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Gelsinger wants VMware to be the Apple of the data centre

Innovation without arrogance the goal ... just like Cupertino?

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VMworld 2012 Incoming VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has not decided on personal goals for his time in the virty company's big chair, but does know what he hopes is the end result: a reputation for innovation to match that acquired by Apple.

Speaking to a throng of media from Asia-Pacific nations, Gelsinger said he feels he's got a tough gig coming up given that predecessor Paul Maritz deserves an A+ for his financial, technological and vision-expanding activities, which makes him a hard act to follow.

Early in his tenure tenure as CEO, which starts this coming Saturday, Gelsinger will therefore aim to continue Maritz's good works and make sure VMware turns the buzzphrase “software-defined data centre” into something more than the vCloud Suite announced this week. That suite, he said, represents “a good first step” but just the first stage of development.

“I would hope that over my tenure our execution goes from baby steps to something of great significance,” he added, with the outcome that “years from now VMware is one of the truly great companies in the industry.”

To do so Gelsinger feels he wants “the culture of innovation to be solidified.”

“You would look at maybe Apple as the icon of innovation for consumer electronics,” he said, and expressed a desire that observers will, in future, “look at VMware as the icon of innovation in the data center and IT operations and infrastructure. We would have that long consistent perspective of innovation going forward.”

Adding that a CEO is “uniquely responsible for the culture of a company” he said he hopes VMware can emulate Apple without developing an arrogant streak.

“I would hope VMware becomes maniacally focused on customers, continues to partner with the ecosystem and not only do the right things but do them the right ways.”

Whether the right things include a closed ecosystem, massive margins, a culture of secrecy and a vicious squad of lawyers was not discussed.

One thing Gelsinger did discuss was that he will soon be “Flying to Texas to meet Michael Dell” and conducting similar such meetings to re-assure the industry that VMware's course settings are steady as she goes. Those meetings will include chats with Cisco, which he says has nothing to fear despite VMware's Nicira acquisition.

"We do not see this as eliminating the need for networking equipment,” he said, ”just as server visualization did not eliminate the need for servers. The software-defined network still needs hardware to work on.” ®

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