We work to make the virtual environment more real, says VMware India’s Pradeep Nair
The VMware India, VP & MD, Pradeep Nair also talked about multi-cloud architecture and how his company is making working from anywhere possible as more companies switch to a hybrid working environment.
A lot has changed in the way we work since the Covid-19 pandemic brought life to a grinding halt. When the pandemic began, companies across the globe were forced to shift to a work-from-home setup. At the time, the concept of working and collaborating with people from home was alien and no one was ready for the transition. While gearing employees to work-from-home was a challenge to some companies, for others, it was a matter of survival. A lot of companies had to shift their entire business online in a bid to keep themselves operational. There was another set of companies that had to amp-up their products and services to meet the changing demands of their customers and their own employees. This change came with its own set of challenges, of which hardware was just one aspect. The other aspect was providing a secure and flexible working environment to meet the changing business requirements.
Momentous tasks such as the ones listed above are not easy to achieve. That is where VMware comes into the picture. It not only helped companies provide flexible working space to their employees but it also helped them to increase their productivity by giving them the technical support that they needed to make this transition. More recently, VMware announced its strategy to help customers navigate the multi-cloud era with the launch of VMware Cross-Cloud services. It also announced advancements for VMware Cloud.
In light of all these developments, we sat down for a chat with VMware India, VP & MD, Pradeep Nair to understand the role his company played in helping companies adapt themselves amid the changing circumstances by providing companies services such as multi-cloud infrastructure and virtual desktops among others. Here are the snippets of our conversation with him...
Q. Since we are talking about smaller companies, what according to you are some of the issues that non-traditional companies are facing these days, especially since they are making a transition in a way that they have been working fundamentally.
A. It is not as different from traditional and non-traditional companies. Till now the IT services have, probably due to remote work, had to deal with customers in other parts of the world… Now, what has happened is, if you are in the office, you had access to the office system...Within the office, you are in a trusted space….Now, there is a fear of physical security.
“...we soon realised this is not going to go away but now this is going to be with us for the long term. So how do you preserve and enhance employee experience, that's the first one.
The second one was security. Every chief information security officer in the country is saying the same, you must have seen this right with a whole bunch of ransomware attacks. The industries – automotive, pharma services everyone was affected. That's the other thing right, your attack surface went from those three offices to 150 offices. So everybody was wondering how did this happen? So, on a fundamental level, these conflict with each other. You want to create an experience, you want to give them the flexibility, but then you also run the risk of not being secure. So in a company, to have employee experience and enterprise-grade security, I think that's something that pretty much all of my customers are going through.
Q: So, a lot of this upgrade was based on cloud-based platforms, and lately we are seeing this trend that traditionally you know people used a single cloud-based platform and now that is sort of shifted to a multi cloud-based architecture. What according to you is the reason for this. And how are you catering to it?
A: It's a great question. If you look at what customers are wanting, say you want to offer a service to your customer...The bank says, I want you to have access to this UPI roll out. Increasingly, we are offering new services to the customers by some application or the other. That's what, people are not telling me I need multi-cloud. That's not really going to engage the customer.
VMware is helping many customers across India and then they are thinking, we can build a new application where do I run it, and that's where multi-cloud starts to come in. You can run it in my data centre. Sometimes you will talk to your IT people and they will tell you about the data centre infrastructure, but increasingly people are saying okay, I have the option of public cloud on Amazon, Google, Azure and if you look at all these particular providers, and if you look at all of these, you can tell that hey I can do everything better.
So, as customers are looking at what they want, we're finding that not all the capabilities are available in one cloud, not all clouds are the same...as they start exploring, they find that different clouds for different applications. At the same time, you want to be able to manage all of this together in a way that is consistent. And so that's where we come in, as VMware we are not going to do it in a particular cloud. If we tell you to run this into for instance AWS solution, then we take this application and deploy it into AWS really quick. But if tomorrow you might say I have this new application that's coming up, I might want to use some other clouds. So, we say okay we will help you do that...And we help you access those applications from anywhere with our solutions around Anywhere Workspace. So this is what our customers are doing.
Q: Talking about the multi cloud-based solutions, so it seems something for larger organisations and corporates. But as you know, the Indian market is primarily SME driven. So how do you make it easier for them to access some of these services and make the journey easier for them?
