Thoughts and Observations on Two Successful VMworld Conferences

Nathan Biggs (@nathanbiggs), CEO

After the whirlwind of the past three weeks, traveling from Las Vegas to Barcelona, with a customer visit in between, I am now back at my desk and sorting through the terrific outcomes that House of Brick experienced at both VMworld US, and VMworld Europe. I thought I would capture some thoughts and summarize our experiences from Las Vegas and Barcelona and share them in this blog post.

The Era of the Cloud

I was thrilled with the many announcements from VMware on various cloud partnerships that have been established. As one VMware executive told me at the conference, “we finally realized that we are not a razor manufacturer, but we can provide the best blades.” The announcements with AWS, Google, IBM, and others are exactly what our customers have been looking for. These customers have committed to VMware for virtualizing their Oracle and SQL Server based business critical applications, and they want to keep operating within the VMware management model. They also see the considerable strength of the public cloud offerings from AWS, Google, IBM, and others, and are thrilled that doors are opening for them to take advantage of these offerings while maximizing their investment in VMware.

That being said, we are at the beginning of our cloud journey for business critical applications. We have definitely not arrived yet. With acknowledgement to Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, there is still a large chasm to cross before we are in the majority stages of cloud adoption for these crucial systems.

One of the biggest challenges yet for moving Oracle workloads into the cloud, is figuring out the most appropriate licensing model. This fact was highlighted at the opening general session in Las Vegas, when VMware interviewed Karine Semmer, Head of IT Hosting Transformation & Modernization Program at Medtronic. Karine outlined Medtronic’s successful pilot of using VMware Cloud on AWS. When asked by VMware’s Sanjay Poonen what plans Medtronic had for the public cloud, Ms. Semmer said:

“The one challenge which I think many of you will recognize if you have done anything contractually around licensing going from on-prem to cloud, that again is our more significant challenge. One that is true for the cloud industry.”

Based on the hundreds of customer conversations that we are having around cloud options, it is our opinion at House of Brick that this is the biggest challenge the industry faces. How can we move business-critical applications into the public cloud when vendor licensing may be agnostic to the cloud at best, or antagonistic to the cloud at worst?

House of Brick has developed several workable licensing models for the major cloud vendors for Oracle and SQL Server based workloads. We are rolling these out in customer engagements and in pre-sales conversations now.

Popular House of Brick Presentations

Between both conferences, House of Brick experts presented our message at nine different sessions. Some of these were in intimate settings, like the nine people from nine different European and African countries with whom I met with in a meet-the-experts session in Barcelona. Others were large breakout sessions where we talked to more than 1,000 people who attended our presentations over the course of both events.

The message from our attendees was clear – we love the advantages that virtualization brings to our business critical applications, but we sometimes need help understanding how to get the most out of our investment in software, infrastructure, and talent. When it comes to licensing, especially for Oracle software, the message was equally clear – we want to pay for every bit of Oracle software we use, but we don’t like feeling as if we are being bullied into paying more than we should.

How Will Things Unfold Before the Next VMworld?

We seem to be at in interesting crossroads in the IT world. Virtualizing applications has become a best practice. For a few years, VMware has been enjoying early and even late majority adopter status for business critical systems. Cloud computing, with strong public cloud offerings, is clearly the next wave of innovation for these applications, and yet we are still very early in the adoption lifecycle. I believe that the next 12 months will be a time of relative calm between these two storms of virtualization and cloud computing, but a critical time nonetheless for defining the way that advancing technologies will be put into practice. I expect that we will be busy at House of Brick working with our customers to define the best practices for this emerging wave of innovation. By the time the next VMworld arrives, I am quite confident that our message will have been vitally enhanced with the results of these customer implementations. Next year, you can count on customers joining us on the VMworld stage to share their successes and challenges as we move into this new exciting frontier.

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