Oct 25 2013

VMware COO Carl Eschenbach Eyes the Virtual Data Center

The virtualization company envisions a virtual data center where the hybrid cloud seamlessly delivers IT services on demand.

VMware President and Chief Operating Officer Carl Eschenbach has a clear vision for the future of enterprise IT.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide infrastructure for any application across any type of cloud,” he says. “We want to have people access that information on any device in a very secure way, while keeping IT in control, but also maintaining freedom for the end users.”

Eschenbach says VMware has a three-pronged approach to making that happen: the software-defined data center; the hybrid cloud; and the ability to deliver IT services on multiple platforms and devices.

“We are in a battle for talent, and if we don’t provide these type[s] of services with mobile services to the next-generation workforce, we’ll fall behind,” he says. “All of our competitors will go out and provide unique and innovative ways to attract the new workforce.”

Eschenbach explains why he thinks IT is going "Back to the Future."

Software Holds the Keys to the Kingdom

VMware’s journey to the software-defined data center started with server virtualization more than 10 years ago. Eschenbach says companies found they could significantly reduce the capital costs of their x86 servers, as well as take server productivity and utilization from 10 percent to 80 or 90 percent.

Today, VMware wants to transfer these server-side benefits to other areas in IT. The company wants to leverage this same concept of virtualization by “abstracting and breaking” the compute bond between operating systems and applications, Eschenbach explains.

“We want to do that abstraction with storage and networking equipment, and then we want to pool resources so it looks like a giant pool of resources that’s highly automated through the use of software,” he says. “VMware’s definition of the software-defined data center: where we deliver all data center infrastructure in a virtualized way as a service.”

Eschenbach discusses how software-defined technology has transformed enterprise IT.

Eschenbach says all of this can technically be done, but just as companies have technology silos, they also have organizational silos. As evidence: Many companies operate separate teams for applications, network management and storage.

“Companies have people who have been doing these jobs for 20 years, and now we’re saying, ‘Whoever’s creating your virtual machines will actually do the other services,’” he says. “So it’s disruptive more from a people-process perspective than it is actually from a technology perspective, and we need to think through that.”

Eschenbach says the software-defined data center promises extensive costs savings — possibly a cumulative total of $70 billion annually for companies. But more than cost savings, the modern data center promises to upend the IT spending pyramid. Companies spend 70 percent of their IT budget keeping the lights on and 30 percent on new applications. Eschenbach says the software-defined data center can reverse those numbers.

“What we’re saying is that we can reduce both the capital and operations costs of IT and put those dollars toward driving top-line revenue growth and at the same time allowing the lines of business to get access to services in a much faster way,” Eschenbach says.

A Seamless Approach to Cloud Computing

In order for IT departments to deliver VMware’s vision of the software-defined data center, IT staffs will have to find ways to integrate the best aspects of public and private clouds.

Eschenbach outlines why cloud computing needs to be agile and seamless to help organizations achieve business objectives.

“We’ll need to broker IT services and decide whether that application should run in the private cloud data center or in a public cloud,” Eschenbach says. “We want to give our customers the ability to extend their existing data centers in a seamless way into a public cloud by having a very common framework for new and existing applications — by being able to do this seamlessly without having to do anything at all to your network services.”

For Eschenbach, that’s the essence of cloud computing, and that’s VMware’s focus as it moves into the future.

To learn more about Carl Eschenbach and VMware's vision for the future of IT, visit his leadership session. For more insights and ideas from leaders in technology, check out the rest of the Bring IT On Leadership Series.


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