CloudLIVE Day 2: With Innovation Comes Change

Devan Weed
Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Sep. 25, 2019
8 minute read

To kickoff today’s impressive line-up of keynote speakers, Tom Axbey, VP & GM of CloudHealth by VMware, took the stage and welcomed over 600 registrants from 14 different countries around the world.

Axbey was soon joined by Sanjay Poonen, COO of VMware, to discuss everything from the changing enterprise landscape to the (somewhat surprising) announcement that VMware planned to acquire both Carbon Black and Pivotal by the close of the fiscal year.

Today, CloudHealth empowers the digital transformation of over 7000 customers worldwide and has $11.2 billion in public cloud spend under management. Now part of the VMware family for nearly a year, CloudHealth has access to VMware’s partnerships and resources, providing users with unparalleled cost visibility, threat detection, and governance capabilities with each of their cloud environments. 

As enterprises change, so must CXOs 

Poonen started his keynote by diving into the changing world of enterprise and what this shift means for the cloud industry as a whole. Poonen emphasized the important, and oftentimes complicated, role CXOs play in their organization as one who both monitors their team's financials and gets involved with the day-to-day spending, yet empowers them to be agile through hands-off management. Poonen then went on to explain this further. Inside big enterprises, as you start to drill down into specific lines of business, applications are being built by individuals and small teams who are just swiping credit cards left and right. And this practice, known to many in the industry as ‘shadow IT’, was for a while was considered a problematic financial practice. As Poonen talked to more and more customers, he found that in reality, this practice isn’t the most concerning thing. To be honest, providing this financial freedom is actually an extremely practical way for CXOs to allow their developers to build applications at scale and at speed.

The enterprise is going through a fundamental shift in IT.

- Tom Axbey, VP & GM of CloudHealth by VMware 

Poonen admitted that simply trying to eliminate this financial practice isn't the most realistic solution. Although practices should be implemented to ensure there is some degree of internal oversight on purchases and provisioning, a better option might be for CXOs to instill a culture of proactive financial responsibility and then track, manage, and chargeback spend after. While organizations might find that they still have fragmented costs, there are solutions available to clean most of that practice up and provide peace of mind to the C-suite without losing the speed and agility that developers need. 

What’s driving native cloud adoption? 

Poonen stated that it’s all about cost, agility, speed, and security. But those aren’t always the solutions users find organically. And that with applications being built across lines of business, they are becoming more container-based and it’s only going to get more complex. It is critical that VMware works to enable these applications because it is the most obvious space where the cloud and native technology are going to merge. Based on this reality, we recognize the obvious need to reduce the complexity gap, and it’s VMware's mission to be your channel of innovation that will enable you to be successful.


Through both organic and inorganic expansion, VMware is going to dramatically expand their presence in the cloud as well as completely revolutionize digital security.

Poonen had the crowd laughing when he jokinly made a comparison between peanut butter and jelly, or whatever the audience picked as their favorite duo, as a metaphor for how cloud management and security go together better than anything else. It's the relationship between the two that influenced VMware's recent $2.1B acquisition of another Boston-based company, Carbon Black—an industry leader in cloud-native endpoint security software. 

Take the same DNA of VMware’s ruthless execution, merge that with CloudHealth and Carbon Black’s footprint in the cloud management and digital security space—we’ll be unstoppable.

- Sanjay Poonen, the COO of VMware 

What's the difference between hybrid cloud and multicloud again?

Lauren Nelson, Principal Analyst at Forrester, led the second keynote of the morning. For many years Nelson has helped companies build meaningful cloud strategies, and raised the point that while most organizations have (or have thought about building) a multicloud strategy, the idea itself is actually an extremely vague term. 

Above all what we really help companies with is sort through everything that's going on in their day to day and make meaningful changes to their strategy.

- Lauren Nelson, Forrester 

Although hybrid cloud and multicloud are discussed frequently, everyone seems to bring their own definition of the terms to the conversation. Nelson started her keynote by breaking down the terms very simply: hybrid cloud refers to 'cloud and anything else' and multicloud (as it sounds) is the purposeful use of multiple clouds,.

Keeping in line with her self-declared data nerdiness, Nelson backed up everything she mentioned in her keynote with key stats from a Forrester report that surveyed North American and European companies with 1,000 or more employees. One of the most jarring statistic that she mentioned focused on this idea of term ambiguity. 74% of responders say they would agree that they are leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy. However, based on Forrester's awareness that most people have their own definitions of hybrid cloud, they took a deep dive into the data and saw that most respondents, by definition, were actually using a multicloud environment. 

We're being told by everyone that we should have a multicloud strategy, but its such a vague term. What does it really mean for the context of your organization?"

There are no two cloud strategies that look alike.

- Lauren Nelson, Forrester

In Nelson's experience, organizations are less concerned about portability and movement of applications, and are more concerned about the performance and build of the application itself—for instance, they may ask themselves ‘what am I going to learn later about this application that may later lead to a poor or unsecure user experience?’. This will often lead to conversations around the mobility of that application, but this isn't necessarily the first priority.

Nelson then addressed the common misconception as to the core reason why enterprise organizations choose to support large digital platforms––and the truth is, they often don’t have a choice. Instead, the pressure is brought on by outside parties such as customers or partners. The most extreme example on Nelson’s radar was the 2017 incident when Wal-Mart publicly threatened to cut ties with its vendors should they choose to start and/or continue leveraging AWS as their primary cloud provider––and as a result, many were forced to migrate. 


It makes you wonder why organizations leverage multicloud at all? Nelson asked, ‘What’s the tradeoff of not doing this?’. Having multiple clouds sounds great (who doesn't love options?), but is the added complexity and added friction worth it? Is the potential loss in speed and agility worth the risk? 

Thankfully for the audience, Nelson dove into 6 best practices for successful multicloud management. After these two intense keynotes, attendees had the opportunity to grab a donut and a cup of coffee and head off to their day full of sessions. After an extremely busy day, all attendees had the opportunity to relax and enjoy the new Encore casino and hotel by attending the CloudLIVE party at the hottest club in Boston, Encore’s Memoire nightclub! 

Check out the CloudLIVE event page for more exiciting announcements and daily recaps!