Infrastructure has entered the developer realm, and VMware knows it

VMware Inc. is celebrating impressive earnings and a committed customer base. But cloud has created a developer operations world where developers are taking the driver’s seat.

Behind the excitement of VMworld 2019, VMware is shackled by a reputation for being infrastructure-based. And operations attendees still dominate the event. Can throwing money at the problem bring the developers flocking?

“Pat [Gelsinger, chief executive officer of VMware] tallied up $5 billion in purchases last week to get out of this motion of being stuck in the IT Infrastructure realm,” said Keith Townsend (pictured, left), principal at The CTO Advisor, referring to VMware’s announcement of the reacquisition of Pivotal Software Inc, a company that was spun off in 2012 after the Dell EMC merger. “Will it pay off?” he asked.

“To the outside, what [VMware] have produced in the past, that’s all operations. [But] inside the VMware, it’s purely software-driven,” said cloud influencer Sarbjeet Johal (right). “So I think they can make that switch because of the culture, and then with the Pivotal acquisition I think it will make it much easier.”

Townsend and Johal joined Dave Vellante and John Furrier, co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, for a Power Panel discussion during the VMworld event in San Francisco. The panel focused on VMware’s commitment to Kubernetes as the “wave of the future” and whether the hype of multicloud will play out as a real-world solution (see the full discussion with transcript here).

The true value of the Pivotal deal

Savvy financial wrangling means that the $2.7 billion VMware reportedly paid for Pivotal came down to only $800 million cash to the public shareholders. The rest was paid in VMware stock to Pivotal majority shareholder and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell.

“Michael Dell gets more VMware stock, so now he owns more of VMware. VMware already owns 15% of Pivotal, so for $800 million, they get Pivotal,” Vellante explained.

The Pivotal purchase adds power to VMware’s bet on Kubernetes. New products, such as the Tanzu app management platform and Project Pacific, are steps toward the company’s goal of building a bridge between the data center and the cloud. But Pivotal brings another benefit.

“I think the thing that most people are missing in this conversation is that Pivotal has an army of developers,” Townsend stated.

That means the Pivotal deal is about more than containerization. It gives the company creditibility to attract developers.

“The value of Pivotal is they can get VMware into the [Kubernetes] developer community,” Vellante agreed. “’Cause where is VMware with developers? Nobody, no developers in this [VMworld] audience,” he said.

Furrier sees other areas where VMware aims to draw developers into the fold. “I think the vSphere deal with Project Pacific points out that they want to use Kubernetes as an abstraction layer for developers and have a developer interface to vSphere,” Furrier said. “So they get the operators with vSphere, they put Kubernetes in there, and they say, ‘Hey developers, use us.’”

Here’s the complete video analysis, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of VMworld 2019:  

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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