The basic differentiation between Oracle and VMware is choice, says VMware VP of Global Strategic Alliances Parag Patel. VMware has it, Oracle doesn't.
“Oracle wants to sell the entire stack, from top to bottom,” he said to Wikibon.org CEO David Vellante and SiliconAngle Founder and CEO John Furrier on SiliconAngle.tv live from Oracle OpenWorld 2011. VMware, by contrast has certified a long list of hardware and software from many vendors as compliant with its products.
“Customers are voting overwhelmingly in favor of choice and flexibility. We have quite a few customers who want to virtualize their Oracle applications on VMware and are doing that. Oracle does what it can to stop that.”
Choice is also its method of dealing with any potential conflict arising from its ownership by EMC. “We are an independent subsidiary of EMC,” he said. “EMC has always allowed us to do what we want in terms of alliances or working with other vendors, including other storage vendors. We do our best to grow our business, and they do their best to grow theirs, and we cooperate whenever we can.”
And that ownership does not stop VMware from working with other large hardware vendors, for instance when developing new versions of its core products. “We need to work with a small group of the largest vendors to ensure that each new version of our product runs well on their systems. Our clients run their most vital systems on VMware, and they need to be sure that VMware will continue to support those systems as we bring out new versions.” But once those are out, VMware moves quickly to certify the products of all the vendors, including small and start-up competitors.
He said that private cloud development is moving forward steadily in VMware clients but that it is “still early innings.” He estimated that most clients have about 30%-40% of their environments virtualized and in private clouds now, and they are moving toward 80%. “But they need a lot of support getting there.”
A main focus of his job is supporting third-party consultants. “Historically global systems integrators wait until a market gets big before jumping in. It's the law of big numbers. But the cloud buildout provides opportunities for boutiques and startups. People need help and support to do things like managing a cloud environment and providing security in a cloud environment in their businesses.”
He also spends a lot of time developing alliances with ISVs to support products like VMware vFabric, VMware View, and VMware Horizon Application Manager. “Our ecosystems are mature and running well, but at the same time we cannot take the eye off the core platform.”
Overall VMware is in a good position, with a large number of passionately loyal users and market growth. But the competition is there, partly in the form of public cloud services. “And we are trying to enable more public cloud. There are cloud services out there that don't use VMware. “
The big challenges, he says are maintaining the growth rate, and managing growth. At every stage in the scale up that VMware is going through “you are reinvigorating and reimagining the organization.”
“And then there is new technology. One year you can be on top of the market and the next you are being replaced by something new. So we are always looking out, innovating, and staying in tune with customers.”
Action Item: When building your company's private cloud, remember that you will face new issues that will require specialized knowledge that you do not have in-house, such as managing your applications and securing your environment in the cloud. So plan for those and identify consultants who can provide the help you will need during the planning stages, not after you already have your environment 30% vitualized.