Episode 66: VMware? VMhere with Sean O’Dell

Episode Summary

VMware is shifting its business as more companies move code to the cloud. What does that mean for the company internally? In this episode, Corey gets an inside view of this shift and discusses some recent acquisitions the company has made to change its business model.

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

About Sean O'Dell

Sean is a troublemaker living on the bleeding edge of technology and innovation. As a member of the VMware Cloud Services - Solution and Technology team, Sean is responsible for Evangelism, Developer Relations and assists in many GTM functions. Sean joined VCS in February of 2017 and helped shape and launch the set of SaaS solutions at VMworld 2017. Prior roles include Global Technical Lead for Network Insight (vRNI), Sales Engineer Leader for Arkin, VMware Cloud Management SE and CUSTOMER.

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Announcer: Hello and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host cloud economist Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on this state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.

Corey Quinn: This week’s episode is generously sponsored by Digital Ocean. I’d argue that every cloud platform biases for different things. Some bias for having nearly every feature you could possibly want as a managed service at varying degrees of complexity. Others bias for, “Hey! We heard there was money in the cloud and we’d like it if you would give us some of that!” Digital Ocean is neither. From my perspective, they bias for simplicity. 

Corey Quinn: I wanted to validate that so I polled a few friends of mine about why they were using Digital Ocean for a few things, and they pointed out a few things. They said it was very easy and clear to understand what you were doing and what it took to get up and running when you started something with Digital Ocean. That other offerings have a whole bunch of shenanigans with root access and IP addresses and effectively consulting the bones to make those things to work together. Digital Ocean makes it simpler. In 60 seconds they were able to get root access to a Linux box with an IP. That’s it. That was a direct quote except for the part where I took out a bunch of profanity about other cloud providers. 

Corey Quinn: The fact that the bill wasn’t a whodunnit murder mystery was compelling as well. It’s a fixed-price offering. You always know what you’re going to wind up paying in a given month. Best of all, you don’t have to spend 12 weeks going to cloud school to understand all their different offerings. They also include monitoring and alerting across the board and they’re not exactly small-time. Over 150,000 businesses and three-and-half million developers are using them. So give them a try. Visit do.co/screaming, and they’ll give you a free $50 credit to try it. That’s do.co/screaming. Thanks again to Digital Ocean for their support of Screaming in the Cloud. 

Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I'm Corey Quinn. I feel the need to point out, at the beginning of this show, that guests are always invited to speak. Sometimes people suggest themselves, but it's always something that's based around whether or not it makes sense, whether there's a story I think is there. You cannot buy your way into being a guest on this show. Bearing that in mind, please welcome Sean O'Dell, developer and cloud advocate from VMware. Welcome to the show, Sean.

Sean: Thanks Corey. Glad to be here and I'm looking forward to the banter today.

Corey: Absolutely. And the reason I feel the need to caveat your presence here is that lately VMware has been on a little bit of a buying spree. You've acquired a bunch of interesting companies that we'll get to a little bit later and it's very strange. It seems like a company that is moving very determinedly in a particular direction, but it's not clear what that direction is. So, what is VMware and what do you folks do?

Sean: Yeah, absolutely. So VMware, historically ... right? I think everybody knows VMware is vSphere or ESXi, right? And it's prime 86% of the hypervisor market. You know, VMware owned it. Like it was the highest number. Kind of the crazy number that we saw. And then, from that, we built an ecosystem around, obviously with plenty of partners. But then obviously VMware went into the hybrid cloud management space with the v realized stack, went into the end user computing space in mobility with Airwatch and some of our, you know, our own solutions. Obviously, Airwatch was another acquisition we made. And then I think kind of the two pivots before ... or I guess maybe the last pivot before we talk about what we're going now is, into the networking and security space, right, with the acquisition of Nicira and a few other things around them. And really, you know, VMware solidified kind of the next generation data center, if you want to call it that, and then ultimately the hybrid cloud.

And now, I think if you go back to VMWorld two years ago and then solidified last year, both in US and Barcelona, it is becoming a multi-cloud company. So no longer focused purely on the vSphere hypervisor. And so, that's a little bit nervy for a lot of folks. But at the same time, we firmly believe, because our customers are telling us this, is that they are becoming multi-cloud companies, right? So we need to be able to support AWS, Azure, Google just as well, or treat them as first class citizens just like we do vSphere. So that's kind of the future direction. And obviously we can talk a little bit about Kubernetes as well.

