Cross Cloud, SDN and Security to be the dominant themes going forward: VMware

Arun Parameswaran, Managing Director, VMware India
Arun Parameswaran, Managing Director, VMware India

The notion of a digital workspace where any application, sitting on any infrastructure can be delivered with full scale of enterprise security to any device leading to enhance experience and simplicity are gaining traction. The initiative of Cross Cloud Services and network virtulisation like NSX are an attempt by US-based virtual infrastructure firm VMware to convert this notion into reality. In an exclusive conversation with Mohd Ujaley, Arun Parameswaran, Managing Director, VMware India shares roadmap for 2017, views on Cross Cloud Services, NSX and how he plans to increase the number of customers and wallet share in India.

What are your plans for 2017?

Our strategy continues to be very similar to 2016. The vision we set forward from a software defined data center perspective in private cloud will continue to have huge focus in 2017. We are seeing customer adoption across all segments, all sizes and all verticals. Given our dominance in private cloud infrastructure, we will continue to see strong growth in this segment.

In addition, there is a lot of interests in securing and managing mobile devices for the larger context of mobility of an organisation. Also, the notion of a digital workspace where any application, sitting on any infrastructure can be delivered with full scale of enterprise security to any device leading to enhance customer experience and simplicity for organisations are gaining traction.

So, as we stepped into the end of 2017 or early 2018, our recent partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM for Cross Cloud Services will start playing defining role by enabling interoperability, flexibility and simplicity. I, personally believe, we will start seeing lot of momentum around Cross Cloud Services by early next year.

During the VMworld 2016, VMware announced the partnership with IBM for Cross Cloud Services and later on with AWS. How much progress have you made since then?

We are on the track. There are a lot of joint engineering work being done with IBM and AWS.  Sometimes later half of this year, it will available in developed markets for customers followed by emerging markets. We don’t have dates for any of the markets right now but hopefully by VMworld 2017 (Aug-Sept), we will be in a better position to give some specific timelines.

Have you been able to figure out how many common customers do you have, who are using either IBM or AWS, as they could be your potential early adopters of Cross Cloud Services?

I think, it’s too early. We will have more clarity as we approach to VMword 2017. There are lots of customers who are common to both of us and that is the reason, we are so excited about this whole opportunity.

Has the Dell EMC umbrella helped you in any way?

You know the integration has just finished. Our financial year start from 4th February, so this financial year is the first year and it has just started. So, it’s less than a month into it. We have said consistently that there will be areas of synergy like mid market where we will benefit from their reach and their customer’s intimacy. They will benefit from the intimacy and the reach that we have in the enterprise space with respect to the relevance of our offerings. So, I think there is going to be a complimentary, I would say set of market segments, both will benefit from each other. But we are all going to pursue independent strategies to drive our respective strategies. So, I don’t think you are going to see us do anything that limits our ability to grow our respective businesses.

Have you acquired any new customer in India and how you plan to increase the number of customers and wallet share?

Our challenge is reference-ability that we have to go through all the approval cycles and everything. So, I am not able to tell you the numbers and the names but you know for us like any company, the growth is going to come from two things – how do we acquire new customers and how do we continue to grow our wallet share with our existing customers? One of the things that we did last year is that we put an effort into going to Tier II, Tier III cities. And, that has given us reasonably good results and growth.

Traditionally, we have been very strong in the enterprise but with the SME market we typically tapered out so we would try to make sure that as we continue to increase our wallet share at the top of the pyramid, we should cover the large base of SME by focusing more on our ecosystem, channel partners and programs. Lot of acquisition related work is happening in that space.

Among many products of VMware, what is picking more in India?

The year-wise views on the market and products would be different because of different factors in different time that either catalyse or downsize the particular technology adoption. I would still think our private cloud and vRealize suite of products will continue to be the biggest chunk in terms of broad acceptability. But starting this year, it would probably be Workspace One and NSX neck to neck. And, then of course it is still vSphere, there are still lot of customers who are not virtualized and virtualization is the first step of everything that we are discussing. So, there is still 50 percent headroom for growth in vSphere.

From cloud to virtulization to hypervisor, the compute, storage and allied technology have moved significantly but look at the network and security framework, which is a key part of infrastructure, they have not changed. What are your  views on this?

You are right the reality is that network and security framework has not changed. It is still in the old world and that is what needs to change. But look at what’s happening globally. Lot of the leading organisations have moved away from a traditional network architecture to a software defined network architecture.  Lot of these development are happening because of VMware’s NSX and Arista or NSX and Juniper.

But don’t get me wrong, there are still lot of  NSX on Cisco. The largest proportion of NSX still runs on Cisco. Cisco is still predominantly a largest partner for NSX. But if I look at it, it’s not 100% Cisco. Earlier the network was probably 95% Cisco and 5 % everybody else. But today it is probably more like 60 to 70% Cisco and remaining 40 % is Arista, Juniper, Brocade, Dell, HP etc. So there is actually an option now. I know one company for 10 years has only done Cisco on a rate contract. Now for the first time they are doing a reverse option. Because with NSX, your fabric can be anything.

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