When Broadcom confirmed its $61bn acquisition of VMware following market speculation in May 2022, several industry watchers wondered what the mega deal would mean for the virtualisation pioneer and its customers.
After all, many enterprises have come to rely on VMware’s software to run their mission-critical applications and manage their infrastructure, not only in private cloud datacentres but also on public clouds such as Amazon Web Services.
One sceptic pointed out that Broadcom’s acquisition playbook saw CA and Symantec customers facing “massive price hikes, worsening support, and stalled development”, while another was uncertain whether Broadcom would continue investing in VMware products beyond core technologies such as vSphere, VSAN and NSX.
In an interview with Computer Weekly in Singapore, VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram addressed concerns over the impending acquisition and what customers can expect from Broadcom, the evolution of VMware’s cloud strategy and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. Here are his answers to our questions.
There are VMware users who are concerned about how the Broadcom acquisition will pan out and the future of their VMware investments. What would you say to those customers to alleviate their concerns?
Raghu Raghuram: As you can imagine, I’ve been talking to many customers in the last two months. My message has been to look at the reasons why Broadcom has made the acquisition, which is the strength of our product portfolio, all of the infrastructure software category, the breadth of our customer base and the centrality of our software in our customers’ cloud infrastructure stack.
They acquired VMware to obviously build and grow the company. They also have a history of investing in R&D. Historically, Broadcom’s investments in R&D have outpaced even the growth of their total revenue. That’s sort of a proof point that they want to work on acquiring engineering-centric companies and invest in growing them. That’s what customers can expect after the closure of the acquisition.
Some analysts have claimed that Broadcom’s acquisition strategy in the past does not showcase an innovation-focused mindset. Following the acquisition, will VMware continue innovating in areas that matter to all customers, whether in hybrid cloud, Kubernetes or security, and not just the most profitable customers?
Raghuram: I think the perception that Broadcom does not invest in innovation is not borne out by facts. They started small as Avago and then they acquired Broadcom, the merchant silicon company that was known for its innovation. They’re continuing to invest pretty heavily in semiconductor innovation in things like wireless technologies, and the world’s smart device companies use Broadcom for various components. All of that would not be possible if the technology was a laggard. So I think if you look at the entirety of Broadcom’s portfolio, you will see a lot of innovation.
The principal reason they are acquiring VMware, besides the strength of our portfolio, is the fact that they want to be leaders in infrastructure software and have the richest portfolio of software in infrastructure and management. That’s really what they’re trying to build as a software organisation.
If you saw the announcements that came alongside the acquisition, what they’ve done is, they’re rebranding their software division as VMware and rolling in some of their existing software assets into VMware. So, they are creating VMware as a broad portfolio of assets that can service all customers, not just the biggest customers. They understand that the customer base of VMware is very different from that of CA or Symantec, which had only a few hundred customers. And so, they are going to follow a different approach in this case once the acquisition closes.
VMware has been fleshing out its cloud strategy over the years. We spoke about that, including Tanzu, the last time we met in Singapore. Can you supply me an update on the strategy and how it is resonating with customers? What do you think VMware can do better?
Raghuram: We are advocating for customers to take the cloud smart approach. If you think about the entirety of digital transformation, you’ve got all types of applications. Customers obviously want to build new cloud-native applications. They want to modernise existing applications and sometimes replatform VM [virtual machine]-based applications into containers. They also have mission-critical back-office and mid-office applications that they sometimes want to leave unchanged, but connected up to the new applications they’re building.
So, it’s a very rich landscape, and they want to build applications at the edge. Some applications might be on the private cloud, while others might be in one particular public cloud, sometimes on cloud-native architecture and sometimes on VMware architecture. What we provide is the choice for customers to look at the application and deliver it to the right location on the right cloud with the right architecture. That really is the distinguishing aspect of our portfolio.
You talked about Tanzu, which is for customers that are building and operating cloud-native applications on public cloud architecture. If they want to take existing applications and move them to the cloud, especially business-critical applications that are sitting in VMs, they use a VMware-based infrastructure stack in the public cloud or on-premise.
Raghu Raghuram, VMware
They are also building new applications which are either container-based or VM-based and distributing them to the edge of the network as well. So that’s how we are executing that cloud strategy. We call this cloud smart, and customers use our products because it’s the fastest and cheapest way to achieve their business goals. That’s our value proposition to the customer. The latest developments are the continuing development of Tanzu, the VMware Cloud stack, and the edge compute stack. You are going to hear more about each of these at our user conference this month.
There have been some observations that in terms of market share, the Tanzu Application Platform still pales in comparison to OpenShift. What are your thoughts on that?
Raghuram: If you think about Tanzu portfolio, there are different elements to it. There is the Tanzu Kubernetes distribution, which is very widely distributed, potentially more so than OpenShift. If you look at Tanzu Mission Control, which is a management product, OpenShift does not have such a product.
If you look at the Tanzu Application Platform, which accelerates the path from code to production for developers and helps organisations do effective DevSecOps, that’s a new product that came about only in the first quarter this year. And so, that certainly has fewer customers than OpenShift.
OpenShift has been present for maybe about six or seven years, so it’s been around longer but it’s also an architecture that’s more dated, whereas the VMware architecture is more modular. So, depending on which product you compare, you have a different answer.
Since we’re talking about the competitive landscape, I’m sure you know Nutanix and Red Hat have an ongoing partnership to deliver open hybrid multicloud solutions, even before the Broadcom acquisition was announced. I understand that they’re getting more calls from VMware customers who are exploring options. What are your thoughts on that?
Raghuram: In a competitive market, any time one of your competitors has something big happening, it’s the job of people like Nutanix to go in and try to say: ‘Look, you should not be a VMware [customer]’. But the reality is, customers make long-term choices. They don’t suddenly decide overnight that this is not for me.
So, they absolutely are going to be bombarded with promotions and advertisements from everybody in the industry, but they recognise VMware’s track record and the superiority of VMware solutions. So far, we have not seen any customer say anything other than they’re very committed to VMware.
When I thought about the potential synergies between VMware and Broadcom, Project Monterey came to mind because it’s an initiative that will clearly benefit from the coming together of Broadcom and VMware. What sorts of collaboration do you see on that front?
Raghuram: Broadcom today does not have a smartNIC and so our collaboration on Monterey is with all the other vendors and it’s going really well. As you know, we’ve been working on it for nearly two years now and we expect to get it into production in the near future.
In the long term, like I said earlier, Broadcom has been an innovator in semiconductor technology in merchant silicon, ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] and those sorts of things. We have been an innovator in software, so I’m sure there will be opportunities for collaboration between our software and systems engineers and Broadcom’s semiconductor engineers. You can look forward to some exciting new collaborations once the acquisition closes.
I think you mentioned once that you enjoy traveling to Asia, because it’s such a dynamic region. I’m sure you see a thriving tech ecosystem and a lot of innovations being driven by a lot of cloud-native unicorns like Bukalapak in Indonesia. Many of these companies don’t really talk much about VMware, to be honest. Are you going after those customers at all?
