote [this year], as last year they’d said our cloud strategy had seemed cloudy, but here we’ve heard a very crisp explanation of how VMware’s proposition plays out in an increasingly public cloud world,” he said during his keynote.

Business as usual

The hope for VMware is that it’s news like the AWS deal that give a clearer indication of the future direction of the company, rather than what may be happening to its parent company. Executives at this year’s event were keen to stress that it’s business as usual. That’s despite the first Dell EMC World event taking place at the same time, 5,000 miles away in Austin, Texas.

In fact, the message from VMware at the event echoed what EMEA CTO Joe Baguely told TechWeekEurope recently.

“From a functional level, down at the VMware level, nothing changes,” he said. “It just means our majority investor is now Dell, as opposed to EMC. We’ll still be very independent, as we were from EMC.”

And the messaging around strategy did seem much clearer; the company knows what direction the industry is moving in and its position within that digital transformation. Opening up the conference, CEO Pat Gelsinger said that while many vendors in the industry are pushing a battle between traditional and digital, VMware has other ideas.

He described the notion of being part of either the “cool new digital” era or the “old, clunky traditional business” era as “nonsense.” Instead companies need to establish which strategy best suits them. Increasingly that means adopting a hybrid cloud architecture. That gives companies the benefit of a public cloud with the peace of mind a private cloud provides.

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Steve Evans

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