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VMware CTO: Adapt, enable choice, or die

Brandon Butler | Nov. 6, 2012
To some outsiders looking in, VMware has gone through quite a change recently by purchasing two companies, embracing OpenStack enabling multi-cloud support. CTO Steve Herrod says it's all part of the broader plan.

OOPS: Board member says letting VMware into OpenStack was a mistake

NW: Some consider OpenStack a competitor to vSphere on the private side and vCloud Director on the public side. So how do you balance your work in the OpenStack community?

Herrod: I think there's been a lot of discussion around that but it's pretty simple from our point of view: If you want to use OpenStack, we want vSphere to be the best possible way to do it. We absolutely compete in some aspects. vCloud Director competes on the public and private cloud side, but we have competition and cooperation across the entire stack that we work in, so I don't see any ambiguity in how we can enable both of those. We integrate our tools with BMC, CA and others. It's a messy heterogeneous world, and it's really hard to make that work well, but our heritage is getting into the middle of that mess and making it simpler.

NW: As a final question, here at EmTech, MIT's Emerging Technology conference, there's a lot of talk about new technologies that could be game-changers, especially for legacy tech vendors. How do you see the state of the startup community and emerging technologies that are evolving now?

Herrod: At VMworld in San Francisco we had more than 250 companies on the floor, with about half of them startups and the other half well-established companies. What's really cool is that the startups are creating their entire products and companies off of VMware deployments. That's the kind of thing that we completely embrace, whether it's in storage or networking. But I think our biggest worry is the guy in the garage doing something disruptive that we haven't thought of yet, rather than the market that's out there. So we continually do internal development and startups within VMware. We have to sort of always be paranoid, which we are, to make sure we're not complacent at all.



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