Guest: Rob Hirschfeld (LinkedIn)
Company: RackN (Twitter) | Event: VMware Explore 2023
Show: Newsroom

VMware’s flagship event was held in Las Vegas this month, bringing together experts, customers, and thought leaders in the multi-cloud space. RackN CEO Rob Hirschfeld attended the event and in this episode of TFiR: Newsroom, he shares some of the insights on VMware, where it’s headed, and what it means for RackN and the industry.

Highlights of the event:

  • The event was not as big as previous ones, but it was packed with sessions that provided very solid education, more geared towards VMware practitioners.
  • The show floor was dominated by the basics that you need to run VMware and VMware infrastructure, which is still the market leader hands down.
  • There were a lot of hardware vendors, consulting people, backup, recovery, printing, but not a lot of the DevOps innovation pieces around it.

Hallway track: 

  • The lack of resolution on the Broadcom acquisition is causing uncertainty. People don’t know when it is going to close, what’s going to get dropped, and if the price is going to increase.
  • There is not enough expectation that Broadcom is going to drop a lot of investment in innovation around VMware.
  • People in the Tanzu group are very bullish about Tanzu’s opportunity in the market. As somebody who works in enterprise, Hirschfeld also sees a high desire for enterprise-grade Kubernetes that companies run themselves on-premises and self-managed.
  • One of the things VMware has done very effectively is it made it possible for people to consume Kubernetes in their own cloud infrastructure. Then it is working toward the edge and other places, which is very important to enterprises.

On Generative AI:

  • VMware is investing in using open models like Hugging Face to then do training on internal data, which is a significant opportunity.
  • The enterprises that Hirschfeld has talked to are very concerned about privacy and costs and maintaining control of their infrastructure. They want to train their own data behind their own firewall in their own protected ways.
  • There was a considerable push for generative AI, both directional content and pragmatic content, even training people to use generative AI in their daily business and how to use ChatGPT better.
  • VMware introduced Intelligent Assist, a family of generative AI-based solutions trained on VMware’s proprietary data to simplify and automate all aspects of enterprise IT. There is a VMware chatbot that would actually help you do things in VMware. There were demos on using AI to identify problems or reinforce issues.

On RackN and VMware:

  • RackN’s enterprise customers deploy VMware hundreds of thousands of times a year in a fully automated way. Therefore, it is very invested in the tools and the components that go into building infrastructure from the bare metal up.
  • Hirschfeld adds that there is a lot of value in helping companies do that, especially in Edge, and he keeps waiting and watching for the edge infrastructure side of these conversations to really come about. Edge was not as dominant in this year’s show, as it has been in the past.
  • RackN is excited when customers start moving towards Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and DevOps processes, which VMware is pushing very aggressively, and then look for ways in which they can do that at the cluster build or the edge build site. However, those conversations are not really part of the VMware Explore conversation.
  • VMware Explore 2023 is much more about how to use VMware. At that show, RackN talks to customers, partners, and prospects who are very invested in improving that out-of-the-box experience, because the ROI for VMware can be extended if the infrastructure is more dynamic.
  • RackN will keep looking for an event where it can showcase how fun and fast it has made the VMware installs.

This summary was written by Camille Gregory.

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