Corey: So if I take a look back, I've been seeing VMware in the marketplace for about 20 years, give or take. I consider you folks the beast of many products. And instinctively, that sort of got me stuck somewhere where I think of you folks as cutting edge technology from 2002. If I'm being less charitable, I've referred to you as the payday lender of technical debt. And I wouldn't have had you on the show if I thought that this was a truism and there was no value in anything that you were going to say that was not going to change my mind. And even before having you on this, I've started to find that my own view of your company is starting to change. I will admit that you folks do have a serious problem of taking random words and putting the word ... putting the Letter v in front of them.

That's a little, okay ... we're ... I get it. Branding. It's a thing. But let's start with what we ... I guess what you just alluded to. There've been a number of interesting companies that you've acquired. Most recently, you have wavefront, Hepti-I-O, or Heptio, however they want to pronounce it, Cloud Health and Bitnami, which some people mispronounce as Bitnami. So, the easy and facile answer is that you have acquired these things just to ruin them. And you're this decade's Symantec. I imagine, based upon conversations with folks at those companies, that there's something else in mind. What is, I guess, the vision of the future as you see it?

Sean: Yeah, 100% and I would also argue we are not a ... We're not a mainframe company. So, we're not that old in legacy ... No, just kidding.

Corey: No, that would have been the seventies or sixties.

Sean: Exactly. Right? So, you got the 30 year advance, right? No. To be very clear Corey, you know, VMware solidified itself, right as you mentioned, in the, you know, private cloud, hybrid cloud, in The vCloud, if you want to call it that. Right? And I think as an organization, obviously top down, we realized our customers were moving to the public cloud, right? They were moving to Kubernetes or cloud native architectures in a lot of ways. So, it was either stay in the past and only support vSphere, or move to the future while continuing to improve vSphere. Right. And I think we probably won't get into it a lot today, but we now have partnerships with Amazon, Azure, Google to run the vSphere hypervisor in their public cloud. Right? So, that's-

Corey: Well, yes. Your partner's strategy looks a lot like AWS's product strategy. It's a post it note that says yes on it and that's about it. I mean, and again, given what you do, that's not a terrible decision. The challenge that I see is that the selling point for VMware in a modern day cloud, and maybe I'm misinterpreting this, has been that you can take whatever VMs you're running today in your data centers, and without changing a thing, move them seamlessly into public cloud providers. And that is a thing that occasionally is extremely useful as a component of a larger vision, as a transitional step, but rarely as an end goal in and of itself. And it almost feels, to a number of folks out here, that that story is more or less kicking the can down the road yet again on modernizing a legacy architecture that fundamentally will not do well in a cloud environment.

If you have a specific virtual machine that if that goes down, so does your application, that's an architectural problem that is going to become much more pronounced in a public cloud environment than it likely will in your on prem environment. And a lack of awareness around that, or trying to paper over that idea, seems to be doing, in some respects, the industry a bit of a disservice, because people believe what you say, your VMware. Your words carry weight.

Sean: So let me answer this in kind of two parts. I'll actually address the kick the can down the road. Right? You know, I'm not a huge fan of the term. I think I understand where everybody, you know, is attempting to drive with that. But to be fair, our customers are asking for ways to utilize the resources, the knowledge, the historical utilization consumption, you know, understanding of the VMware ecosystem in the public cloud. Right? And that's only part of the picture, right? If we only focus there, sure, maybe you could say, "Well yeah, they're just kicking the can down the road. They're trying to be, you know, the same thing they've been for 20 years and not really modernize."

But what most people don't understand, or I guess we haven't done the best job of articulating, is while we're continuing that strategy, we've invested heavily in this idea of instead of using the vSphere hypervisor everywhere, why don't we provide things like operations management, visibility, cost analysis, security on native public cloud workloads, right? So consuming those eight in public cloud workloads and making sure, really based upon customer desires, needs, concerns, that they are meeting enterprise standards. You know, oftentimes we talk with customers. You know, given one customer specifically, obviously without naming names. But in their case they have a vSphere team or a VMware team that runs their private cloud hybrid cloud on vSphere. They have an entirely separate team that's running AWS, and an entirely separate team running GCP. Right? And in those scenarios, there's no cohesiveness.

