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We want to modernize the datacenter: Sanjay Poonen, COO, VMware


“We are the backbone of making the datacenter more efficient by minimizing cost and complexities”, says Sanjay Poonen, Chief Operating Officer, Customer Operations at VMware. With a huge number of large scale government owned and public sector companies yet to be fully virtualized, India remains a key market for VMware

Some edited excerpts from the interview:

What kind of opportunities do you see from the Digital India initiative?

With Digital India, our aim is to put the power of mobility in as many people’s hands as possible. Because we’re going to mobilize the workers, as you can see even the ticket collector in Indian Railways isn’t going with paper, he simply scan the ticket with the mobile phone. We want to modernize the datacenter so that the companies can do a little more than cloud and become more efficient. Therefore under the banner of Digital India, our aim is to modernize the datacenter and take it to the cloud.

We pick the projects which have the most impact on the current and the future generation. So, for example classrooms will be an incredible place where you can see tremendous impact. The schools in the US were revolutionized to the maximum. Now, even Chromebooks are in, where we can seek partnership. Dell is already so strong in the laptop division so there is lots of ways in which we can use Chromebooks. We can absolutely help get every student some computer resource in the classroom so they can learn faster.

From an Indian context, enterprise mobility is one of the most talked about trends. What role can AirWatch play?

VMware AirWatch technology enables the enterprise to support every endpoint and every user from a single management console which in turn helps in ensuring enterprise security at every layer. AirWatch enhances mobile productivity by allowing employees to connect and work anytime, anywhere, on any device they choose. Approximately 200 million smartphones are being used by the employees of some or the other company where security always remains a big issue. VMware AirWatch powers VMware Workspace ONE, the integrated digital workspace platform.

How do you create synergy out of these recently announced partnerships at VMworld? What is the company’s vision in building partners?

For us, a partnership makes sense if it helps in building a solution for a joint customer and also opens up a market for both of us that didn’t exist before. So, why did we do the AWS deal? They are the leader in the public cloud; we are the leader in the private cloud. We also announced a partnership with HP as we are going to put AirWatch on their laptops. It will help them sell more laptops that are secure. The solution to secure is us, not somebody else. We put a joint revenue plan behind each of these and there is no separate revenue behind it. The enterprises like AirWatch because they want to be able to create a device as a service platform that can manage HP laptops, iPhones and Android tablets. My vision is that we appropriately get each of these partners to become very big because this is a VMware mandate and then there is joint revenue.

The future could be subscription revenue models, it could be license revenue models. You know it could be ones that focus on the datacenter, the ones that focus on devices. We’re not tethered to one business model versus the other. The key for us is to see an expansion of our software and their hardware or our software and their services because it has a customer proposition. The key question when we do something joint is what revenue growth does it hold for us. Can our best product articulate it?

How is the public cloud adoption in India shaping up ?

India is still fairly early if you think about it, and many of the customers are more in the frame of modernizing their data centres. Depending on where our customers are, the IT initiatives are typically run either on modernizing their data centres or integrating public clouds into their infrastructure. Very few of the customers are purely public cloud. Almost all the customers are on on-premise and are moving to the cloud at various stages. They care about providing a great mobile experience for the users and for their customers. Transforming networking and security is a very big trouble there. In India mostly what we see is people are still focused on the modernization aspect because the penetration of virtualization is still relatively low. Some of the large government owned companies, public sector companies that I have talked to are still not fully virtualized. So many of them are undergoing this significant modernization projects as a part of this digital transformation. For example, we are working with a fairly big bank in India on a very substantial project to transform thousands of their branches and modernize their entire banking experience. This includes developing new applications, their running virtual desktop infrastructure, so from a branch you run virtual desktop, in the branch you access everything stored everything centrally in the data centre and secure it. That’s a fairly big transformation project. There is no public cloud adoption yet. So that’s what I see mostly in India but over time public cloud services are going to be rapid. If you are a start-up and you are starting something probably you will be mostly using pubic cloud as a first time trying to do something on on-premise. So different companies are at different stages in terms of their public cloud adoption.

What are some of the other opportunities that you see in India?

The other opportunity in India is you have a number of system outsources and system integrators. Also, while customers may not be modernizing their data centres, they are working with VMware cloud provider partners in terms of having them run the infrastructure on On-premises or even run it inside their data sectors. For example, one of our SI partners has a template on how to build an offshore delivery centre using VMware technology. So if a company X goes to them and says they need an offshore delivery centre, they share the template. We have a lot of third party providers that actually use our stack and solutions to deploy and manage services for enterprises and customers. That portion of it is very common.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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