VMware is all-in on Kubernetes, says CEO Gelsinger

VMware
VMware is working on integrating Kubernetes across various parts of its product portfolio. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

Expect a full dose of Kubernetes at next week's VMworld conference in San Francisco, according to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Speaking on Thursday's fiscal second quarter earnings call, Gelsinger provided additional details on the purchase of end point security vendor Carbon Black, and its deal to buy a controlling stake in Pivotal Software. Both of those deals were valued at a combined $4.8 billion.

RELATED: VMware snags Carbon Black and Pivotal for $4.8B

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VMware already had a stake in Pivotal, and was a reseller of some of its products, but Gelsinger said owning Pivotal outright was a key piece in VMware's Kubernetes game plan, which it will further outline at VMworld.

"Together with Heptio and Pivotal, VMware will offer a comprehensive Kubernetes based portfolio to build, run and manage modern applications on any cloud," Gelsinger said, according to a transcript of the earnings call by Seeking Alpha.

VMware announced in November of last year that it was buying Kubernetes startup Heptio, and the deal for Pivotal was a continuation VMware's Kubernetes strategy.

"VMware has increased its Kubernetes-related investments over the past year with the acquisition of Heptio to become a top three contributor to Kubernetes, and at VMware next week we will describe a major R&D effort to evolve VMware vSphere into a native Kubernetes platform for VMs (virtual machines) and containers," Gelsinger said. "With VMware's enterprise installed base reach and credibility, we believe we can massively extend the customer potential. The opportunity is clear and significant. The transition to Kubernetes is underway and the time to move decisively is now."

Gelsinger said VMware's strategic thesis for Kubernetes is "build, run, manage." While VMware had an existing relationship with Pivotal—including the jointly developed VMware Enterprise PKS—Gelsinger said buying it outright gives VMware the "build" capability it needed to provide a full stack for Kubernetes.

"With what we have in the run area, we're already uniquely positioned with what we acquired in Heptio," Gelsinger said. "We are well positioned in the manage (area), but we really did not have build assets…Pivotal and their capabilities are uniquely positioned in the industry to finish that stack. So, we can now go to customers and say we can help you build it. We've done all the integration, validation, testing and scale to be able to run it and we're able to manage across multiple clouds."

As for the "run" part of VMware's strategy, Gelsinger said VMware will be integrating Kubernetes constructs directly into vSphere and that it will rebuild vCenter and vSphere onto Kubernetes, which VMware will provide more details on next week.

"So, we're now in a position that we feel very confident making this next step of bringing all of these assets together," Gelsinger said. "We also clearly heard from customers 'We want one place to come together for this technology pool,' and we believe that VMware can respond to that by owning and controlling a complete Kubernetes platform."

Gelsinger said Pivotal, which has 350 customers including a large number of Fortune 100 companies, is making the transition to Kubernetes.

In his opening remarks, Gelsinger outlined three key trends for organizations that are undergoing their digital transformations; multi-cloud, cloud-native app development, and security.

At VMworld next week, Gelsinger said VMware would be announcing major expansions to its Kubernetes and apps portfolio, along with providing additional details on how Pivotal fits into its strategy. VMworld runs from Sunday through Thursday in San Francisco.

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