Last week I visited Beijing and had a whirlwind of a trip! The changes I saw in the Chinese IT market since I last visited were eye-opening and keep me enthusiastic about what VMware has to look forward to with our growing employee, customer, and partner base .

For some quick business context, VMware’s growth in China is driven by a strategy tailored for that region – we deliver local products with local partners that meet the local market requests. And wherever possible we are working to embed our products into local provider solutions. This strategy appears to be key to working with the China government, and has so far proven to be unique and successful.

My trip kicked off with a joint press conference with one of our key Chinese partners Inspur, to share details about our latest partnership news. The two companies will work together to provide Chinese customers with localized cloud solutions that consist of VMware’s cloud stack products packaged with Inspur solutions under the Inspur brand – with a goal of expanding the adoption of cloud in China. It’s great to see our partnership with Inspur strengthen as we work hand-in-hand to make cloud a reality. What’s great is that we’ve just replaced Xen as the component of their IaaS cloud offering as well.

I was also pleased to be keynoting the Bejing VMware Solutions Symposium, which is an event similar to our VMware Forum series. Hundreds of local customers and partners attended, and I shared VMware’s views on the Software-Defined Datacenter. I spoke about this concept earlier this month at Interop, and this is where the world is headed in terms of how IT operates and functions.  In a software-defined datacenter, customers have a full stack of data enter capabilities – storage, networking, compute, security, management – that look like software concepts. Customers are able to pull together all of their datacenter resources and allocate out as VDCs. Isolation is done in a safe way and all applications, including Hadoop, HPC and high-latency apps, can run extremely well in this environment. Ultimately customers end up with one platform that has fewer silos, which is of great benefit.

Attendees learning about the Software-Defined Datacenter
at 
the VMware Solution Symposium keynote

Next was an intimate CIO roundtable with VMware customers from various industries, co-led by David Sung (VMware President of Greater China region) and Yanbing Li (VP, CPD & Global Sites) and me. We spoke more about the Software-Defined Datacenter, where VMware is headed and how we provide value to our customers. We heard the audiences’ experiences and viewpoints around various topics including private cloud, BYOD, desktop virtualization and SaaS. Interestingly, the conversations we had in the roundtable resembled many that I have at other CIO events – customers are still diverse in terms of their virtualization and cloud adoption – some cutting edge and some just dipping their toes in the water. But it was great to hear their stories, questions and concerns and address what’s top of mind for folks as they figure out how cloud fits into their world. One thing I continue to reiterate is that the end state is compelling and you can get there in a series of steps. The journey depends on what state your company is in, and there’s no single path. I was energized to see that these Chinese customers are eager to learn more about cloud, figure out how they can mirror the IT transformations happening around them, and are looking to VMware to lead them on the cloud journey.

CIO roundtable

But that wasn’t the last of the keynotes! The next day I had the privilege of being a keynote speaker at the China Cloud Computing Conference (CCCC). This year’s event focused on driving cloud computing development, technology innovation and adoption, while showing the achievements of cloud computing in China, and exchanging experiences and methods for cloud practices. The conference was supported by various Chinese government departments and the Chinese Institute of Electronics, and it was fascinating to see how big of a participant the Chinese government was in this event. They’re making cloud an IT priority, making it a key aspect of their 12th 5 year plan. In addition to cloud, I was impressed to also see a heavy focus on Big Data. That topic continues to be a hot one as our CTO Richard McDougall has written about.

My talk at the CCCC again focused on the Software-Defined Datacenter. When finished I turned the floor over to Yanbing Li to talk about how VMware China is making the Software-Defined Datacenter a reality. VMware has over 500+ in our China R&D organization, with teams driving the future of cloud with the great work they’re doing around VXLAN (Software Defined Networking and Security), vCenter Operations (Management for the Software Defined Datacenter) and vShield Edge (Software Defined Security).

I closed out the trip with my favorite part of the visit – spending time with the local engineering team. VMware has an extremely talented set of employees in China and it was great to hear more about their contributions to the VMware portfolio across all three layers – Cloud Infrastructure & Management, End User Computing and Cloud Application Platform – with key projects like View Mobile Client, Zimbra, Cloud Foundry, vHadoop, VXLAN, SMB-Mozy, and much more. VMware China is growing tremendously and it’s great to have such talented technologists in our R&D organization.

Cloud is alive and growing in China, and I’m already looking forward to my next trip!