VMworld 2012: VMware offers helping hand to "clouded out" CIOs

VMworld 2012 location shot

Virtualisation giant VMware is on a mission to help CIOs reassert their authority in departments that may have bypassed IT to embrace cloud computing.

Over the course of the VMworld partner and user conference in Barcelona this week, the company set out its strategy to help IT directors that are feeling sidelined by employees that sign up for cloud-based business apps without their permission.

Speaking to IT Pro, David Parry-Jones, regional director for VMware in the UK and Ireland, said departmental acquisitions of SaaS and public cloud applications, in particular, are a cause of concern for CIOs.

We realised it is not possible to have VMware-only clouds because of legacy investments.

"If a department has moved an application into the Amazon [public] cloud, we are now helping CIOs bring that application back under their control using our technology," said Parry-Jones.

As an example of the types of technology VMware is using to help CIOs achieve this, Lionel Cavalliere, director of product marketing and cloud management for EMEA at VMware, cited the firm's vCloud Connector and vCentre Operations Manager tools.

The former allows IT directors to package up virtual machines and applications so they can be easily moved from public to private cloud environments. Meanwhile, the latter lets CIOs gain "cross-cloud visibility" of what's going on within their IT estates.

"The idea of having mixed environments combining [private, public, on-premise] is something we know we needed to enable [CIOs] to do," said Cavalliere.

"We realised that it is not possible to have [VMware-only] clouds...because there are legacy investments...and we do not want to lock customers into or [CIOs] out of their investments."

Parry-Jones said his objective was to transform the role CIOs play in companies, so - when they're called into board meetings - they're seen as someone who "supports innovation" and is not just there to demand more money.

"The business environment we are working in is tough...and that is really manifesting itself in the IT department and putting them under a lot of cost pressure," he explained.

"Many companies are starting to use technology to innovate...and turning to cloud to give them the competitive advantage. The CIO has a key role to play in that."

VMware is also working to help CIOs make the most of the investments they have already made in virtualisation and private cloud to help widen the range of applications company staff have access to.

"We're mapping [these investments] onto the [public clouds] that are in the marketplace so they can deliver applications, regardless of whether they are hosted in the public cloud, the private cloud or datacentre," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.