Raghuram: We are very focused on enterprise customers, by and large. And our value proposition is to combine the rigorous requirements of enterprise with the capabilities of the cloud. That is our sweet spot. Having said that, we do serve cloud native customers, but the vast majority of our business is enterprise-centric.
Where do you see growth coming from in the Asia-Pacific region? What are the sweet spots for VMware geographically?
Raghuram: Like you pointed out, it’s a very dynamic region, and different parts of the region are investing in different things. For example, we see a lot of interest in application modernisation, cloud acceleration and the hybrid workforce across the region. As for individual countries, Singapore has done a lot of work on things like the private cloud in the past. They’re moving to public cloud based on our solutions, and specifically Tanzu. In Japan, they have done a lot with cloud and end-user technologies in the past and they’re continuing to grow. So, every country has its own, I would say, uniqueness.
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VMware this week announced its virtualization stack for AWS will come to Hong Kong this quarter, one of a number of upgrades and improvements to the Amazonian edition of its core offerings.
Introduced in 2017, VMware Cloud on AWS offers the virtualization giant's products in the Amazon cloud, under an arrangement that sees the virtualization giant given unusual levels of access to AWS engineering. .
The coming release sees VMware and AWS extend the service to its Asia Pacific region, which is located in Hong Kong, bringing VMware Cloud on AWS to 21 regions globally. The service is expected to come online in AWS Hong Kong datacenters later this month ahead of the VMware's Q2 2023 earnings announcement in August.
Beyond new availability zones, Wednesday's updates cover a wide swath of the platform, ranging from improvements to VMware's disaster recovery and replication stack to support for newer Kubernetes and Windows releases, and UI improvements throughout.
VMware's Tanzu Kuberentes service also received a new coat of paint, with the virtualization vendor touting an improved user interface that simplifies the process of deploying and networking high-availability Kubernetes clusters within a single availability zone.
The overhaul adds support for Kubernetes 1.22 and drops support for 1.19. It should be noted that VMware isn't shipping the latest Kubernetes release, version 1.24, which launched in May and officially sank support for Dockershim.
Tanzu fans be warned: VMware says existing Kubernetes 1.19 clusters will be automatically upgraded to version 1.20.
Regardless of how you feel about Windows 11, customers can – should they so choose – deploy Redmond's latest operating system natively on VMware Cloud on AWS. The update includes support for virtual trusted platform module (vTPM) devices using the vSphere Native Key Provider. Critically for Windows 11 users, the approach is TPM 2.0 compliant.
For those holding on to Windows 10 – or even Windows 7 or XP – Windows 11 was the first release to mandate the use of TPM 2.0 compliant modules in order to install the system.
The controversial requirement – one of several that have dogged the OS – led to considerable confusion as to whether various systems actually supported Windows 11 or not. In many cases, customers found that while their systems were compatible, a BIOS flag was required to enable support. However, for virtualized environments, the situation is trivial – only requiring a vTPM device be enabled before boot.
For those using VMware Cloud on AWS for disaster recovery in the case of an outage on-prem, the update more than doubles the per-region replication limit – from 2,500 VMs to 6,000. The idea is that in the event of a VM, system, or datacenter outage, workloads can be redeployed in the cloud to minimize downtime.
This update will eliminate the need for customers with more than 2,500 VMs to split deployments across multiple VMware Cloud on AWS regions.
Meanwhile, VMware says it has improved its Site Recovery service, which automates workload migration between on-premises and VMware Cloud, and even between AWS regions. Improvements include support for cross-cloud recovery, enabling workloads to be replicated between AWS and Azure as well as provisions for backing up and restoring VMs to and from the cloud.
Not to be left out, VMware's vRealize datacenter management platform gains tools to automate the deployment of services on VMware Cloud on AWS. These include the ability to activate a trial of the suite's Automation Cloud service directly from the VMware Cloud dashboard.
Many of the vRealize updates revolve around automating tasks like proxy provision, log tracking, and network visibility. The release also includes several organization improvements, including support for custom naming regimes and multi-level cloud governance controls.
You can find a comprehensive breakdown of all of the new features and tweaks to VMware Cloud on AWS here. ®
Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. is in the midst of a massive cloud migration that will affect more than 40,000 systems and applications across the globe running on everything from Windows servers to mainframes.
The company has already moved 68% of its workloads to the public cloud and aims to slim down from three data centers to just one by 2024. “Our ultimate goal is to get 100% to cloud,” said Eric Drobisewski, senior architect for global digital services at the insurer, which employs 45,000 people in 29 countries.
But Liberty Mutual isn’t tying itself to a single cloud. Part of its migration strategy is to build or re-platform applications on top of an abstraction layer that makes the underlying cloud service invisible.
“In the end, these resources are all utilities and we need to treat them the way we’d treat home electricity,” Drobisewski said.In pursuit of that goal, the company created a set of implementation standards that provides for consistent speed, reusability and security. “It’s a curated set of reusable patterns that let developers and engineers get off the ground quickly and automate features they might have otherwise built themselves for back-end security and governance,” he said. “Hundreds of people across the organization came together to put the technology, security and processes in place.”
Not long ago, such an ambitious strategy would have been unthinkable. As recently as 2019, the concept of a comprehensive multicloud environment was considered a pipe dream. But technology providers and their customers have been hacking away at the problem and are now beginning to build applications – both for internal use and commercial sale – that combine resources from multiple public and private cloud platforms in a way that is nearly invisible to the user.
This extension of multicloud computing goes by various names. SiliconANGLE’s research affiliate Wikibon adopted the term “supercloud,” a term coined by Cornell University researchers in 2017. Others have referred to them as “metaclouds,” “cross-clouds” and even “cloud of clouds.” The nomenclature matters less than the expected payoffs.
“We’re able to bring new insurance products and integrate them back into consumers’ hands much more quickly,” Drobisewski said. “We’ve invested heavily in allowing software developers to move quickly with modern toolsets to be more effective and faster.”
The concept of a supercloud is less revolutionary than evolutionary. “It’s industry clouds and multiclouds munged together,” said Gartner Inc. Analyst Craig Lowery. “This is a continuation of edge, hybrid and multicloud technology stacks that brings more immediate value.”
A recent survey of 1,800 IT decision-makers by VMware Inc. found that 73% said their enterprises use two or more public clouds today and 81% plan to do so by 2024.
“It’s been growing as a thing for the last five years and somebody just gave it a name,” said David Linthicum, chief cloud strategist at Deloitte LLP. “The idea is to stop building security and operations systems three times and instead use a layer of technology above the clouds that provides all that functionality.”
There are sound business reasons behind that goal. The VMware study found that organizations that leverage multiple clouds with automated operations and secure access to applications and data from any device and location release new applications 42% faster and spend 41% less time fiddling with infrastructure. Liberty Mutual expects its supercloud to reduce annual IT expenses by 28% through 2024 and eventually eliminate as much as 40% of fixed-run costs, Drobisewski said.
