VMware has a strange sort of problem: It’s been so successful in pushing its technological revolution that it risks making itself obsolete.But VMware is not about to let that happen, says VMware executive Jerry Chen.
VMware does about $4 billion a year in revenue. Most of that comes from its flagship product, server virtualization software, which lets data centres run more efficiently.
This has helped spur the cloud-computing phenomenon that’s transforming the enterprise IT market.
Because servers can run loads more software, it has become supercheap for hosting companies to rent them out on a per-hour basis. That’s the cloud. But as enterprises move more apps to cloud, they no longer care about server virtualization—someone else is doing that for them.
So VMware is going after the next big thing: the application platform infrastructure market, which Chen, vice president of cloud and application services for VMware, calls a “huge opportunity.” He thinks the market could be between $8 billion and $12 billion.
Think of it in layers.There’s an actual app that enterprise workers use—say, a mobile app. It runs on one layer, the app platform. That layer sits on top of servers, operating systems, virtualization hypervisors—the deeper infrastructure. VMware’s tech will let that layer of app software move from cloud to cloud—even clouds that don’t use VMware’s software, like Microsoft Azure.
Enterprises used VMware’s software to run things like Oracle and SAP on fewer physical servers, making them more economical. But now enterprises are building out new types of apps—mobile apps, big data apps like Hadoop, and so on. That’s what VMware’s cloud app platform is all about, says Chen.
So, as VMware loses potential customers because of the cloud, it gains a new market of people looking for an easier way to move their apps around to different clouds.
And that business could be three times the size of what VMware does today.