‘In a cloud you need to re-structure your IT organization’
After Paul Maritz, as the new CEO what new will you bring to the table at VMware? Or will you just be pushing your predecessors plans?
It is not that VMware has a problem. Paul has given VMware a solid strategy and the company is in a very good state. So job one for me—smooth transition. Actually Paul has spoken to employees, customers, and partners, and so have I. And everybody is saying, “Very good, let’s get back to work”. Also since the company is performing well, so far everything including the transition has been pretty good. It’s not like the Marissa Mayer of Qahoo! who has to transform the company. Those are hard situations and they have to take some bold actions. In our case, there are aspects that will require strong focus. We have laid out a very bold vision like the software defined data center, the new company that we have acquired which needs to be operationalized, the 3-layer transition (from PCs to user devices, from office applications to new apps and big data, and from servers to cloud) that needs more refinement. Paul in many respects was a reluctant CNO. He loved strategies, he loved technology, and directions, but he was not an operations guy. VMware is a company of 13,000 people, an operations pervade everything we do. VMware is like a clumsy adolescent that has grown up too fast. As a company it had extraordinary growth but some of the operation disciplines and maturity need more work. That has to be refined, accelerated, and made more mature.
Since you are talking so much about the need, as the new CEO, to focus on ops, what are those specific areas that need special attention?
For instance, we have laid out our vision on software defined data centers. It is a good and bold vision, and we are all excited about it. For that strategy we announced vCloud Suite that requires packaging and delivering all its components including common interface, single-sign on, upgrade policies, and all that is a big engineering task. Similarly, there are so many other offerings with so many different components that have to be packaged together for our partners and customers. We are now trying to convert into single
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product offering. For all this a lot of engineering and operational discipline will be required.
CIOs are now getting disillusioned with cloud, specially because of its promise to bring down costs. CIOs believe that with cloud you only shift costs from capex to opex. Actually they are saying that cloud is more expensive. How do you plan to convince them?
I would agree with some part of the statement and disagree with some. If you see virtualization as a precursor to cloud, where one server has replaced 4 servers, then we have clearly shown the huge advantage. Opex improvements are far more operationally dependent. If I keep all the people operating in the same way as they were operating in a silo structure, how can they be operationally efficient, because under cloud the structure is changed. Narlier there was a database team that owned database hardware and processes, and HPC team that ran and owned all HPC hardware, the networking team, and the apps team, and so on. They were all working in silos. But in a cloud environment you need to fundamentally re-structure your infrastructure team. Here no one will carry a networking designation, and everybody will be part of this infrastructure team. So you need to re-organize the team and set up new disciplines to take advantage of the cloud architecture. That is why one of the key announcements we have done is Cloud Ops IP that will help organizations in building, operating, staffing, and measuring public and private cloud infrastructure.