But the mechanics of building superclouds are a lot trickier than the concept. Basically, each public cloud provider does things a little bit differently, ranging from the way they store data to how they manage networks. Abstracting each provider’s infrastructure into a common service layer runs the risk of also abstracting away the unique value each provides.
Third-party vendors have come up with some solutions. They say that in most cases, they can not only preserve each cloud service provider’s unique value but can even Excellerate service quality by building on top of the common layer.
However, at this point, there is no governing standards body or set of generally accepted tools for building superclouds. Most solutions are handcrafted and unique, a fact that’s likely to hold back supercloud adoption until standards become clearer.
The drive to create those standards “won’t come from the public cloud vendors because they have an incentive to keep you in their clouds,” said Danny Allan, chief technology officer at Veeam Software Corp., a maker of backup and data protection software. “It will come from outside vendors or an industry working group and there’s no such effort now that I know of.”
Still, a lack of consensus isn’t likely to slow the trend. “At the end of the day it is, in essence, an abstraction that gives enterprises what they call their ‘four-plus-one’ strategy: one cloud that uses all the major cloud service platforms plus whatever is on-premises,” said Steve Mullaney, chief executive of Aviatrix Systems Inc., which sells a cross-cloud networking platform.
“Long-term, the infrastructure should be completely transparent,” Allan said. “Customers should choose the consumption rate and be able to move seamlessly across infrastructures.”
In the commercial software arena, superclouds are becoming commonplace and even emerging from companies outside of the traditional technology sphere.
For example, the Goldman Sachs Financial Cloud, which was launched last November by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., delivers analytics tools developed internally by the financial services on top of the Amazon Web Services Inc. cloud. Goldman Sachs expects the package both to generate revenue and differentiate itself from other financial firms.
Deloitte LLP’s ConvergeHealth is one of a series of vertical market commercial services the company is assembling from multiple clouds. Capital One Financial Corp. recently entered the software business with a suite of data management tools it developed on top of Snowflake Inc.’s cross-cloud data warehouse. It sees its Slingshot cloud manager as the first of a line of cloud data management products that will create a new revenue stream.
“It’s challenging to bring new software to the world but our teams have perfected ways to to build [software-as-a-service] with security, resiliency, performance and scale,” said Salim Syed, Capital One Software’s vice president of engineering. “We feel we have a very good product.”
Snowflake is one of the most advanced commercial supercloud providers, according to Wikibon, with a multicloud platform that spans all three major infrastructure-as-a-service platforms — AWS, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure and Google Cloud — while making the location of data transparent to users, according to Christian Kleinerman, Snowflake’s senior vice president of product.
“We didn’t want to become another version of silos in the data center,” he said. “It was important to have a single, central system that interconnects them all.” The technology the company developed, called Snowgrid, enables people to collaborate on a single copy of data with a common set of controls and governance policies regardless of where the data physically resides.
As recently as three years ago, few prospective customers asked for such features, but “over the last year they’ve realized the value of having a single stack,” Kleinerman said. Multicloud portability “has gone in importance from a one or two to a nine or 10. Cloud independence is now a major reason customers come to Snowflake.”
Other data management vendors such as MongoDB Inc., Couchbase Inc. and Databricks Inc. also tout cross-cloud compatibility as a selling point. MongoDB is “a developer-friendly platform that is moving to a supercloud model running document databases very efficiently… and creating a common developer experience across clouds,” Wikibon Chief Analyst David Vellante recently wrote.
Dremio Corp., a high-profile distributed data startup, addressed the problem by building an architecture that processes queries in a distributed fashion on the infrastructure where the data lives. “We connect to all these different things and push down the query processing to that system,” said CEO Tomer Shiran. “We will actually spin up Azure or [AWS] EC2 instances with our code running on them.”
Such technical wizardry is typical of the solutions that developers are inventing to deal with the supercloud’s inherent complexity. “It’s a lot of do-it-yourself stuff right now as far as what the stacks should look like,” said Deloitte’s Linthicum. “There haven’t been a lot of people thinking about it until recently because, until the last year, there wasn’t a lot of interest in it.”
The need to bridge cross-cloud incompatibilities has been driven by several factors. One is the rise of edge computing, an architecture that distributes processing across a wide network of devices and compute nodes. Each of the big cloud providers has its own edge strategy, but enterprises with far-flung networks don’t want to be tied to a single provider.
A big reason for that is latency. Edge devices, particularly those that collect data in real-time, need to be close enough to a cloud data center, or region, to enable the high-speed communication this is needed for rapid decision-making. For latency-sensitive applications, that distance may be as little as 100 miles.
“Where you place elements of your workloads matters,” said Matt Baker, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Dell Technologies Inc. “Latency of more than 10 milliseconds can kill some applications. Locality becomes critically important.” Superclouds supply organizations more latitude in which cloud regions to use.
Snowflake touts its multiregion reach as a strength. “Once a customer makes a query, all the code that runs in a specific region is native to that region,” Kleinerman said. “Instead of a software translation layer, the user model is the point of abstraction.”
A second factor is simplicity. Businesses don’t want to have to wrestle with the fine points of each cloud provider’s operating and management stacks, particularly at a time when IT skills are in desperately short supply.
“If you’re having trouble hiring for your AWS cloud, how are you going to add Azure into that?” asked Amanda Blevins, chief technology officer for the Americas at VMware.
Economics and labor scarcity means that “the dumb thing would be to solve every security and FinOps problem for each cloud and keep around the skill sets to run them,” said Deloitte’s Linthicum. “We’re going to reach a complexity state where the number of tools and talents we need exceeds the operations budget.” FinOps is the practice of creating visibility and accountability to manage cloud spending throughout an organization.
The VMware study cited these low-level compatibility issues as a major disadvantage of the current multicloud landscape. “For developers, each cloud provider has unique infrastructure, interfaces and APIs that add work and slow the pace of their releases,” it said. “Each additional cloud increases the complexity of their architecture, fragmenting security, performance optimization and cost management.”
Snowflake’s Kleinerman likened the current situation to the need for smartphone developers to build functionally identical applications for both Apple Inc. and Android platforms. “Developers are 10 times more excited than CIOs about this,” he said. “Instead of building three versions of one app, you can write it once and run it in multiple locations.”
A third motivator is to gain access to the offerings from the different cloud service providers that best meet their needs. Google, for example, is widely recognized as having the best analytics tools, while Microsoft’s business applications are its strength. “We don’t want to limit the ability of innovators to use best-of-breed services,” Linthicum said.
But there is a multitude of impediments to be overcome. One of the biggest is data gravity, or the difficulty of moving large amounts of data between clouds. Organizations building sophisticated data analytics and artificial intelligence training models don’t want to wait hours for a terabyte of data to move from one cloud to another.
“A lot of the solutions for shifting workloads don’t address the data challenge,” said Liberty Mutual’s Drobisewski. “Data mobility in many ways is the most challenging problem right now.”
