Before being released to customers, VMware products are developed and tested in collaboration with the company’s VMware on VMware (VoV) program.
VMware’s First Customer
The VoV program, which VMware and Dell Technologies CIO Bask Iyer calls the “company’s first customer,” uniquely benefits both VMware and its customers by driving innovation, interoperability, and implementation.
It’s a model that illustrates VMware’s commitment to its customers and promises transparency, continued innovation, and success.
“We’re a design partner, and we work with VMware products from inception to availability and beyond,” says Shane Van Bentum, director of cloud operations for VMware and a member of the VoV team.
The value the VoV team brings to VMware customers can be seen in products such as VMware vSphereⓇ. By running the latest versions of products such as vSphere 6.5, the team is not only in the position to identify any bugs and evaluate feature requests in advance, but to validate the release running successfully at scale.
The VoV team works closely with the vSphere team and is able to leverage its experience working in real-world environments—such as VMware IT infrastructure, used to run its R&D and other operations—to provide valuable feedback on performance and compatibility. Specifically, the team can identify issues with scalability and order of operations. Solutions to these problems are then battle-tested by VoV before general release, ensuring only the best product reaches customers.
“An important part of our role is to uncover and resolve customer issues before the product is even available,” says Van Bentum. “We want to ensure enterprise readiness of our solutions in the customer journey and work closely with our field organization to share best practices and engage in customer workshops.”
One of the most significant examples of the VoV team’s work is the Hands-on Labs (HOL) area at the annual VMworld® customer event. The HOL acts as a classroom and professional development center, where attendees can create and delete virtual machines, try out the latest VMware technologies, and receive guidance from VMware product experts.
From a technical point of view, HOL is a significant endeavor. It requires setting up a highly redundant environment with multiple cloud services capable of supporting 160 percent of required capacity. At VMworld 2017, HOL hosted 500 seats, ran on 144 Dell servers, and was completely powered by VMware software. Most impressively, the HOL ran on products that had yet to be publicly released, including on a future release of vSphere, currently in beta, and VMware Cloud™ on AWS, which was made generally available at the show.
Creating this kind of environment would have been a near impossibility just a few years ago. The challenges of scalability, agility, and interoperability presented in creating the HOL environment mimic those faced by enterprise customers, providing a valuable and visible proof point for customers to confidently deploy VMware solutions.
The real value the VoV team provides is seen in the cost savings that shows up in the balance sheets of customers around the world.
To support growth, many customers turn to solutions such as vSphere 6.5, which can enable an organization to pursue aggressive growth without building another data center—therefore lowering costs.
With VMware’s experience modernizing its own operations and testing its own products, particularly vSphere, the company is confident in the ability of its products to scale, capture efficiencies, and operate interdependently with other elements of the infrastructure.
“VoV works closely with VMware products throughout their development cycles. We have a credibility earned through experience,” says Catherine Greenberg, director of the VoV program. “We can engage with other IT professionals and talk honestly and openly about both our challenges and best practices.”