A: So, I think fundamentally the premise is similar. If it is an enterprise that is really very small that has very basic needs, one cloud might be enough for them, or maybe some of them may not even go to a cloud. Not everything has to have five different levels of cloud. And that's my point of view for VMware. We are able to work with the spectrum of the customers.
The ability for a small enterprise that does not have a huge amount of technical setup to be able to pick a cloud that works for them and be able to move seamlessly, which is an advantage, they don't want to get locked into a particular cloud. So, that's very possible for them. You may provide a very good deal with them. The idea is that your innovation is not locked into any particular provider...If something new comes up and you know how India works better with experimenting...I have that flexibility. That's something that we offer our customers.
Q: Since we're talking about multi cloud-based architecture, could you share some insights into the adoption of multi cloud architecture, particularly in India.
A: I can give you an example like IndusInd Bank, they have this new application that they have been doing for CRM...Historically, CRM has always been deployed in the data centre for the private cloud...But then Induslnd CIO said I can take advantage of private cloud right? So, suppose I have infrastructure requirements and it will take five to six weeks for hardware to be delivered, it takes time right to set it up so if my usage goes up, I have the ability to expand first into the cloud. I want to keep these solutions on premises but I have the ability to take advantage of the elasticity….so we actually challenged ourselves and said can we deploy this in IndusInd Bank.
The other use cases for remote desktop. A lot of customers during the pandemic said they wanted desktop as a service...A lot of IT enabled services, and also some that have been running data centres, have exited data centers. I had this in my own data centre, giving up that space, moving this whole thing to the cloud. And the pandemic really forced that conversation because if I can't count on my office itself being accessible why bother. Why don't I move to a place where if I don't have cloud capacity in India, another cloud provider might be able to give me capacity anywhere else in the world so I think especially smaller companies have taken advantage of that...Multiple customers are using their own data centre and cloud or public cloud and taking advantage.
So, remote desktop, data center evacuation, the ability to take advantage of bus capacity you might not need it all the time, but maybe like UPI is a great use case. So how do I account for all that capacity all the time so I like what I have. When can I extend it for a period of time, first capacity. Those are some of the use cases that we've seen.
Q: Alright, so talking about smaller organisations as we were talking at the beginning of the conversation as well. So, during the pandemic, we also saw a lot of companies coming online for the very first time. So, how did you help them in this journey?
A: We worked with firms that are of a certain size. Some were looking for traditional capabilities, for instance, virtualization, a certain number of servers onto their own new capabilities and some were looking for security...If you just need to protect your particular endpoint, many of the things that we talked about multi-cloud, etc, tend to be with firms that have a certain size….virtual desktop service is the ability to secure your desktop remotely. Those are things that we have worked with, who have a defined bandwidth. And as they grow, we have a plan on how we can scale up.
Q: Could you also share some details or maybe talk about some products and services that you introduced basically to meet the demand posed by the companies during the pandemic.
A: Multi-cloud has been there for a while. The big difference is this idea of what we call anywhere workspace because it's genuinely an idea that is here and now and we've spent some time talking about this but this idea that you need to be able to work from anywhere. And while you are doing that you want to make sure that your employees' experiences are well met...There are multiple modes and so I might prefer to work with a Windows machine, you might prefer a Mac, or an Android versus iOS, or you might prefer to go to a virtual desktop, I might want a fully functioning PC. And what we found is that customers need to provide that choice to employees so to be able to pick and choose how you want to work with them...while providing that same security and immersive employee experience.
So how do you make that employee experience really seamless and really flexible...It is something that a lot of customers have been working towards, or they've been challenged by the employee.
...the idea of Anywhere Workspace is really something that we are excited about.
Q: So of late we are seeing this hybrid work culture trend emerging in industries across the globe. So how are your products and services catering to this trend?
A: The idea that we can partner with other firms that do this really well is something that we're working on. So companies like Zoom, for instance, have done really well in the space. And we'll be partnering with them to tie up our capabilities with their tools to be able to offer in a remote environment that is more productive.
What is interesting about it is taking advantage of capabilities that many other firms have and making sure that we work making the virtual environment more real...So really excited about what we do with Anywhere Workspace. The idea that through VMware, customers can work from anywhere and our customers are loving it so far.
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