Distributed data management vendors have come up with some clever ways to address the gravity problem, usually involving distributing queries to the infrastructure where the data resides. “You can’t be transferring terabytes of data to do a join,” said Dremio’s Shiran. His company uses local caching and technologies such as the nonvolatile memory express storage access and transport protocol, “so we don’t have to keep going back to the [original] resource for every single input and output.”
Each cloud service provider also has its own approach to networking, security and backup “and those are burdens to developers,” Drobisewski said. “We’re looking at how we can have a common protocol that allows you to interact with all of those equally,” with a common API layer, “so you’re not that worried about which cloud provider you’re working with.”
Aviatrix built a supercloud that optimizes network performance and automates security across multiple CSPs. “We actually Excellerate the functionality,” Mullaney said. “The CSPs provide primitive networking and are limited to a shared service designed for millions of small customers. We not only connect across all of them but also add in advanced services.” The approach appears to be resonating with customers: Mullaney said Aviatrix is on track to book $100 million in annual recurring revenue this year.
Then there’s the problem of data portability. Each CSP favors a different storage protocol, which doesn’t necessarily work with another’s. Each also offers different kinds of block, file and object storage. “Making a storage system looking the same across every provider takes some doing,” Linthicum said.
Here, again, third parties are inventing solutions. Snowflake uses external tables that interact with each provider’s preferred storage format and loads data into a neutral format.
Veeam addressed the problem with a self-described file system similar to that used in compression algorithms such as ZIP and RAR. The compressed object includes not only files but also the software needed to decompress them. ”It’s a file system within a file,” Allan said. “It enables the supercloud because now you have a portable, self-describing thing that can be moved anywhere, powered on and it knows the format of the host.”
Security is also a multicloud hairball. “Each cloud provider has its own security tools and approaches,” the VMware study concluded. “In addition to implementing security controls in individual clouds, enterprises must also secure communication between clouds and their respective workloads, applications and end users.”
“We’ve got some real problems to solve around authentication, identity, data lineage and data security,” Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said in a SiliconANGLE Supercloud22 interview. “Those are going to be sort of the tactical things we’re working on for the next couple of years.”
At Liberty Mutual, supercloud security has been “a huge focus,” Drobisewski said. In the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, the company adopted a zero trust model for perimeter security and has since applied access controls down to the individual cloud API. “As we get more cloud native architectures in place, we’re looking to move our focus on zero trust beyond redefining the perimeter and taking a more workload and application-centric approach,” he said.
Finally, the observability challenges of monitoring even a single hybrid cloud are daunting. Sophisticated tooling will be needed to manage supercloud environments that may encompass thousands of services. “If any service suffers an outage it could cause you to have an even bigger outage,” Lowery said. “It’s a question of not knowing when you’re going off a cliff.”
All of those solutions have one thing in common: They are bespoke projects that are unique to individual vendors and user organizations. Are broad industry standards likely to emerge? Some efforts are underway.
Crossplane, for example, is an open-source project being incubated by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation that’s intended to let organizations build cross-cloud control planes. However, it requires users to run software containers and the Kubernetes container orchestrator, which are cloud-native constructs that don’t apply to most legacy applications.
“The CNCF can make things happen from a Kubernetes perspective, but they’re fairly limited to containers,” said Veeam’s Allan. “Kubernetes workloads are certainly rapidly expanding but the vast majority of workloads are images” running on bare-metal or virtualization layers that can’t easily be moved across platforms.
VMware is one of the most prominent providers bidding to become the arms dealer for superclouds. “There’s been a big shift to cross-cloud services at VMware to let customers run workloads where they choose,” said VMware’s Blevins. “We have those higher-level services to be able to manage and observe.”
For example, the company’s vRealize cloud management suite, CloudHealth FinOps application, Secure Access Service Edge and Tanzu Observability platform have all been adapted to support multiple clouds. The company’s virtual desktop infrastructure can play a part in unifying clouds at the user level. VMware also has a strong portfolio of edge services and relationships with all the major CSPs.
“The hyperscalers’ partnerships with us are recognition that this is something customers want and need,” Blevins said.
All this begs the question of whether the big public cloud providers will ever supply in and agree to cooperate in the name of making superclouds possible. The expert consensus is that won’t happen soon, if ever. “Letting users run on [other clouds] or in their data centers isn’t part of their business model,” Blevins said.
There are signs, however, that even the biggest of the big now acknowledge that customers favor more interoperability and that a rising tide will ultimately lift all boats. “The reality is that they’re going to make more money if the supercloud is successful,” said Linthicum. “Adoption of cloud computing will go up. Everybody’s going to win.”
Lowery said the big cloud providers may have concerns about third parties taking over the relationship with their customers, but they don’t have much of a choice. “It won’t be possible for the hyperscalers to build superclouds for what everyone wants. Ultimately, they will see this as a way to sell more,” he said.
Dell’s Baker believes that all cloud services will ultimately be hybrid. “In the early days of architectural shifts, the best thing to do is to use as open an ecosystem as possible as opposed to carving out a stack,” as each hyperscaler has done so far, he said.
That doesn’t mean underlying infrastructure is ever likely to be completely abstracted. For example, private networking services typically establish a direct link between the customer and a particular cloud vendor. Some applications will be best built to take advantage of a particular database or analytics suite. And the supercloud may actually supply platform providers more incentive to develop services that don’t lend themselves to cross-cloud abstraction.
Nevertheless, the overall trend is clear and that’s goodness for organizations that have struggled with years of complexity. “Clouds are really very sophisticated operating systems with services that meet business needs, not just programmer needs,” Lowery said. “We’re moving away from operating systems and focusing on the business value. That will continue.”
Indeed, said Linthicum, it’s the “single most exciting thing” in cloud computing. “It’s a tectonic shift,” he said. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do, but there’s a tremendous amount of work still to be done.”
Cohesity founder and CEO Mohit Aron has stepped aside to become the company’s CTO and chief product officer with ex-VMware COO Sanjay Poonen hired as the new CEO.
Poonen was president at SAP from 2006 to 2013, where he led SAP’s Applications and Platform Solutions & Sales teams, which contributed to SAP’s growth from $10 billion to $20 billion in revenues. He joined VMware as COO in August 2013 and his LinkedIn profile says he led VMware’s growth from $7 billion to $12 billion revenue – meeting and beating expectations in 18 quarters. Poonen left his VMware COO post in August last year, after colleague Rangarajan Raghuram was appointed CEO following Pat Gelsinger’s departure to Intel. He then took a year off, but has decided to get back in the enterprise exec saddle again.
Aron said in his statement: “As we scale, it is important to me to have a tighter focus on where I spend my time to have the greatest impact. I approached the board with the goal of finding a seasoned and proven executive that I could partner with to achieve our ambitious goals. I’m excited to work with Sanjay as we continue to grow and disrupt the $25 billion data management market.”
