Can VMware Tanzu succeed? (Part 2)

In my last blog (link here) I covered how the digital landscape is changing, containers are becoming pervasive and how Atos is working together with VMware to enable the benefits of Tanzu to our global customer base. In this blog, I go on to look at the positioning of Tanzu in the market and the impact and potential Atos see at a time when choice and managing complexity are more important than ever. However, can Tanzu succeed?

VMware is back!

Not that it ever really went away. It’s just been busy with its customers, running an estimated 80% of all virtualized workloads around the world.

At the beginning of the cloud revolution, VMware focused mainly on private cloud. Atos and VMware worked closely in this domain. The pundits said that the private cloud would disappear…but the clients decided otherwise!

VMware essentially sat out the great public cloud wars and waited for the dust to settle. Then it did something amazing: a hybrid cloud deal with AWS that gave VMware customers access (using the VMware cloud stack on AWS bare metal) to the vast scalability and global data center footprint of Amazon.

At the time, many of the industry pundits called it a desperation move. Surely, they laughed, AWS would sooner or later get the clients.

Then VMware turned around and did hybrid deals with Microsoft and Google Cloud. That done, VMware could give its customers access to the resources of whichever of the big three public clouds the customer preferred… using familiar VMware tools and skills. Not full-fledged, integrated multi-cloud, but flexible choice of whichever public clouds the customer wanted to use. Suddenly no one was laughing anymore….

And then, at the last VMworld, the company announced VMware Tanzu. As I wrote earlier, Tanzu will enable enterprise IT and developers to build, run and manage modern cloud-native applications on Kubernetes, but also to modernize – in a consistent way – their often huge legacy app portfolios.

Tanzu will enable enterprise IT and developers to build, run and manage modern cloud-native applications on Kubernetes, but also to modernize – in a consistent way – their often huge legacy app portfolios.

In our view, Tanzu is a game-changer. Who would have believed it five years ago? All the pundits thought that VMware was a legacy vendor who would slowly slide into irrelevance. Well, wrong again!

With Tanzu, VMware has thrown down the gauntlet, taken up an amazing ambition and put itself right in the middle of the hybrid, multi-cloud battlefield!

VMware really is back!

Four Success Factors: VMware Tanzu can succeed!

I would like to highlight four success factors, top-level reasons why I believe that VMware Tanzu can and will succeed both for VMware and customers.

  • A compelling vision

Tanzu is indeed hybrid and multi-cloud, but today that’s table stakes just to be in the game. What is differentiated already, however, is the end-to-end Build – Run – Manage structure of the portfolio. It makes life easier for customers who want simplicity and don’t want to waste time dealing with a cargo load of point products.

With VMware vSphere 7, we start to see something rather unique thanks to the implementation of Project Pacific, the significant effort to rearchitect vSphere with native Kubernetes. This integration would translate into two extraordinary capabilities:

  • giving customers easy access to any of the big public clouds using their familiar and well-loved VMware tooling, in other words, complete choice without having to change tools,
  • allow customers to manage BOTH their containers and their VMs in one Kubernetes based stack, vastly simplifying the continued development and management of the information system.

Now that is a compelling vision!

  • Customer Trust

Implementing Tanzu to the full implies evolving beyond the relatively straightforward world of virtualized servers and workloads and enter the challenging but powerful Kubernetes based world of hybrid multi-cloud computing.

VMware is one of the IT vendors that is most trusted by CIO’s around the world. This is an incredible asset. As it works to implement progressively the Tanzu vision and portfolio, adapting it to the needs of the individual client, VMware should keep in mind every day just how much trust the CIO and the IT management team have put on the line.

  • Developer enthusiasm

Traditionally, VMware was not a company that generated a great deal of developer enthusiasm. As everyone knows, talented developers have acquired a lot of power within companies to influence strategic digital decisions.

To make Tanzu an end-to-end success, the company HAS to get developers excited and onboard. This was presumably an important factor in the acquisitions of Bitnami and Pivotal, both important players in the world of open-source, cloud-native architecture, developer methods/tools and (of course) the new Kubernetes ecosystem.

According to VMware, collectively Bitnami and Pivotal reach nearly 5 million developers, not to mention VMware’s own developer base. It’s a great start but now VMware should continue to do what is needed to keep developers enthusiastic, as Tanzu implementation moves forward.

  • A dynamic partner ecosystem

Of course, internal developers brought in through acquisitions won’t be enough. VMware is a big company and, like all big IT programs, Tanzu needs a dynamic ecosystem of external partners with a variety of responsibilities:

  • Drive sales and accelerate adoption,
  • Integrate Tanzu technology in their own products and services,
  • Transform existing assets toward Tanzu enabled platforms,
  • Innovate, creating technological add-ons and apps.

Atos is a long time VMware partner and we intend to be heavily involved upstream and downstream. Tanzu will succeed and Atos is pioneering customer success, including Tanzu within our Dynamic Hybrid Cloud, Application Modernization and Hybrid Multi-Cloud strategies supported by our global expertise.

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About Adam Lewis
Global CTO Healthcare & Life Sciences, Atos and member of the Scientific Community
An internationally recognized executive with a passion for new technologies & digitally transforming organizations. Adam is responsible for setting the overall technology and innovation agenda for Atos Healthcare & Life Sciences business. His primary focus is delivering industry-leading solutions, supporting the adoption of innovative new technologies, products, and services. Adam is an Atos Distinguished Expert & Member of the Atos Scientific Community. Adam has served many of the world’s largest organizations across multiple industries, with over twenty years of experience in global roles, including at SunGard, Ernst & Young, and Capgemini. He has a track record in providing strategic and technical leadership, usually advising at board-level, to organizations ranging from start-ups to global corporations. Previous roles and responsibilities have included Global CTO, leading Global Practices, P&L’s and Operations, Global Product Management & Chief Architect. Adam is a regular presenter at technology and business conferences.