There's no knowledge that transfer back and forth, and they end up managing independent systems. And so, we're really kind of at the beginning stages of that. And that's why you see acquisitions like Cloud Health, right? Or Bitnami. And then we ... you know, we'll talk about Heptio as we get into it. But to summarize that, there's really a two prong approach, continue to enhance the hybrid cloud and bringing, you know, on premises data center into the public cloud in that fashion. But secondarily, and just as important, is expanding to becoming a true multi-cloud company, truly seeing all workloads, whether it's you know, Amazon, EC2, rds, red, you know, red shift, whatever you want to name it, Azure AKX or GKE, treating everything as a first class citizen, which means something that doesn't run a vSphere hypervisor all the time. Right?

So, it's definitely a transitional shift and I think you'll continue to see that as we move forward.

Corey: And I'm never going to be sitting here saying that the best approach is to be nonresponsive to customer needs and customer pain. I'm ... I think that if you start down the path of correcting your customers when they tell you they have a pain and need to do a thing, that leads down to a very condescending place that I'm not sure benefits anyone. The counterpoint too, I think that also strengthens your argument, is that a lot of your customers are not Twitter for pets born in the cloud companies that are three years old. These are enterprise companies that predate either public cloud entirely or responsible use of public cloud. And they have very different needs, very different workloads. I ...

When you start talking to that caliber of customer, a lot of my ranting, for lack of a better term, against multi-cloud changes form slightly. When you have a bunch of different lines of business, when you have different acquisitions, for example, running a different cloud providers, you're right. There's very little reason to start merging those to a single provider. That's a lot of work that generates a unclear business value. And until you get clarity around exactly what that value looks like, you probably shouldn't do it. Where I've been ranting about the idea of multi-cloud being dumb is that you take a given workload and be able to seamlessly deploy that workload anywhere. It doesn't care where it lives.

And that, to be clear, is something that VMware is very good at doing. That was, in many respects, something you were doing even in on prem environments where we want to be able to have vMotion and move a VM off of a failed instance onto something else without dropping a packet. And that can be done, which is amazing. And then the world changed. Now, people are trying to do that between providers and it very often doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Because as soon as you start doing that, you wind up in this unfortunate world where you are reduced to using the baseline primitives of any ... of what all of these lowest common denominator offerings tend to be, which means you're not going to be using a message queue that you get for effectively free.

You're going to have to roll your own in a bunch of vms running in VMware and that has to migrate too. And it just leads down a very unpleasant architectural path. It's strange. Because, on the one hand, that is something that your company is ... effectively was built on top of and continuing to evangelize that is in the company's own best interest. The other side is with these ... this new breed of acquisition that you've been doing. You are painting a path to a brighter tomorrow. And it ...

I no longer .... When I hear that someone is considering engaging with VMware as a part of their public cloud strategy, I no longer immediately have the knee jerk reaction to crap all over it. It's, "Well, let's talk about that more. Oh, cloud health. Okay. That's a reasonable path forward. Heptio great, awesome." We don't know what the Bitnami a merger is going to look like ... or acquisition is going to look like yet. I have ... I'm still biting my time on that one.

Sean: Sure.

Corey: But there's a lot of this stuff that makes ... that makes it a lot of sense. It's you're starting to diversify not just your product lines but also your messaging. And that, I think, is one of the most interesting things out of you folks.

Sean: Yeah. And to be fair, right? When you go into this, as you mentioned, you know, the idea of moving a workload between clouds, I would argue that's lift and shift. And in most cases, lift and shift is more expensive in the public cloud, right? When you literally take an over-provisioned workload or a, you know, shrink wrap application and attempt to move it to the public cloud ... which we've seen organizations do it. Right. I can name several off the top of my head. The problem is-

Corey: I'm an advocate for that, but that's a separate argument.

Sean: Correct. But there's literally no optimization, right. Or at least it's the initial stage and then they have to clean up. And-

Corey: Right.

Sean: And it just-

Corey: To be clear, I'm a fan of it as a transitional step.

Sean: Correct.

Corey: Because shifting it while you move it means that now we have no idea where this problem is coming from.

Sean: Correct.

Corey: It's nicer to be able to move it first, take the financial hit, and then optimize as phase two. But you've got to do phase two and it's going to take longer than you think.