In a blog Aron explained that his CEO and founder roles meant he had to operate with two mindsets, which created issues. “While I have strived to wear both the breadth and depth hats equitably, there is an inevitable tension in trying to balance them, particularly as the business scales. So, after consideration, I have decided to shift my focus to depth, with the board’s blessing.”
He added this: “I will continue to devote my time to ensuring that we have the greatest products and solutions in the industry as we disrupt the $25 billion market for data management with our next-gen approach. I’m very proud of what we have already achieved, and I know we’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible. More than ever, the world needs to safeguard and make the best use of its most valuable digital asset – data – and I remain dedicated to ensuring Cohesity is a pivotal enabler of that goal.”
We’ll come back to that in a moment.
A statement from Poonen said: “Cohesity sits at the intersection of three of the highest priority business issues today – cyber security, cloud, and data management – and is poised to become a major powerhouse with industry analyst firms naming the company a leader and one of the fastest growing in its category. … I look forward to leading this talented organization and driving even further success in strong partnership with Mohit and all Cohesians.”
Poonen wrote in his own blog that Cohesity “is a company whose value proposition, I can easily explain to my mom and kids: ‘We help companies and governments, protect their data, back it up, archive, search/analyze historical data, and of course, secure it from ransomware attacks.’ I’m super excited about the journey ahead.”
Cohesity has more than 3,000 customers. Four of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies, five of the top 10 US banks, and two of the top 5 global pharma organizations – as well as hundreds of federal/local organizations – are Cohesity customers.
His blog contains what we see as a key passage: “I’ve often told my GTM teams over the years, the world is made up of 5,000 large companies and five million small companies (the surface area of opportunity we were trained to attack at SAP and VMware, where our products became ubiquitous). As such, I see no reason why every company, government and organization – small and big – shouldn’t trust Cohesity with protecting their data! Everyone has data that needs to be backed up, protected from ransomware, archived, and analyzed for risk and insights. Legacy architectures were not optimized for an environment where data is today: in any cloud, any app, any device.”
This ties in with Aron’s view: “Consider the situation before VMware made virtualization commercially available: system resources were inefficiently used, they had limited scale, were difficult to manage, weren’t open to integration, and were very expensive. This is almost exactly the description we use to describe the legacy world of data management. Like VMware, we are bringing a radically new approach to an industry that has seen very little innovation – offering new value in security, simplicity, scale, efficiency, and much more. And with the right leadership and the right technology, I believe we have the right foundation in place to follow VMware’s trajectory.”
When VMware was founded, hypervisors were nascent and VMware grew and dominated a vastly growing market. Data management, aka data protection, is not nascent. It is mature, with large and well-established competitors. This, in our view, is not like VMware’s starting situation at all.
Think of Rubrik – a startup of similar vintage, size, scope and funding to Cohesity. In the data protection and management area we have Catalogic, Dell EMC, Druva, HYCU, Veeam, Veritas and many more, such as OwnBackup specializing in SaaS app protection.
This is not a world of dumb and stupid and complacent data protection companies. It is both a mature and a vibrant collection of quite fast-developing technology suppliers, all viewing ransomware protection and a multi-cloud approach as table stakes. And all with sticky software that slows down competitive supplier conversions and takeouts.
Poonen and Aron talk about “data”. It’s the new oil. But VMware applies to primary data and Cohesity (mostly) to secondary data. How can Cohesity become a general data management platform for both primary and secondary data? And should it aim to cover both? If not, then its data management scope gets limited and perhaps needs clarifying.
Also, in the secondary data field, much data – most of it probably – is not inside Cohesity’s market area, such as data warehouses and lakehouses. Should Cohesity get into this space? If it does not then its data management claims are, again, limited in scope.
Cohesity filed for an IPO in December last year. Aron will not be leading his company through that process. We think Poonen’s appointment implies that IPO filing is no longer current. He, and the board, will have new ideas about that. Aand they will involve, we are sure, building a substantial market lead over its competitors and clarifying its market differentiation.
Aligning Product, Marketing, Sales, and Success to Expand Revenues and Margins
The ability to communicate, sell, realize and expand the value your offering delivers to prospects and clients has become the basis of differentiation and competitive advantage in B2B. Why?
Selling value over price is difficult when buyers have too much information, pricing is transparent, and they don’t want to talk to professional sellers, or take risk.
Buyer research tells us that B2B buyers have become more informed, considered, independent and demanding. Buying cycles are longer, with more stakeholders, and guided by more rigorous financial and strategic criteria.
Most of this process happens in the absence of conversations with the humans on your revenue team. B2B buyers now spend only 17% of the total purchase journey with sales reps according to Gartner research. That leaves little room for the professionals on your revenue team to educate customers, demonstrate value, and build confidence and consensus.
The core of the problem is that with all this information and consideration, today’s buyers still lack confidence in their decision. Regret is a top concern. B2B buyers who rely on online channels have greater fear they made the wrong decision and will fail to deliver value to justify the investment after the fact. The net effect is many buyers lack a clear understanding and consensus about the business problem they are trying to solve, the financial value of solving it, and the best solution to the problem. They lack confidence. And without confidence, buyers will often resort to no decision at all, the status quo, or a low risk solution.
Recession concerns create an even greater sense of urgency to deliver more value to customers. If enterprise buyers are pushed into aggressive cost-cutting mode - your ability to communicate, sell, and realize the full value your offering delivers becomes critical to getting prospects to part with scarce resources, and customers to justifying renewals.
That is why the most progressive and successful selling organizations – like Sumo Logic, VMWare, ServiceNow, and Gainsight - are adopting Customer Value Management– which provides a roadmap and a system to consistently communicate, quantify, build and realize value at every stage of the revenue cycle.
What Is Customer Value Management And Why Is It So Important?
Customer Value Management is a data-driven system that helps every member of the revenue team have more consistent and impactful value conversations with prospects and customers. “Customer Value Management is an operating system for consistently having commercial value conversations at scale across all your channels,” says Chad Quinn, Founder of Ecosystems, and one of the early pioneers in the field of Customer Value Management Software. According to Quinn, Customer Value Management helps product and solution teams engineer value into their offerings. It helps marketers communicate value using value benchmarks. It helps sellers to collaboratively discover value with customers in value assessments. And it helps Customer Success Managers to help clients to realize and reinforce the value they are getting.
Customer Value Management is a powerful commercial concept because it creates a system for consistently executing what was previously a fragmented set of disparate methodologies and principals that have traditionally been deployed in functional silos. These include value based pricing and value engineering in product design (first embraced in 1940 at GE), and the many value selling methods in sales (popularized in the 1960s).
“Almost every major sales organization has a value selling methodology,” says Brent Adamson, the author of The Challenger Sale, a popular value selling methodology. “Overall, value selling as a principle can be very effective at turning sales business outcomes, financial impact and strategic alignment, regardless of the flavor your organization favors. Historically, the challenge has always been how to apply those principles consistently in sales and reduce the manual labor and effort involved by already overburdened revenue teams.”
