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VMware PEX 2014 highlights software-defined enterprise

VMware execs lay out their vision for the software-defined enterprise at VMware PEX 2014, projecting a $50B market opportunity in 2016.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The rally cry on Day 1 of VMware PEX 2014 here yesterday was all about the software-defined enterprise: what it is; why VMware is making bold moves in 2014 to get there; and how VMware, together with its partners, needs to build a perfect practice for the software-defined enterprise, or what it’s calling the new reality of the next decade.

VMware executives Dave O’Callaghan, senior vice president of channels and alliances; Carl Eschenbach, president and chief operating officer (COO); and Ben Fathi, chief technology officer (CTO), emphasized how VMware and partners collectively attained accelerated growth for the vendor in 2013 that culminated in a record breaking year in revenue -- $5.2 billion -- with 85% of it partner-driven.  

Eschenbach laid out the company’s three key strategies and opportunities that it’s focusing on in 2014: end-user computing; software-defined data center (SDDC); and hybrid cloud, which it calls the seamless extension of the SDDC into the public cloud. Those strategies happen to be the same ones that were laid out at PEX 2013. The total addressable market opportunity is projected to be $50 billion in 2016, Eschenbach said, not including services.

He then went on to address how to tackle this massive market opportunity.

As we enter what Eschenbach called a new mobile/cloud era, things are radically changing, Eschenbach said. For example, the friction between consumers and producers of IT is increasing; IT is responsible for supporting millions of applications and billions of users; and IT budgets have been flat.

However, VMware is in a unique position to address these challenges because it’s already done so in the past, according to Eschenbach. “With server virtualization, we’ve already begun to liberate resources, liberate dollars to run IT and allow us to focus on the future of mobile/cloud,” he said. By virtualizing the compute layer of the data center, customers save more than $10 billion annually, he added.

Still, it’s not enough. Using a virtualization platform, VMware will deliver the software-defined enterprise that will, for the first time ever, deliver IT at the speed of business. “We will not just meet the demands of our customers in the lines of business but we’ll be ahead of it and exceed it,” Eschenbach said.

With server virtualization a checklist item, VMware’s plan is to move horizontally across the unvirtualized components of the data center -- with innovations such as its NSX network virtualization software and Virtual SAN (VSAN) for software-defined shared storage for virtual machines -- and then seamlessly extend to the public cloud with its vCloud Hybrid Service offering or those of its partners. Policy-based management and automation is another key aspect of the software-defined enterprise.

The SDDC is the underlying  architecture of the software-defined enterprise. To date, partners deliver the lion’s share of the existing data center infrastructure, that is, servers, networking and storage. “And there is no one better positioned to do it again than you,” Eschenbach said, referring to partners building the SDDC.

With that, he stressed that the company is asking partners to specialize, get enabled and build new skills sets to align with VMware’s three new priorities and strategies. The services and technology opportunity this year alone, he said, is more than $100 billion.

Brad Goodman, regional account manager at Layer3 Communications, LLC of Norcross, Ga., attended VMware PEX 2014 to hear more about VMware’s vision and strategy. Layer3 is a 15-year-old boutique networking company that has focused primarily on LAN, WAN and wireless technology. Lately, however, customers are asking the partner to take over the data center, according to Goodman.

Goodman was intrigued to hear what VMware is doing around VSAN and the eventual opportunity that opens up for his company to add professional services.

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