We see sizeable opportunities in storage virtualization, network virtualization and digital workspaces: Sumit Dhawan, VMware

VMware is seeing huge success for its Digital Workspace solutions, and is positioning it like a platform. Sumit Dhawan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, EUC, VMware, shares how VMware is looking at transforming the current traditional workspace environment.

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Sumit Dhawan VMware

With the convergence of mobility and collaboration platforms, how are looking at positioning Digital Workspaces?
Today, convergence is taking place in terms of just the endpoints that end users interact with, which is something we are all familiar with. There are larger screens, and there are smaller screens. Those technologies are to an extent converging because without convergence you cannot build a platform that provides an experienced verification or security simplification, which is what “‘Workspace ONE’” is built for. Now underlying what has happened in the ecosystem, there’s a general standardization that has taken place in terms of how to communicate with these endpoints, and that’s what we have embraced. Therefore, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants like, Apple, Google and Microsoft which are providing this underlying oasis which we all interact with. They are all now providing these API driven controls which gives us the ability to standardize this. Now when we extend that to collaboration platforms which are more than one, you now look at how people now use multiple applications to collaborate. Office 365 is a big one but it goes beyond that.

For example, in certain specific cases, Slack may be a collaboration platform for certain type of users that are working in a specific application and are now collaborating. But for people who are in the field, they are collaborating not necessarily with Office 365 alone, but are collaborating with Salesforce because that is their way of sharing information about the clients and customers, not just within the people in the field but within the headquarters and what not. What we have done is taken the application, APIs and all of these application providers, whether it be Salesforce, Slack, Office 365 or the device APIs, and have also connected the two with a single platform. So, the end users get a great experience that is unified, regardless of the endpoint. Today, IT is able to secure all of their information in one way. Whether it is with a BYOD or a corporate owned device. So that is essentially the ‘Workspace ONE’ platform. So that answers the question of how collaboration and mobility have come together.

Are you looking at positioning this as a platform? What I mean is, more than a solution or a product, can this become like an OS or a virtual ecosystem. For instance, can this be a hub and the spoke system where you have the hub like the ‘Workspace ONE’ and everything plugs into it together?
We call it a platform, because operating systems can be multiple and this is an OS abstraction platform. It’s an OS and application abstraction platform. This abstracts the two so that you don’t have to worry about one at a time, since the marginal cost effectively becomes very high.

So this takes me to your second question, if we were to think about just the world of desktops, what did IT do over a period of 15-20 years? They, standardized the cost, standardized the management and cost, and when they moved, they did the same. Now if you were to expand to what devices people will interact with, even before you go into how consumers interact with IT, in the context of workforce and the tech devices that people interact with, you put yourself in the context of multiple use cases; whether they are drivers in the trucks, or in the context of back offices, or maybe a banker trying to surf clients in a branch.

In either of these cases there are will be devices that people will either wear or will have in their surroundings. Now all of these devices will not be just passive devices. They’re not just sensors, they are will do some compilation and they’re will be collecting data. Now what we do as part of our platform is to enhance the same technology because the underlying technology is the API abstraction, security and giving experience. So, we’re doing the same thing that we’ve done between desktop and mobile in taking it down to other devices. Today already for example if you look at most retail locations in the US and probably in India as well, when they have all of these devices as their modernizing retail or is healthcare getting modernized with all of these wearables as well as other IoT devices coming in. They are all using our technology. It’s the same ‘Workspace ONE’ platform that people use to access their applications and do collaboration like you said in this queer fashion on the devices that they can interact with and the same technology is securing the information on the devices that are around that are not necessarily the ones they are interacting with but the devices are interacting with them in a way of collecting data.

You have also done some specific mobile security alliances?
So this is the platform. The reason why hub and spoke is the only viable way going forward is because if we think about security, it was alright when it was all a Windows world and it was all connected to Active Directory and the Active Directory, became your way to control policies and systems. That model broke apart with the emergence of mobile endpoints as well as a mobile workforce.

When people started walking with their laptops outside of the networks and not connect to the network, for sometimes days or weeks then that model breaks apart. So what happened as a result if you think about it is all these security technologies have sprawled. The fundamental reason why they have sprawled is because of truly mobile workforce and of course cyber threats. Now if you hack our platform that is there on all of these endpoints and applications what we have done, is that all of this information is; who is doing what and with what devices, at what point of time is going through our platform and the system and we are using that information to make contextual decisions whether you can really access this document at this point in this location because of potential threats or vulnerability of network endpoint, etc, you cannot make that decision, the system can inform that for you. Now in addition we know that security threats are of so many kinds.