Customer Value Management as a business discipline has been around for almost twenty years. It is highly effective at unlocking revenue and margin by improving conversion rates and moving sales conversations from value to price.
As an operational discipline it had its beginnings at SAP when Bill McDermott came in as the new head of Customer Service in 2003, before he subsequently rose to CEO of both SAP and ServiceNow. McDermott’s team wanted to find an effective way to bridge the growing gap between the way SAP presented their solutions and capabilities and the business outcomes customers were trying to achieve.
“For me, Customer Value Management really came together 19 years ago when Bill McDermott, Chakib Bouhdary who became Chief Value Officer, and I met to discuss what they called the ‘Value Gap’,” recalls Chad Quinn, who has spent the subsequent two decades formalizing and systematizing the Customer Value Management discipline in a scalable platform. “The Value Gap became the bridge to reconcile the obvious and widening misalignment between customers focused on achieving business outcomes and suppliers’ capabilities to deliver against those outcomes.” That meeting was the genesis of what became a value management office – a dedicated set of advisory resources to execute a formal process to quantify, validate, and communicate the ways their solutions created value to top clients.
“Customer Value Management was a financial success from a sales, productivity, and customer experience standpoint,” says Chris Hummel, who subsequently scaled the program across territories and industry segments as SAP’s EVP of Field Marketing. “We saw close rates double, discounting decrease, and deal size increase at the clients who were nominated for Value Management.” Benchmarks that Ecosystems tracks across customers show revenue teams that adopt a Customer Value Management system see improvements in both sales and customer success and productivity overall. Sales close rates increase over fifty percent and deal sizes more than double. Net Recurring Revenues grow in double digits. Retention by over 50%.
The Growing Importance of Customer Value Management in Customer Service and Success
As more and more organizations adopt recurring revenues and subscription models, the challenge has become how can you extend the value conversation from marketing, through sales to customer success where a lion’s share of the client engagement opportunities occur. Managing value across the entire end-to-end revenue cycle gives growth leaders the ability to have value conversations in the places they can maximize customer lifetime value. For SaaS organizations like Sumo Logic, much of that activity happens after the initial sale. “Some organizations I have worked in believe that eighty percent of the effort happens before the sale,” says Lynne Doherty President, Worldwide Field Operations At Sumo Logic, whose revenue teams use Ecosystems. “But in a SaaS model, the sale is just the starting point of the relationship. So, we’ve redesigned roles and incentives to get our teams focused on customer education, customer experience and account development activities that drive loyalty and expansion of our recurring revenues.”
“Customer Value Management is central to Revenue Operations because it supports the alignment of marketing, sales and success to expand revenues, margins, and customer lifetime value,” says Chris Hummel, who authored the book Revenue Operations. “Customer Value Management is fast becoming a key driver of the modern revenue engine,” echoes Nick Mehta, the CEO of Gainsight, and author of the book Customer Success: How Innovative Companies are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenues. “The Customer Value Management and the Customer Experience worlds are coming together to help Customer Success and Service teams to better realize mind-blowing new outcomes in durable, long-term growth.”
The move to reinforce, realize, and expand value is part of the natural evolution and maturity of Customer Success (CS) organizations as more conversations about the adoption, ROI, and impact of services and solutions occur within that function. “Customer Success gets a lot of airtime and visibility on a strategic and executive level because Net Recurring Revenue (NRR) is a primary measure of healthy growth.” continues Mehta. “Most organizations have established Customer Success as a function, with a clear role definition relative to other stakeholders on the revenue cycle like product marketing, marketing, and sales. The very best organizations are now evolving their focus from managing churn to actively improving retention and expansion.”
The notion of managing and measuring customer value through the expansion phase of the revenue cycle is critically important to proactively managing customer, account and pipeline health. “ARR and NRR are key financial measures of healthy revenue growth in a subscription operating model. Taken on their own, these are lagging indicators.” according to Mary-Beth Donovan, Vice President, Global Customer Success Management and Experience at VMware. “The opportunity for growth leaders and their operations teams is identifying the actions that deliver and realize value for the client. The associated measures of solution adoption and customer outcome realization are the effective leading indicators of value.”
This means organizations need better systems for carrying the value conversation that starts with marketing and sales through implementation to adoption, best practice, and ultimately customer advocacy. This creates a fertile field for revenue expansion conversations, according to Chad Quinn. To help B2B growth leaders unlock more expansion revenues, Gainsight and Ecosystems recently announced a commercial partnership to offer the first-ever fully integrated value management-customer success platform. Customers using the combined solution can now monitor and direct customer health based on both internal and customer-based inputs simultaneously.
The companies established an initial integration in May 2020 to empower buyers and sellers to compare the value promised in sales with the value actually delivered in customer success. Based on this success, new joint development has deepened the integration of Ecosystems with Gainsight components, including alerts, step-by-step playbooks, and the customer health scoring framework – furthering the ability to use quantified customer value as a proactive driver of customer success actions. The combined solution allows for simultaneous execution of internal customer success plans and external customer-led value reviews in a seamless fashion.
“We believe the combined capabilities of Ecosystems and Gainsight will allow us to efficiently scale value conversations across all of our customers,” said Tammi Warfield, Chief Customer Officer at Delphix - a customer of both Ecosystems and Gainsight. ”The notion of Customer Value Management – and the integrated platform that Gainsight and Ecosystems are putting together - is a big step forward in operationalizing value across the business ecosystem and to the customer,” echoes Mary-Beth Donovan of VMware.
The combination also reinforces the trend towards using AI and insight to Excellerate the customer experience, enhance margins and demonstrate value. By connecting the dots across the technology ecosystem – the combined platform allows commercial leaders to leverage data from many sources to support Customer Value Management. This includes product telemetry data to track usage, customer satisfaction and support data to understand account health, and CRM data to link value to contracts and opportunity. “Our strategic partnership with Gainsight will help all companies drive net recurring revenue with efficiency and scale,” says Chad Quinn. "When we combine the best-in-class customer success platform with the best-in-class Customer Value Management system, we get 1 + 1 =3, where the biggest winner is the customer.”
Ultimately, the platform will supply business leaders visibility into account revenue expansion and cross sell opportunities that are created and uncovered in success and services conversations. ”Customer Value Management really comes home when considered as an enabler of revenue expansion,” says Mary-Beth Donovan. “Through proactive customer engagement and prescriptive data insights like Success Planning, and adoption risk and opportunity frameworks we demonstrate value to our customers, earning the right and trust to identify new outcomes. Expansion is operationalized into the customer journey management motion through Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs), a leading indicator of customer value, identifying expansion opportunity. A platform integrating end-to-end customer value throughout the business and providing transparency of that value back to the customer, it’s simply a game-changer.”
