Chris Wolf Talks Innovations in Cloud Tech—Hints What’s Next

Once called the virtualization king, VMware is now known as a cloud king. How did that shift happen, and what is the tech giant’s strategy?

Chris Wolf, VMware vice president and CTO of global field and industry, sheds light on the evolution of VMware into a global leader in cloud infrastructure and services. Read his responses below to three big questions about VMware and the cloud.

Q&A: Chris Wolf on VMware Innovation in Cloud

Chris Wolf, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Global Field and Industry, VMware

Chris Wolf, VMware Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Global Field and Industry

1. What is the VMware vision for cloud?

VMware is laser-focused on solving the key operational, security and management challenges that organizations face when operating in public and private clouds, while also unlocking new pathways to innovation. Ultimately, that means providing globally consistent infrastructure and operations, while preserving a native developer experience. That is the heart of our cloud strategy.

One challenge with collapsing management, operations and security silos is ensuring there is no impact on the developer experience. Software engineers innovate best when not bound by artificial constraints; therefore, key to our strategy is to ensure developers remain free to use the native APIs and tools of a particular cloud service or open source project. Cloud-native application development helps engineers accelerate innovation and drive growth for the business. We are innovating to give operations folks the tools they need to do their jobs while not intruding on the native experiences that developers demand.

We want to eliminate barriers to innovation for software developers by ensuring a native experience. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, for example, we support AWS Greengrass on VMware vSphere. Developers can perform over-the-air updates through Greengrass without even knowing the application lives in a VMware-based environment. And today developers can operate their applications and Kubernetes pods from VMware-based environments using the native Kubernetes commands that they know and love.

Another challenge is maintaining global operational consistency and control. We want to help companies manage and secure applications with the same approach, regardless of how or where these applications run. Business needs will continually change, and as those changes occur, we’ll enable IT to quickly pivot to support new clouds, remote sites or any unexpected locale where applications, data or intelligence are required.

2. What is the reaction so far?

More and more, we hear people talk about VMware as a cloud partner to their organization—or even as a cloud king in the industry.

IT infrastructures are very heterogeneous, especially when it comes to cloud computing, and VMware excels at helping IT make sense of it all. There are numerous paths organizations can take on their cloud journey. No matter the path, companies have a consistent operational model across the variety of clouds that they find strategic by partnering with VMware. That’s important.

As we announce innovation after innovation, customers find that VMware fills in other gaps where critical needs emerge:

  • For companies just migrating to the cloud, VMware offers tools and services that help speed up migration and offer IT the flexibility to move between different types of cloud environments.
  • Companies already operating multiple clouds and data centers look to VMware for help modernizing core networking and security functionality for consistency across the cloud.
  • With technologies like Wavefront by VMware, we’re providing organizations with a way to dig into deeper insights into their cloud applications and services.

3. Which emerging cloud trends does VMware closely watch?

Edge computing is definitely high on our radar.

In a number of use cases, it’s impractical to move data from the “edge”—like from a smart factory or an oil rig—to a cloud service or to a cloud data center. Data can be restricted due to privacy limitations. The sheer volume of data—or data gravity—can also make it too large to move. Data transmission delays can impact real-time inference for, say, an autonomous vehicle that needs to quickly decide where to go or how to respond to a change in the surrounding environment.

These types of use cases drive new development and innovation at the edge, even from cloud providers now offering cloud services at the edge. AWS Greengrass, for example, securely extends AWS Cloud capabilities, such as compute and machine learning, to connected devices. Earlier this year, we announced the preview of AWS Greengrass on VMware vSphere, our server virtualization software that’s already running at the edge for many organizations. Beyond running a service from a single cloud provider at the edge, we are working to ensure that customers can build truly best-of-breed hybrid applications, by leveraging their cloud services, open source projects and traditional applications of choice, all on a single infrastructure platform.

We’re thinking even bigger about edge computing at VMware, and I think the work we’re currently doing will be an unexpected delight. Stay tuned.