Hyperconverged Infrastructure is a big growth opportunity in India: Rajiv Ramaswami, VMware
VMware is transitioning itself into a multi-cloud company with the availability of its products on multiple cloud and hosting environments (IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and AWS). Today, it is positioning itself to be a firm that can help enterprises seamlessly move workloads from on-premise platforms to multiple cloud platforms. Rajiv Ramaswami – Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services – VMware, shares his perspective on how VMware is capitalizing on its existing strengths while moving forward in new directions.
Some edited excerpts:
From VMware’s point of view, what have been some of the key milestones in the past one year?
We are on the journey to help our customers to migrate to the hybrid cloud and the native public cloud. We provide the same consistent infrastructure and the same software stack. This is called the VMware software stack or VMware Cloud Foundation. Both are on-premise as well as public cloud. If you look at the progress over the last year, the VMware cloud foundation is becoming more and more mainstream. Many of our customers are now building large scale private clouds with the VMware Cloud Foundation.
On the public cloud side and with the availability of AWS globally, we have expanded into a number of regions today. We have also announced other cloud providers using VMware’s stack to deliver compatible services. The most recent one was Azure. Alibaba is also in the works. So essentially we are on this journey is towards making this available towards all major providers. IBM is already in. On the other front, when it comes to multi-cloud management, we are helping our customers operate on these multiple clouds. We are providing visibility and usage monitoring of these public clouds which then can lead to cost and resource optimization. We also released cloud automation services to automate service and delivery of workloads across native multiple clouds. These were the major developments over the last year.
Which have been some of the big growth areas?
Hybrid cloud is the biggest business impacting business because again we have several thousand customers on premise using VMware Vscale products. There is a huge opportunity to upgrade many of our customers to these cloud environments and the customers themselves are driven. In India, we are seeing many of the big banks building private clouds, and this is the first step in their hybrid cloud journey. This is a big huge opportunity.
How do you see opportunities panning out in network and storage virtualization?
Network virtualization is a billion dollar business for us now. Overall, the market is close to 50 billion dollar and this includes hardware. Over a period of time, the hardware is going to be more and more commoditized and software will take more a far more important role. So I think we have the opportunity to go and aim for a bigger slice of this market. Additionally, as the market expands, and more use cases are published, the opportunity will be much bigger.
The biggest way to think about this ultimately is that one must understand that this is about connecting and protecting applications. People want to run their applications all over the place; the users are coming from everywhere and data is sitting everywhere. The job of the network is to connect all of these in a secure way and fundamentally that’s the role of the virtualization in virtual cloud networking. This is almost independent, so overlay of network is hardware and frankly you don’t control hardware anymore so you have the hardware that you can run in your data center but once it goes under the cloud, the only way we can manage and connect all of these is through an overlay virtualized network. So fundamentally, all networking function that is being done in hardware will get down to software in this multi cloud world extending out to the branch. Fundamentally connectivity, security, application delivery and load balancing will be part of the network.
Take a big use case which can be provided by SD-WAN. It can provide for the first partial replacement of MPLS, when SD-WAN can provide branch office connectivity through broadband Internet. But it is not just about cost savings which is its immediate ROI. This is also about capability for connectivity to cloud. The traffic doesn’t need to go to from the branch to the data centers which happens today. It can directly go to the cloud. Additionally, an enterprise gets simplification of management and operation and the ability to deploy hundreds and thousands of nodes using an automated process. If you take all these factors into account, the value proposition of SD WAN is compelling.
When you talk about the data center being virtualized completely, how far are we in the journey purely from an adoption perspective?
Today, we have many customers who virtualized servers, we have 20 thousand customers who have virtualized storage and we have ten thousand customers who have virtualized networking. For storage and networking, the growth has been amazing when you look at the last five years. It is like a hockey stick. It has been a pretty phenomenal growth over these few years.
How do you see the growth opportunity from alliances like AWS?
I think the opportunity is very significant for the enterprise customers. Many of them are on the journey to build on the private cloud. These customers are looking at ways to extend it to the public cloud. The first use case is data center migration or consolidation. Enterprises have multiple data centers, so they are trying to consolidate some of the data centers. From a diversity perspective, one of these data centers can be replaced by a data center in the cloud. This is exactly the case with one of our customers Freddie Mac, Freddie Mac is a large secondary mortgage firm in the United States and a third of US mortgage goes through them. The firm had multiple data centers and all of them were in the Washington DC area. From a business continuity plan perspective, one cannot have everything in one place. They chose the VMware AWS combination. The firm has 600 applications of which half are being upgraded to this point into the cloud and once you go to the cloud you can go to multiple zones.
Specific to India, what are some of the big opportunities?
The immediate opportunity for us I would say on the cloud side is hyper converged infrastructure. Enterprises are deploying hyper converged infrastructure on a large scale basis, and I think the market is growing fast in India. Increasingly, we also see that the enterprises that deploy hyper converged infrastructure see it as a path to private cloud. The next logical step to this is the hybrid cloud. This is a clear significant opportunity for us in terms of adoption and deployment. Then, there are big opportunities in the mobile payments space.
Your view on AI and its relevance to your strategy?
In many of our products, we are using machine learning and AI. Today, we have a proactive support model where we get elementary data from our customers. We process this data and we proactively recommend insights from this data to our customers using AI. For example, we may tell some customers to watch out for certain factors while upgrading to a particular version, the kind of configuration that they must be doing, and the particular patch that they must apply. We also use AI to improve our products. For example, if an application is running decently in 100 customer environments, and only in one IT environment, its performance is not good. We know for sure, that there is a problem. AI can help us identify these hidden patterns. AI is now being embedded into a lot of products today.
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