Companies expand efforts to help enterprises accelerate cloud and app transformation
NOIDA, India and PALO ALTO, Calif., July 27, 2022 – HCL Technologies (HCL), a leading global technology company, and VMware, Inc (NYSE: VMW) announced the launch of HCL’s dedicated VMware business unit to help enterprises unlock the untapped value of multi-cloud and app modernization. The new unit combines the power of HCL’s CloudSMART Framework with VMware’s Cross-Cloud services to help enterprises accelerate cloud transformation, scale cloud-native platform operations and empower hybrid workforces.
HCL’s new VMware business unit is part of its Strategic Alliance Partner Ecosystem, which leverages the CloudSMART Framework to provide multi-cloud and app modernization solutions. HCL will help enterprises pursue the path of digital dominance by aligning transformation with overall business objectives while remaining agile through cloud freedom and enterprise control enabled by VMware product and service offerings.
“We are in a macroeconomic environment where ecosystems must collaborate to provide innovative and effective solutions that the industry requires,” said Anand Swamy, Senior Vice President, Head of Tech OEM Ecosystems, HCL Technologies. “Our new VMware business unit leverages the HCL and VMware synergies to incubate, construct and architect innovative, customized cloud implementation strategies with our CloudSMART approach as the baseline.”
“Today, we are witnessing the unstoppable forces of digital transformation in almost every industry, and VMware is providing the trusted foundation to accelerate customers’ innovation,” said Zia Yusuf, Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem and Industry Solutions, VMware. “With HCL, we are helping our mutual customers by providing the smartest path to app, cloud and edge modernization and a more secure, frictionless experience for the distributed workforce. VMware preserves customer choice and protects against lock-in through multi-cloud services that offer businesses the freedom and flexibility they need to build the future.”
Over the past 14 years, HCL and VMware have driven successful client outcomes with services and solutions built for the modern enterprise. HCL has more than 8,000 professionals trained on VMware technologies, manages three VMware centers of excellence and has created four cloud-native labs. These dedicated environments and resources help customers accelerate the deployment of VMware solutions and allow enterprises to experience next-generation VMware technologies. Recently, HCL won the VMware 2022 Partner Value Award for delivering business growth through VMware solutions and providing customers with high-value results and support. VMware and HCL Technologies also recently announced efforts to deliver Telco transformation powered by vRAN, ORAN & 5G.
VMware is a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. As a trusted foundation to accelerate innovation, VMware software gives businesses the flexibility and choice they need to build the future. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to building a better future through the company’s 2030 Agenda. For more information, please visit www.vmware.com/company.
VMware and VMware Cross-Cloud are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States, and other jurisdictions. This article may contain hyperlinks to non-VMware websites that are created and maintained by third parties who are solely responsible for the content on such websites.
About HCL Technologies
HCL Technologies has a broad focus across the key themes of digital, engineering, and cloud. The organization offers its services and products through three business units: IT and Business Services (ITBS), Engineering and R&D Services (ERS), and Products & Platforms (P&P). ITBS enables global enterprises to transform their businesses through offerings in the areas of applications, infrastructure, digital process operations, and next generational digital transformation solutions. ERS offers engineering services and solutions in all aspects of product development and platform engineering. P&P provides modernized software products to global clients for their technology and industry-specific requirements. Through its cutting-edge co-innovation labs, global delivery capabilities, and broad global network, HCL delivers holistic services in various industry verticals, categorized as Financial Services, Manufacturing, Technology & Services, Telecom & Media, Retail & CPG, Life Sciences & Healthcare, and Public Services.
As a leading global technology company, HCL takes pride in its diversity, social responsibility, sustainability, and education initiatives. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2022, HCL had consolidated revenue of US$ 11.79 billion. Its nearly 211,000 ideapreneurs operate out of 52 countries. For more information, visit www.hcltech.com
For more information, visit www.hcltech.com
Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward looking statements, including but not limited to the statements containing the words 'planned', 'expects', 'believes', 'strategy', 'opportunity', 'anticipates', 'hopes' or other similar words. The risks and uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding impact of pending regulatory proceedings, fluctuations in earnings, our ability to manage growth, intense competition in IT services, Business Process Outsourcing and consulting services including those factors which may affect our cost advantage, wage increases in India, customer acceptances of our services, products and fee structures, our ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals, our ability to integrate acquired assets in a cost effective and timely manner, time and cost overruns on fixed-price, fixed-time frame contracts, client concentration, restrictions on immigration, our ability to manage our international operations, reduced demand for technology in our key focus areas, disruptions in telecommunication networks, our ability to successfully complete and integrate potential acquisitions, the success of our brand development efforts, liability for damages on our service contracts, the success of the companies / entities in which we have made strategic investments, withdrawal of governmental fiscal incentives, political instability, legal restrictions on raising capital or acquiring companies outside India, and unauthorized use of our intellectual property, other risks, uncertainties and general economic conditions affecting our industry. There can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements made herein will prove to be accurate, and issuance of such forward looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by the Company or any other person that the objective and plans of the Company will be achieved. All forward-looking statements made herein are based on information presently available to the management of the Company and the Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Company.
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Cohesity has announced the appointment of Sanjay Poonen as its new CEO and president, with the former VMWare COO also joining the data management company’s board of directors.
The industry veteran will now lead Cohesity’s next phase of growth as the vendor looks to build on its strong standing in the IT industry.
“Cohesity sits at the intersection of three of the highest-priority business issues today – cyber security, cloud, and data management – and is poised to become a major powerhouse with industry analyst firms naming the company a leader and one of the fastest growing in its category,” he said in an announcement.
In his most recent role as COO of VMware, Poonen oversaw sales, marketing services, and alliances, and was instrumental in doubling the company’s revenues from $6 to $12 billion. He also played a key role in deals with industry giants such as AWS, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle.
Prior to his role at VMware, Poonen served as President of SAP, leading the software firm’s Applications, Industries, and Platform teams, serving in engineering and sales roles that helped double the company’s revenues to $20 billion.
At Cohesity, he replaces outgoing CEO and founder Mohit Aron, who will now lead the company’s product innovation and roadmap as founder and chief technology and product officer.
“As we scale, it is important to me to have a tighter focus on where I spend my time to have the greatest impact,” Aron explained. “I approached the Board with the goal of finding a seasoned and proven executive that I could partner with to achieve our ambitious goals.
“I’m excited to work with Sanjay as we continue to grow and disrupt the $25 billion data management market.”
In a post detailing why he took the role of Cohesity CEO, Poonen highlighted a combination of the vendor’s people, data protection product, partner pool, as well as the $25 billion total available market opportunity that the vendor is aiming for.
“Cohesity is built for a multi-cloud era, with a superior modern platform that includes a self-managed and SaaS approach – this creates an opportunity for the next decade plus,” he said. “If we continue to execute, Cohesity is poised to become a major powerhouse in the industry.”
Addressing partners, Poonen underlined his commitment to helping them be a “force multiplier” of the benefits of Cohesity’s data management and data security solutions.
“With your help, we can greatly amplify the number of customers we can access on our own, so we need you!” he said. “We are grateful for our corporate investors – Amazon, Cisco, HPE – who have not just invested in the company but are also strategic partners.
