"Brave" is the current watchword for virtualization software giant VMware.
"Brave leaders need to be thoughtful, decisive, bold," said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger to the audience of over 22,000 at VMworld conference in San Francisco Monday this week, or who were listening in by webcast.
"Life is defined by the brave acts that we take," Gelsinger said, in an unusually philosophical stance for a keynote. He mentioned the bravery of Elon Musk, who is taking on the entire automobile industry with his Tesla electric cars.
VMware estimates that only 6 percent of the world's computations are taking place in the cloud, so to enjoy the benefits that the cloud brings, IT administrators and management have to take some bold, brave steps. Doing so will ultimately give them the "liquidity" they need to remain flexibility as their businesses evolve, Gelsinger said.
But bravery is also needed within VMware itself, Gelsinger admitted. "We are going through our brave journey," he said.
"Every day I challenge [VMware's 6,000 engineers] to disrupt, to transform, to innovate, to enable value to our customers in new and powerful ways," Gelsinger said. "I will hold VMware accountable to be brave."
With more than 500,000 customers and 75,000 partners, the company has generated US$5.12 billion in revenue in fiscal 2013 by helping companies virtualize their workloads, which sets the stage for moving operations to the cloud.
But the field is awash with popular new cloud technologies that are not of VMware's making, such as Docker and OpenStack. VMware must race to stay on top of these new developments and convince its enterprise customers that it is not merely a virtualization software company, but a company that offers cloud software and services.
"VMware is trying to lead the faithful into the future, but they face an enormous challenge to win the new, agile IT projects of the future, rather than simply bringing greater efficiency to traditional IT," said Lydia Leong, a Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst covering cloud computing, in an email.
Many of VMware's recent announcements reflect the company's embracing of the outside.
The company has released its own OpenStack distribution, which can run on the company's vSphere platform.
The company is working with Docker to bring Docker virtualization technology to vSphere as well, even though Docker, like OpenStack, provides an alternative to VMware's own cloud stack.
It is also working with Google to make Google's Kubernetes' resource scheduling tool work nicely on top of vSphere. And it is working with EMC subsidiary Pivotal, which was launched with many of VMware's cloud technologies, and Docker to merge Docker capabilities with VMware's container platform, Warden.
Such partnerships will allow VMware to offer customers a single unified and professional-grade stack for running cloud operations, Gelsinger said.
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