A Conversation with Simone Brunozzi, Part II

As VMware’s chief technologist and evangelist for its hybrid cloud, Simone Brunozzi discusses the advantages of hybrid cloud for enterprise customers compared to pure cloud. Brunozzi joined VMware in March from Amazon. He has the unique position of seeing pros and cons of pure public and hybrid clouds.

This is part II of the conversation with Radius. To hear more of Brunozzi’s thoughts for startups, check out part I.

Radius: How does VMware’s approach to the cloud differ than others?

It is ultimately the customer’s choice where they want to run their workload. We provide a cloud environment for them. At the same time, we don’t force them to be in the cloud. In fact, they can always move back to in-house without any change to their code or their applications because they are fully compatible with an existing VMware environment.

It’s up to you, the customer, to decide which one fits best in your case. There might be many reasons why a customer might want to do some in the cloud and some in-house. It could be that you already invested in your data center so you don’t want to waste that investment. You want to keep some of your workloads in the data center.

It might be that you want to build a new data center because you want to consolidate your existing businesses and at the same time you want to gain some flexibility from the cloud.

Maybe you are large enough that you can have economies of scale and you can build efficiently so you can be price competitive, at least for part of your workloads, as compared to a cloud environment. We think that giving choice to customers is in their best interests and it is what provides more long-lasting value.

Radius: The term virtualization has been synonymous with VMware but now the language has moved on to terms such as software-defined IT and the software-defined datacenter. Is virtualization still an important part of VMware’s message?

SB: Virtualization drives efficiency and enables greater security, not just computer virtualization, but network virtualization, too, a result of our acquisition of Nicera a couple of years ago.

Virtualization is what enables cloud computing in the first place. There are new trends such as containers but containers operate on a different level, their goal is to isolate apps but they don’t allow you to control the environment in which those apps operate.

At VMworld in August in San Francisco, we announced a partnership with Docker, which is one of the leading container technology companies, to enable our users to run containers on top of virtual machines (VMs). VMs are a good complement to containers because there are things that you still need to do.

For example, if a machine has help issues, you want to be able to move those containers around. Security should be implemented in a way that doesn’t allow for loopholes in the system. All those things are provided by virtualization.

In the years to come, it might be that containers will emerge as an even more important technology. We are definitely taking a look at it and we are paying a lot of attention. We think that virtualization, though, is still growing, it is a clear signal from the market. If virtualization is growing and accelerating it means that there is still a lot of value out of it and there will be for years to come.

Radius: Where are we in adopting network virtualization technology (NSX)?

SB: It is growing at an accelerating pace. We’re quite excited about the adoption that we’ve seen among customers. I think that software-defined networking is a trend that cannot be stopped. The advantages are very clear from micro-segmentation, to increased security, to reduced amount of work and effort needed to enforce security, as well as manage networks. Those are benefits that software-defined networking bring to the table.

A lot of big league customers are using it. We are essentially in prime time now. And vCloud Air is soon going to be fully compatible with NSX environments. This is going to be an additional value proposition for existing VMware customers who are considering or already using NSX.