I’m at Dell Technologies World this week and sitting in the audience of Pat Gelsinger’s keynote. He is focused on VMware ONE and how it is improving the user experience. Pat is the CEO that I’ve always thought should be running Intel and—given the massive number of mistakes that Intel’s current CEO has made—I’ll bet there are a few Intel board members that wish he was there and not on stage here. Having said that, for us, it might be better that Pat be at VMware because his PC roots got him focused on improving the way we work and what his firm is accomplishing couldn’t have been done at Intel.
What is also interesting is this Workspace One effort fills a huge strategic gap at Dell Technologies. You see, Dell once tried to go into the smartphone market but got burned badly and walked away from this segment. But, given smartphones are computers—and more prevalent than PCs—this move created a huge gap in Dell’s coverage. But VMware has embraced smartphones as part of their coverage, so Dell no longer has this organizational hole because VMware has closed it with their Workspace One effort.
Let’s talk about how strategic this is and why it is an impressive showcase of what VMware and Dell can do together.
VMware Workspace One
This is a broad offering that that allows VMware to deliver a management platform to deliver and manage applications across every major platform—including Apple platforms. But this also includes a growing list of IoT platforms with a long-term vision of covering every device and every application that might run on it.
This takes a trusted vendor—Vmware—that largely exists outside of the major platforms and places them at the center of fixing the massive problem of managing all of the complexity of the platform vendors and blanketing this problem, so it isn’t IT’s problem anymore. On the face of it, this would be a god send.
Pivotal Container Service
This is a container service targeting developers so that they can create and deliver apps on a single portable platform. This is really VMware’s strength. It was largely created as a solution to the problem created by companies like Intel who were constantly changing hardware and driving developers nuts in the process. VMware brought to market a strong virtual machine which allowed developers to create a relatively static, hardware independent platform that dealt directly with the aggravation the hardware platform companies were driving into the market. Ironically, even though Pat Gelsinger doesn’t work for Intel any longer, his firm’s job is largely to fix a problem that Intel primarily created.
One of Dell’s most powerful hardware platforms is VXRail. This is at the heart of what was one of the most successful hyper-converged solutions in the market. According to Pat, VMware’s vSAN is the most successful in the market and it doesn’t just enhance Dell’s solutions but solutions from companies like IBM and Fujitsu as well.
This is being positioned as the ultimate hybrid cloud. To demonstrate this, they used a virtual reality headset but, sadly, Pat wore it and they were not distributed to us. Virtual reality (VR) isn’t that much fun if you aren’t wearing the headset yourself. It is always nice to see a company use the technology they sell on stage as part of the presentation and the us of VR to showcase a technology was impressive. It just seemed strange they used an HTC VR headset and not a Dell VR headset on stage, which is odd. It did suggest a future where IT managers might manage a diverse hybrid set of server and storage assets virtually with a VR implementation. I continue to be amazed that while VR was initially focused on a consumer market that never really emerged, the business focused use for this technology is advancing more quickly and provides a utility that more easily allows a business unit to buy the hardware than a consumer.
The Virtual Cloud Network
This is more of a vision and this vision anticipates a ubiquitous network transitioning on-premise and off-premise cross vendor solutions based on software which will redefine future hybrid networks. They are developing this through an acquisition—VeloCloud—which has the NSX SD-WAN solution. Called a Virtual Cloud network and completing VMware’s current anticipated major product set.
While this presentation was more product focused than the vision focus I personally think keynotes should focus on, it conveyed the impressive power of VMware and its powerful place inside the Dell Technologies family of companies. But my biggest pleasure is again seeing Pat Gelsinger on stage and thinking what if he had stayed at Intel and wondering how much better the whole ecosystem would be had he stayed and become CEO. That wasn’t in the cards and it is fascinating to note that the work he is doing at VMware may be having a far bigger impact on the market than he likely every could have done at Intel.
Sometimes the road not traveled is the one you should have avoided. Pat’ success at VMware and his firm’s positive impact on removing IT complexity and making distributed, multi-platform, hybrid environments, increasingly better defined by software and far easier to use and manage illustrate that. Swisscom and Telstra executives came on the stage as powerful advocates indicating VMware’s solution was critical to their technology infrastructure.
For me it was just nice to see Pat again.