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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger to the channel: build for the cloud

CloudInfrastructure

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger continues to make clear that he’s a lot more interested in channel partners building capabilities for the cloud than for the software firm’s on-premises solutions.

Speaking to journalists in Toronto on Wednesday, during VMware’s internal sales kick-off meeting for its Americas employees, Gelsinger emphasized the message he’s been taking to the channel since last year. VMware, while it continues to see the majority of its business in its legacy on-premises solutions, is chasing the growth in the cloud by developing new solutions there. He wants to see partners doing the same, even if it is a tougher path to trod.

“I don’t need another vSphere partner, it’s a pretty mature market,” the CEO says of the server virtualization solution. “Most partners are struggling with how they deliver cloud services… some have figured it out and a lot haven’t yet.”

The disruption in the partner market isn’t a VMware statement, Gelsinger says, just a reality of the wider eco-system. While on-premises workloads continue to grow, cloud workloads are growing at about triple the pace. So channel partners need to surf that higher wave to big revenue. (In Cisco’s Global Cloud Index for 2018, it estimates 73 per cent of cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres, up from 58 per cent in 2016).

Gelsinger encourages partners to develop their own cloud capabilities. He also knowledges there is also a whole class of value-added resellers that were “born in the cloud.”

For its part, VMware has been developing more resources and education for channel partners that are interested in developing cloud capabilities. Part of that education includes just making clear what incentives there are to sell a $10,000 per month subscription over a $1 million transaction deal. VMware’s converted its own salespeople to understanding the lifetime value of the subscription customer is higher, and now it’s helping its partners as well.

Since the acquisition of VMWare parent firm EMC by Dell Technologies, VMware has made clear how it is preparing itself for an era where hybrid cloud infrastructure is common, and enterprise customers dip in and out of different cloud services as required.

VMWare has forged public cloud partnerships with IBM Cloud, worked with Pivotal (another Dell-EMC subsidiary) and Google Cloud Platform on a container offering, launched it s Horizon as a Service on the Microsoft Azure cloud, and it has a partnership with Amazon Web Services to run VMware applications and workloads on its public cloud.

The VMware on AWS service just opened up to channel partners earlier in March. Gelsinger says that managed services providers are already launching services on the platform. Plus, there’s interest from systems integrators to get involved with using VMware on AWS to help solve migration challenges and providing new developing environments.

Next week, Gelsinger is off to Paris to meet with VMware employees from across Europe. That will cap his global sales kickoff activities for the year, an idea that he welcomes.

“This is sort of like the firing gun of the year’s start goes off,” he says. “You’ve got everything, now go sell.”