Moving towards ‘Freedom of Control’ approach: Arun Parameswaran, VMware

Organizations want freedom to innovate on a wide range of flexible cloud-based platforms, and would like control over governance, security and cost – all essential to the health of the enterprise, says Arun Parameswaran, Managing Director, VMware India.

Enterprises want to continuously enhance and improve their applications, and are investing in new ones to differentiate and grow the business. Arun Parameswaran, Managing Director, VMware India, strongly believes that application needs are driving cloud strategies in India. 
Edited excerpts:
VMware’s journey on Cloud First journey has been, in the CEO Patrick Gelsinger’s words, ‘Leveraging the whole idea of bridging the public and private cloud gaps, and flowing into the OpenStack world’. How is the idea and strategy panning out in India?

Today, application needs are driving cloud strategies and directions in India. Within all of our customers, the application is the lifeblood of the organization. It is how a business stays in operation, generates revenue, gains value from its employees and connects with its customers.

The CIO’s primary job is how to gain the greatest advantage from the existing applications, run them efficiently and reliably, at the lowest cost. However, businesses also want to continuously enhance and improve these applications over their lifecycle. At the same time, they are investing in new applications that differentiate and grow the business.

Every CIO has a mandate to rapidly deliver applications that serve customers and employees with innovative services. Our customers are making decisions about how to take this portfolio forward, and they have a number of options as they maintain, adapt, evolve or replace each application based on their needs.

From a customer’s perspective, what they want is the ability to proactively manage their application portfolio and to choose the best cloud environment to deploy and run their applications. They also want to choose the development environment, platform and architecture that fit their needs and to deploy services that ensure consistent operations and enterprise integrity for their applications.

Our CEO, Pat calls this the Freedom and Control approach.  Organizations want freedom to innovate on a wide range of flexible cloud-based platforms, and would like control over governance, security and cost – all essential to the health of the enterprise.

VMware’s partnership with AWS is quite strategic and aggressive. How has it changed the way your security partners and customers now look at you?

VMware Cloud on AWS brings VMware’s enterprise class software-defined data center software to the AWS Cloud, and enables customers to run applications across VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments. 
When applications lived on a monolithic stack, there was a clearly defined perimeter, making it relatively simple to secure it by putting a firewall at the top of a rack. The perimeter functioned as a clear point of alignment between security controls and the application they protected.
But today, our applications are becoming more and more distributed across many servers, sometimes hosted in different data centers or up in the cloud. As a result, we have lost that nice, neat point of alignment between security controls and applications.

To combat this, we’ve taken to inserting myriad security solutions into our environments. We’ve attached all sorts of products to our networks and bolted them onto our end points. Instead of getting back to that ideal state of alignment between security controls and applications, all we have really done is make a complex situation even more complex, and complexity is the enemy of security.

It is time for a new security approach, and virtualization layer is the ideal place for us to realign security controls with our applications in this new world of distributed apps. By doing so, we create a ubiquitous layer between the physical infrastructure and applications into which security is made an inherent part, rather than a bolted-on afterthought.
From the vantage point of the virtualization layer, we have the advantages of better visibility, flexibility, and control, regardless of where applications physically live.

Coming to newer markets, how will the telco and cloud provider space pan out for you with the advent of 5G?

At VMware we are witnessing the Indian communications service providers (CSP) embark on an exciting journey of digital transformation with the goal of participating in an evolving cloud economy. CSPs have always been a critically important network and infrastructure provider for enterprise and consumer applications.
Today a new era of agile service delivery is fast approaching with technologies like Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). 5G wireless will be a critical driver leading CSPs to virtualization at an ever-increasing pace.

The opportunity 5G wireless presents for enterprises and consumers is enormous. By design, 5G goes hand in hand with virtualized infrastructure – and nobody knows virtualization better than VMware.
Currently, CSPs are starting to ask us the delivery platform for a rich set of add-on services that continue to use the basic infrastructure data voice as a leverage point, but not as the end game. Traditionally, the over-the-top players have benefited mostly from that domain. They have taken the core plumbing and layered themselves on top and delivered this.

With the emergence of transformative technologies like NFV, for example, CSPs are going to be in a new position to reassert themselves as cloud leaders in this next generation of the cloud evolution.

What is VMware’s government focus, given the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Mobile First’ strategy?

The ‘Digital India’ programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. As one of the biggest government programs in the world, it aims to bring about sustainable and inclusive societal transformation by utilizing digital technologies.
Under the banner of ‘Cloud First’ and ‘Mobile First’ we are increasingly witnessing government projects adopt virtualization. For the first time, there are a set of empanelled vendors who are allowed to provide cloud infrastructure services for government projects. This did not exist before.

India is moving heavily towards cloud, specifically public cloud. They are even promoting the concept of a commodity “G Cloud”, which is a community cloud purely for the government.

Being part of the larger Dell-EMC umbrella makes things more complex in terms of integration and messaging to both customers and partners. How will VMware leverage the umbrella branding and portfolio?

The Dell portfolio companies encompass a broad spectrum of products and services that helps us cater to the needs of the customer’s right from the data centre to the device.  The combined forces of Dell, EMC and VMware allow us to reach out to a broad base of customers. 

Apart from targeting new green field customers, we are also able to provide solutions across hardware, storage, virtualisation, security and cloud solutions to our existing customers. Our partnerships have really resonated with customers and are driving our success.

What will VMware emphasize on for customers in 2018?

VMware helps customers accomplish the above business outcomes and help them in their journey of digital transformation. We have aligned the business outcomes to four strategic IT priorities and imperatives:
•    To accelerate business agility and innovation, VMware helps you modernize data centers and integrate public clouds that give developers freedom of choice and control.
•    To ensure exceptional mobile experiences, VMware helps you empower the digital workspace.
•    To ensure the safety of your brand and maintain your customers’ trust, VMware delivers news ways to transform data center security.