VMware Explore 2023: Day zero - partners, process & platform

This blog post is part of our Essential Guide: VMware Explore 2023 news and conference coverage

VMware kicked off VMware Explore (the conference formerly known as VMworld) with a full ‘day zero’ of activities, booth exhibits, breakouts and training-focused tracks designed to showcase its multi-cloud infrastructure competencies.

Even before day one CEO keynotes, the Computer Weekly Developer Network team battled through Hurricane Hilary’s turbulence and jet lag to grab just a handful of hours of sleep and dive in.

The mid-afternoon partner session was designed to highlight various aspects of VMware’s partner world from the VMware User Group (VMUG) to its work with its  VMware Partner Connect initiative, which exists as a central portal for partner requirements (with a persona-based dashboard) and its VMware Partner Demand Center, the latter being a marketing campaign, content and automation platform.

VMware president Sumit Dhawan took the stage to explain his firm’s approach to what it likes to call ‘cloud smart’ – a term it spreads over a number of main pillars.

Dhawan says that it has been a busy period for VMware and that the  VMware Cloud Foundation technology stack is expanding in terms of use by around a third in the last year making it (what he claims is) the fastest-growing overall cloud that exists.

Land, expand & grow

The VMware partner opportunity comes down to what Dhawan has called a land, expand, grow process where partners can take core VMware infrastructure capabilities – Tanzu is important here, VMware’s modular, cloud-native application platform that enables vital DevSecOps outcomes in a multi-cloud world  – and first land it with customers (this could be base services) and then expand and grow them.

Now looking to also expand its edge-compute stack capabilities, Dhawan and team are looking to right-size the infrastructure services to suit the particular deployment shapes, sizes and solutions needed across the Internet of Things (IoT).

Also noted here, VMware Cross-Cloud Managed Services (technology designed to operate apps & infrastructure consistently across clouds) was launched a while ago and this year’s VMware Explore sees this technology proposition now fully operational and available.

“This is probably the only technology conference where we can get every cloud services provider together under one roof,” said Dhawan.  That grouping of hyperscalers is not just the first three you’re thinking of i.e. AWS, Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure – but also Oracle Cloud, Alibaba and IBM Cloud.

Generative AI is an enterprise-wide deployment situation says Dhawan, so that means it needs automation, orchestration and management as an enterprise-grade infrastructure play… which as a technology proposition really does sum up much of what VMware is bringing to market right now.

“We can not achieve what we have done so far without partners and we can not go forward without you either, we need to be cloud smart and iron out any of the ‘imperfections’ that might exist working today, so our commitment is steadfast for progression in the future,” said Dhawan.

Cloud-smart defined

Looking at the pillars that really make up the whole VMware Cloud-Smart (and let’s allow CAPS here to denote the family of technologies rather than just the action) approach for multi-cloud real world deployments, we can see five major pillars. The company is focused on:

  1. Accelerating application delivery
  2. Moderinsing cloud infrastructure
  3. Deliver autonomous workspaces
  4. Enable the software-defined edge
  5. Accelerate AI innovation

Products that make up the core VMware cross-cloud services portfolio are VMware Tanzu, VMware Aria, VMware Cloud, VMware Anywhere Workspace, VMware Edge Compute Stack & Private AI Foundation.

All a partner wants

Ricky Cooper, head of worldwide channel partner and commercial sales followed Dhawan’s initial introduction with a session devoted to many of the essentially market-facing concerns that partners will naturally go through – everything from ease of doing business with VMware at ground level, through to training and certification where it is required and onwards.

“We’re only just starting with cloud and many customers don’t even have a cloud-first strategy, but there are so many that don’t. This – and the development of AI across multi-cloud era computing estates is where we want to go with our partners so that we continue to be a critical piece of their infrastructure,” said Cooper.

VP of global partner marketing Anna Lawler extended the session delivered thus far by hosting a session with three channel experts. Exactly the sort of content readers can dive into on Microscope, we will pay just respectful lip service here. Key topics covered here included data, enablement & engagement and best practices.

Logically then, this set of partner, market and channel sessions makes sense i.e. it arguably extends a hand to companies whose job it is to build service delivery networks around VMware teams and technologies and – crucially – that hand is offered the evening before the big CEO & CTO keynotes that follow the next day.

Data Center
Data Management