We cannot protect you on all possible security threats. That is one thing we don’t want to necessarily want to say “hey we are the ones who will control on every possible security threat”. There are experts who are continually detecting what’s happening. So what we did was we said “hey listen, we have this entire context, already in our platform. We’re using that to make decisions ourselves.” So we created a very open alliance. Anyone can use the same information, same context that we are collecting and make other security decision and feed that back to us. That’s what mobile security alliance is. So it’s a two-way exchange where they can get context from our system and provide the risk or control that the security technologies think are appropriate that we can do because we are the context system and control system.

In the future, can WorkSpace ONE be used as a platform to provide ‘as a service models’ by IT service providers?
‘Workspace ONE’ as a platform is available via the cloud including in India. The ‘Workspace ONE’ on top of that we have a technology that we announced at our event, in the US VMworld event. It’s called ‘Workspace ONE’ intelligence. The objective of ‘Workspace ONE’ intelligence is really two-fold. One is to give our customers deep insight about the historical trends and patterns, including the data that we collect and the data from mobile security alliance. So this is where you can, see what is happening in the system, how things are changing, what are the risks and just getting insight. Second is creating full automation around it.

Specifically with respect to IoT and connected platforms, how do you see the future? How do you see this space going forward, for example all IP driven assets?
We have customers now who have IP connected trucks and within the cars they have multiple sensors not just to aid the driver to be able to drive or automatically drive their truck but more importantly to do business functions. For example, being able to communicate with the truck and on multiple things like performance, optimization, service, etc. We have customers who are completely redefining their branch experience for how they will serve in banking. You’ve heard about that, people carrying cards and mobiles or swiping their cards. As soon as they come into the branch, you don’t need a cashier. In US for example there are compliance rules that require you to have certain functions only to be performed by you. So in those cases what’s happening is through wearables, through beacons and integrating the technologies with other mobile devices the optimization of how customers are served, the experience of the customers or the optimization of how all of this equipment is performing as the best possible way like fleet, those are the two extremes.

In healthcare there is, again combination of both which is happening. So, in that case what we’re seeing the trend is that they’re will be more and more. There will be so much compute that happens is; these cases of fleet for example where you don’t necessarily manage every possible endpoint. Usually the compute happens and not all data can be pumped to the cloud, so that’s where, this whole ‘Edge Computing Gateways’ come in. So, what we have done is we have created an extension of a technology platform in a – the underlying technology is the same, we created a solution called ‘VMware Pulse’. The Pulse solution essentially what it does is it can in addition to creating this Workspace experience and data security on the endpoint it’s priced and optimized as a technology, underlying technology is the same but it is priced and optimized for managing gateways and sensors.

For managing them better because now on the gateways these are different platforms and the data that you’re collecting is random because what a fleet management system is collecting maybe very different from a healthcare system to what a retail. So we let in a very, very simple scripting based language let customers customize how they want to collect data and what they want to be able to do with it using the same underlying fabric. And it works side by side with ‘Workspace ONE’ because the underlying technology is the same.

How do you see the size of opportunity for ‘Workspace ONE’? Would it be as huge as server virtualization or NSX?
See, I think if you look at NSX as an opportunity in size of the markets alone, the NSX addressable market of just foundationally disrupting, how switching can be done, we just took a look at it and just said “hey that whole switching market gets disrupted” and the whole layer 2 to layer 7. The total networking spend, that would be potentially 2 to 3X, the size of the addressable market that I talked about here because this is the addressable market. This addressable market we see is roughly 12 billion.

Without IoT, it is roughly 12 billion. For NSX, if you look at the total networking spend you probably would know it would be 30 billion, something like that, 25 to 30 billion, by the time you add up all layer, total layer but that includes hardware, so software valuation may be a little less. So to me, at some point of time when the addressable market goes over 5 billion or 10 billion, it’s big enough where there’s no use comparing one versus the other. These are sizeable opportunities for us. We see them in the same magnitude as a company. We see storage, virtualization, network, and NSX as well as digital workspace as three what we call focus group markets for us.