VMworld 2021

VMware Innovation on Display at VMworld 2021

At VMworld this year, we laid out our multi-cloud, modern apps strategy. It represents a huge opportunity for VMware, our customers, and our partners. But there is a lot of work to do. As VMware’s new CTO, I’m really looking forward to diving into these opportunities to help VMware accelerate our momentum as a cross-cloud services company and enable our customers in this multi-cloud world.

Coming in as CTO, it was a lot of fun to participate in the Vision and Innovation track keynote with Chris Wolf, our Chief Research and Innovation Officer, where we showed demos of some very cool technologies we’re working on in our research and innovation labs. I particularly appreciate how the team has worked to align our research and innovation efforts with our business strategy.

Each one of the projects we demonstrated has a VMware business-unit stakeholder who is ready to take the technology when it’s ready and productize it. For example, included in the presentation was Project Radium, which enables a powerful new architecture for ML apps. It has now officially graduated into our Cloud Infrastructure Business Group and the team is working to incorporate it into future releases.

If you hadn’t had a chance to watch this keynote, please check it out, along with the entire Vision and Innovation track!

Connecting with customers

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It was great to take part in the Executive Summit at VMworld event this year. The Summit was a small, in-person event for a select set of customers. (We focused on U.S. customers only because of potential international travel restrictions.) We met for a day and a half of discussions, and it was really inspiring being back in person again. I especially enjoyed the unstructured times such as breakfasts and lunches. I forgot how enjoyable it can be to engage in the random conversations you strike up around the table. I was able to talk about VMware strategy, learn from customers about their pain points, and meet some new people.

I also moderated a panel discussion about driving transformation through the pandemic. A tip from one of the panelists that resonated with me was that you can drive change through gamification. By gamifying — creating leaderboards with prizes and the like — you can help nudge behavior in the direction you want. I’m going to think about how we can do more of that within VMware!

Multi-cloud, cross-cloud, and beyond

I am very excited about VMware’s broader focus on multi-cloud and modern apps. There were so many announcements on this front, it’s hard to keep track of them. Obviously, the biggest one was VMware Cross-Cloud Services. This is a broad announcement and I look at it as essentially defining a new architecture and point of view. Fundamentally, VMware wants to provide great capabilities and functionality that spans all locations — public cloud, datacenter, and the edge — giving customers unprecedented flexibility in how and where they consume these services. The Solution Keynotes are a great way to familiarize yourself with many of the announcements. I particularly liked the DevSecOps, Multi-Cloud, and Security keynotes — and yes, I’m biased, as I was in the Multi-Cloud one!

Keeping security secure

One of the things I think is particularly cool is how the breadth of technology we have at VMware can come together in very powerful and unique ways. Consider security — where VMware can provide a strong defense-in-depth security solution.

VMware Workspace One provides secure connectivity to enterprise apps, reducing the ability for compromised end-user devices to impact enterprise assets. VMware Carbon Black Cloud can manage those enterprise endpoints and scan for threats and vulnerabilities. Over the past 90 days, Carbon Black Cloud has stopped over one million ransomware attacks! VMware NSX and VMware Tanzu Service Mesh enable dynamic network-security policy, limiting the spread of any potentially compromised servers or apps. Finally, if a ransomware attack is somehow able to get around all these measures and is successful in encrypting some important data, rather than paying the hackers to decrypt the data, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery can be used to restore a snapshot from before the encryption occurred. And with the new feature of single file restore, we make it even easier. This is just one of many examples of how VMware technologies can come together to make a truly powerful solution to meet current challenges facing our customers.

Inspiring change

I’m also excited and proud of all who attended and participated in our “Inspire Change” track at VMworld, which helped opened attendees’ eyes to new ideas and ways of thinking. We learned how to help develop an organization that supports professional development; advances diversity, equity and inclusion; and fosters environmental, social, and governance impact. And each participant at VMworld this year contributed to our environmental sustainability efforts, as we planted a tree for every non-employee attendee.

Looking ahead

VMworld 2021 was a special one for me in many ways. Special because it was my first one as VMware CTO. Special because it was my first in-person conference (for events like the Executive Summit mentioned above) since COVID-19 shut down everything last year. And special because it represents the shift to the third chapter of VMware’s journey — our focus on multi-cloud and modern apps.

I’m looking forward to VMworld next year, where hopefully — if all goes well — we’ll all be back in person, learning, discussing, and innovating together.


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