“And, to VMware, Pure Storage and Nutanix, they have also been strategic partners to us, I am excited about the untapped opportunity we have before us.”
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Cohesity’s new CEO, Sanjay Poonen, was congratulated by his former colleague and VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram on social media.
VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram is cheering his former colleague, Sanjay Poonen, after getting the nod to become president and CEO of data management software firm Cohesity.
Both Poonen and Raghuram were top candidates vying for the open VMware CEO position last year after Pat Gelsinger left VMware to lead Intel. Poonen announced his departure from VMware after Raghuram was announced as VMware’s new CEO, although the two remained friends.
“Congrats Sanjay! Looking forward to seeing Mohit Aron and you taking Cohesity to new heights!!” said Raghuram in a tweet today.
[Related: Former VMware Star Sanjay Poonen Becomes CEO Of Cohesity]
VMware’s CEO wasn’t the only person congratulating Poonen on his new CEO role leading data management specialist Cohesity.
In fact, Poonen’s LinkedIn post today announcing his hiring by Cohesity has garnered over 350 comments in just a few hours.
Top industry leaders like HPE Chief Technology Officer Ridelma Russo, along with executives from AWS and Cisco, as well as current and former VMware leaders, took to LinkedIn to congratulate Poonen.
Poonen And Raghuram’s History
Last year, Poonen was VMware’s chief operating officer, while Raghuram was COO of products and cloud services.
VMware’s former CEO Pat Gelsinger announced his departure from VMware to lead Intel in late 2020. In terms of the leading candidates to become CEO of VMware: Poonen and Raghuram were on top of the list.
Ultimately, Raghuram was selected as the new CEO of VMware. Poonen announced his departure from VMware shortly thereafter.
However, there have been no hard feelings between the two IT titans. In fact, both have been champions of each other’s IT careers and success.
In a move that sent shockwaves through the IT world, Raghuram ultimately decided to sell VMware to Broadcom for a whopping $61 billion.
Poonen Weighs In On Cohesity Hire
After departing VMware about one year ago, Poonen joined several boards and invested in some IT startups.
However, he was drawn to Cohesity due to its traction with Fortune 500 customers, executive leadership team and $25 billion market opportunity.
“I have finally decided it’s time to get back in the saddle of an operating role,” said Poonen in a blog post today. “Cohesity is a leading data management and data security company in the Silicon Valley. With over 3,000 customers, they have been doing very well in their market.”
Cohesity founder and CEO Mohit Aron first reached out to Poonen about taking over the company.
Aron, who also co-founded hyperconverged infrastructure standout and VMware competitor Nutanix, helped attract Poonen to the job.
“I spent the last few months getting to know Mohit and I was blown away by his smarts, his passion, and his integrity. He was a key architect of the Google File System, was the Founding CTO of Nutanix, and as such, his technical chops are respected in the industry for building the best tech in whatever he touches, bar none,” said Poonen. “The founding engineers at Cohesity are some of the best talents from Google and other companies.”
Aron will transition to becoming his company’s chief technology and product officer.
He will continue to lead Cohesity’s research and development, support and services and remain on the board of directors.
‘Data Is The New Oil’
Cohesity is in prime position to lead the data revolution, Poonen said, as data becomes the “new oil of the economy.”
“I’ve often told my GTM teams over the years – the world is made up of 5,000 large companies and 5 million small companies,” said Poonen. “As such, I see no reason why every company, government and organization – small and big – shouldn’t trust Cohesity with protecting their data! Everyone has data that needs to be backed-up, protected from ransomware, archived, and analyzed for risk and insights. Legacy architectures were not optimized for an environment where data is today – in any cloud, any app, any device.”
Cohesity’s new CEO said his company sits at the intersection of three of the highest priority business issues today: security, cloud and data management.
“This is at least a $25B Total Available Market where disruptive innovation allows the modern architectures to take share from legacy players – just the same way that Salesforce did to Siebel, Workday did to Peoplesoft, CrowdStrike did to Symantec, and so on,” Poonen said.
Cohesity is built for a multi-cloud era, with a superior modern platform that includes a self-managed and SaaS approach which creates an opportunity for the next decade, he added.
“If we continue to execute, Cohesity is poised to become a major powerhouse in the industry,” Poonen said.
Northampton, MA --News Direct-- VMware
July 26 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ― an important civil rights law that works to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. At VMware, we believe that technology plays a critical role in building a digital future that is equitable, accessible and inclusive.
For putting this commitment into action, VMware received a top score on the 2022 Disability Equality Index® (DEI) and has been recognized as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” by Disability:IN. Of 415 participants, 335 companies scored 80 or above, with VMware earning a score of 100.
The Disability Equality Index® (DEI) is the world’s most comprehensive benchmarking tool for the Fortune 1000 and Am Law 200 to measure disability workplace inclusion against competitors. Now in its eighth year, the DEI exists to help businesses make a positive impact on the unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities.
“We’re proud to be recognized for VMware’s commitment in action to create a welcoming, inclusive workplace for employees of all abilities,” said Rachel Hodgson, Global POD Leader of the Disability@VMware Power of Difference (POD) community. “We also realize that we’re still a long way from true representation, and we’re continuing to do more work to make VMware a great place to work for all, including those with disabilities. We understand creating a more inclusive workplace – and encouraging others to do the same – requires sustained effort and greater integration of accessibility into our products, services and culture.”
“Disability inclusion is a rapidly expanding aspect of corporate culture, and it’s gratifying to partner with 415 companies on the 2022 Disability Equality Index,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disability:IN. “These top-scoring companies not only excel in disability inclusion, but many are also adopting emerging trends and pioneering measures that can move the disability agenda from accommodation to inclusion and ultimately, genuine belonging."
The DEI is a joint initiative between Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and is acknowledged today as the most robust disability-inclusion assessment tool in business. It measures Culture & Leadership; Enterprise-Wide Access; Employment Practices (Benefits, Recruitment, Employment, Education, Retention & Advancement, Accommodations); Community Engagement; supplier Diversity; Non-U.S. Operations (Non-Weighted).
VMware is striving to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for employees of all abilities. Our goal is to foster a culture where everyone feels empowered by their unique talents and to work towards advancing VMware’s dialogue and progress on disability inclusion, accommodation strategies as well as physical and technological accessibility.
VMware believes that technology will play a critical role in building an equitable, accessible, and inclusive digital future for all. Our CEO, Raghu Raghuram, has committed to building disability inclusion into VMware’s leadership agenda as we join the Valuable 500. We are now part of a global business collective that is igniting systemic change and unlocking the business, social and economic value of more than 1 billion people with disabilities around the world.
Through our 2030 Agenda, VMware is building a more sustainable, equitable and secure future for all by embedding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) into everything we do, throughout our technology strategy, business model and culture. As part of this agenda, we are redefining the workplace of the future through initiatives that include our DEI efforts. Learn more about DEI and ESG at VMware.
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