VMware Optimistic On Its Future and Direction

by Aron Raj, DSA Journalist

After our group interview session with Sanjay Poonen, VMware COO, at VMworld 2019, I made my way back to my hotel to file this story. Coincidentally, we walked into the same elevator. Here’s a man who is very direct in his approach to answers, and he looked at me and asked, “What’s your key takeaway from the interview just now?”

Sanjay Poonen, VMware COO

So, here are the key takeaways from my interview with him:

Kubernetes and OpenShift  

On Kubernetes, Sanjay said if everyone is contributing to open-source Kubernetes, it’s a good thing. The open-source community has a way of selecting who is good and who is bad. All of this will allow VMware to have a mainstream movement.
“But that said, when it comes to a packaged offering for container platforms, we think we have the best strategy. We will be differentiated from OpenShift and have a lot more potential to take Kubernetes into our core platform, vSphere compared to OpenShift on the Linux. This is because there is a lot more desire in the virtual machine. But if our customer picks OpenShift, we will support them. We will run OpenShift on top of vSphere. It’s the same with Google Anthos. We will support Anthos on top of VMware.”

Public Cloud Partnerships

“We go where our customers are going. AWS, Google and Azure dominate the public cloud market. We see them in our customer base proportionate to their market share. We seek to build good relationships with everybody. We have a few competitors and many partners. At the end of the day, customers make their choices, and we will push what’s right for them, and sometimes they have made the public cloud choice before we get there.”

Alibaba Cloud

“We signed a partnership with Alibaba Cloud last year. We wanted to tell the customer that we believe Alibaba is a strong player in China and we’re committed to long-term partnerships there. Our efforts are a bit further in the US with the public clouds, but there is more interest in VMware on-premise in China. Despite all the issues, our China business grew. A lot of the hardware companies are declining in their business in China.”
While this is mostly on-premises spending, Sanjay believes in the future, Alibaba is going to be a major force not only in China but in Southeast Asia too, like in Malaysia and Indonesia, but not Singapore as AWS is ahead in Singapore.
“That means we will need to have our presence wherever Alibaba is successful. They are not strong in the US and western markets. We will balance appropriate partners in the west and appropriate partners in the east.”

Artificial Intelligence

“We will be strong players in AI, but we will not be inventing algorithms. Instead, we will be using existing great algorithms and the science by researchers on data that we collect. AI algorithms will only get better if we train them on more data. The more data we collect, not personal information but threat information and analysing it, this will be a huge opportunity. We are only at the beginning of that journey.”


Going back to my quick conversation with Sanjay in the elevator, I told him it’s VMware’s commitment to Alibaba Cloud and China. Sanjay looked at me, smiled and said, “Whoever wins, VMware will never lose.”

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