VMware on a mission to transform boardroom agenda

9 Apr 2010

Beyond cloud computing and server/desktop virtualisation, the big picture for the enterprise computing world is transforming how IT services are delivered to the business and the individual, says VMware’s regional director Mark Newton.

Newton said that the enterprise computing world’s big agenda for the past two years – and no doubt aided by the recession and the contrasting digital boom – has been getting IT onto the boardroom agenda as an enabler for boosting revenues, serving customers and meeting green objectives.

“When a business gets a new idea or opportunity, there’s always some form of intellectual property underpinning it. For many businesses though, it takes at least nine months to deploy new infrastructure and the prerequisite IT they are looking for.

“IT is usually seen to be on the agenda for the wrong reasons. It needs to be recognised as a positive change agent for the business to grow new opportunities and not be there as an overhead or cost centre.

“That’s the big picture for us at VMware. It’s really about how we can transform how services are being delivered by IT. The enabling technology we have to take us down that road is virtualisation and that’s been a big success in terms of the whole consolidation story and for many a company’s green agenda.”

Newton cited the example of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which virtualised 70pc of its applications and reduced its server footprint from 650 servers down to 40.

“You would be surprised at how many businesses have already virtualised. Many have already dipped their toe in the water and have virtualised at least 20pc to 30pc of their IT real estate, much of that in IT, test and development services.

“The challenge now for many is to move to the next level, which is focusing on the more mission critical applications. Belfast Health and Social Care Trust virtualised 70pc of their applications. You can start driving not only a whole lot more savings but also drive far more cost-effective, resilient solutions and more effective business continuity strategies.”

The move towards the private cloud Newton says is promising to be one of the biggest shifts in business computing history. “It is at a nascent stage right now but there are more people further down this journey than you realise. We were with an organisation last week that went from 200 servers and consolidated them town to 12, they pooled that resource and created a front-end services catalogue.

“The IT manager can log into a portal and decide how much memory and network bandwidth is needed and go about internally billing that on a usage basis.”

Newton agreed that the big fear factor blocking uptake of cloud computing at a corporate level is fear of sensitive data being lost, stolen or mixed in with other people’s private data. “The trend for many of the external cloud providers is to use infrastructure that is proprietary in nature and all applications are fitted to match their infrastructure.

“For many organisations, however, with legacy applications we see their journey to the cloud happening through virtualisation.

“The apps of the future will be written in a way to manage the environment they are in – how much memory is available, what are the storage and security requirements?

“For organisations to keep control right now, that journey is going to happen, people will establish private clouds but will punch out to public clouds where necessary. The challenge will be also an opportunity for providers who have built technology to make it easier for organisations to migrate their applications for use with business continuity and security objectives.”

The virtualisation juggernaut that is VMware, which is owned by EMC, is incredible to behold. The company’s technology is in use by more than 170,000 businesses today, including 92pc of FTSE100 companies, 100pc of Fortune 100 companies and 96pc of Fortune 1000 companies.

“The simplification of IT will take all the issues that are on the boardroom agenda today and create a dynamic that ties in performance with available infrastructure. Often the question IT managers get asked is why are they over budget. That won’t be a problem any more so long as they are integral in helping to grow the business and drive new innovation,” Newton said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years