New VMware Americas CTO Says Company's Best Days Are Ahead


Chris Wolf, a research vice president at Gartner for the past four years, has joined VMware as CTO of its Americas business, he said Monday in a blog post.

While VMware has delivered solid results the past couple of quarters, some industry observers feel that as the server virtualization market reaches saturation, the vendor will be challenged to find another big cash cow to keep Wall Street happy.

Wolf said one reason he joined VMware is because he thinks the server virtualization giant has plenty of innovation left in the tank. "Some have wondered if VMware's best days are in the past, but I don't think that's even remotely the case," Wolf said in the blog post.

[Related: Partners: Buying AirWatch Will Help VMware Solve Its Mobility Struggles]

VMware sees its software-defined data center vision, in which network and storage resources are abstracted from the hardware and pooled for greater flexibility, as a big pillar for future growth.

While the SDDC concept is still new to a lot of enterprises, Wolf said he believes it'll be just as big a business for VMware as server virtualization has been.

"At full maturity, the SDDC will do for data center consolidation what ESX did for server consolidation, and once again the ROI benefits will be obvious," Wolf said in the blog post.

One VMware partner, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to comment publicly about company matters, is pleased to see VMware bring in a top executive from outside the company.

"Chris seems to be very well grounded and has a great view of the broader landscape of solutions on the market," said the source. "Hopefully, he can bring this knowledge inside of VMware -- and hopefully, those on the inside will listen and take his advice and direction."

VMware is also focusing heavily on developing its end-user computing business. Last week, it purchased mobile device management vendor AirWatch for $1.5 billion, the largest acquisition in its 15-year history.

Wolf thinks VMware "considerably strengthened" its end-user computing portfolio by acquiring AirWatch. VMware partners told CRN that AirWatch will compensate for the slow progress of VMware's Horizon Suite, which they said has a lackluster mobile device management component.

Simon Bramfitt, founder and research director at Entelechy Associates, a Concord, Calif.-based consultancy, worked with Wolf as an analyst at Gartner and Burton Group. He told CRN Wolf's background in end-user computing could help VMware improve on this front.

"With the exception of View, VMware has failed to capitalize on many of its early end-user computing initiatives, with many of the technologies associated with the Horizon Suite failing to meet expectations," Bramfitt said in an email.

Earlier this month, VMware promoted Ben Fathi, a former Microsoft and Cisco executive who joined the company in 2012, to the CTO position. He filled a role that had been vacant since last January when Steve Herrod left VMware to focus on developing early-stage startups.

PUBLISHED JAN. 27, 2014