Sean: Correct. And so some organizations have decided, "Okay, fine, I'm not actually gonna do a lift and shift. I'm going to do a complete refactor." Well, the initial cost of that tends to be greater than actually doing the initial lift and shift. Right? We can get into ... And by the way, we're speaking in generic terms here, every organization is different. The one thing I would say though is VMware is doing this kind of two step, if you want to call it that, right? We absolutely are continuing to improve on what we've built over the past, you know, 18, 19, 20 years, right? But at the same time, we truly are embracing organizations, right? With ... I'll use Cloud Health as an example. We looked at Cloud Health and pretty much most of the Cloud Health customers, when they purchased Cloud health, it wasn't the traditional VM ware team that was also buying Cloud Health, right?

It was two separate parts of the organization. It was two separate buyers, in some cases, very unique buyers. And so that gives us a completely different view into this public cloud world, right? We now have a better understanding of how consumers ... you know, how many users are consuming the public cloud, why they moved to the public cloud in the first place. And we're not going to take Cloud Health and be like, "All right. Well, let's go prove, you know, if you take all of your Azure workloads and you put them back on vSphere ... "

We're not even doing that. That's not even in the question or in the equation. We are absolutely giving our customers options. If you want to run native GCP, go for it. If you want to run native VMware, go for it. You know, there was some talk that, "Oh, we're gonna, you know ..." that organizations were getting out of the VMware business, or out of the data center business. And that was a couple of years ago. What we've actually seen is those organizations who came to us and said, "Yeah, we're going to slowly transition out VM-ware and maybe move to a 80/20 model or a 75/25 model public cloud versus on prem," they're actually shifting back a little bit, right? Maybe 50/50, 40/60, and so on.

And so, now what we have is the ... the really the desire of VMware. And as I stated earlier, two years ago when we announced this focus on multi-cloud, or the focus to support multiple workloads, that was really that entry point. And we're just two years into this now. And it's truly just starting, right? That's why we ended up making additional acquisitions, whether it's Bitnami ... I love the Bitn AMI, by the way, so keep it going. It's actually perfect.

Corey: Oh yes. Their CEO continues to roll eyes whenever I say that. Their former COO actually tries to hit me. It's great. It just goes great.

Sean: No. And I actually saw Daniel this week. So, just to be clear, the acquisition is final. Pat actually announced it on the earnings call last week. And we're excited to have the Bitnami team onboard. We've got some fun things that we're doing. It really is a portfolio enhancement, right?

Or, helping our customers transition to public cloud. Or even if you want to go back to the idea of moving a workload from on prem to public cloud or between public clouds, having an enterprise catalog to do that makes sense, right? And then you only have to shift the data. But that's way in the weeds. But we are absolutely excited about the direction. And thank you. Obviously, you have plenty of snark and comments about VMware historically. And look, if we can chip away, whether it's monthly or yearly, whatever it may be, to change the perception, we're happy to do it. Right? I think for us the next phase is the developer space or the cloud native space, so lots opportunity to to improve and learn from our customers, and then go from there.

Corey: Largely the cloud native and developer space is something of an untapped market for VMware historically, other than things like VMware workstation or VMware fusion so that you can run different operating systems on your Mac or windows or Linux box. And things like Docker have more or less taken a chunk out of that where that's no longer the workflow that people go with. They aren't going with license fees for enterprise commercial software for this problem anymore. And of course, with the rise of public cloud, click button receive actual instance in environment, which means that even local Dev is something of a controversial approach these days.

Some people want to do their work entirely in a cloud environment. Cool. I don't tend to be particularly prescriptive around workloads. The challenge though turns into how do you parlay the experience you have working and speaking to giant enterprise companies into a relatively, smaller definitionally, cloud native type of environment where they're not cloud migrants. They're cloud natives and they have a relatively small team. What they start working with is likely what they'll continue working with as they become those larger corporate entities. How do you speak to them? How do you reach them?

Sean: Yeah, 100%. I would say this VM ware is a software company. At the end of the day, as an organization, we've been developing software for a long time. You know, one could argue the VMware hypervisor kind of spun this idea hyperscalers and all that good stuff. And so we, as an organization, right ... You know, traditionally we would build software in a very waterfall, I called it aged and that's just my fun term. Because it would take, you know, 18 months to get a brand new vSphere release, right? Well with this transition as becoming a SaaS company and becoming a modern, if you want to use that term, or a cloud native type, we started actually doing that with vSphere, right? We do that in the VMC model, where in some cases we're ... you know, we can push out code every day if need be or every other day.

And then ultimately, that ends up pushing back into our ... you know, back into the on premises and hybrid cloud solutions. Right? So we are a software company. We use a lot of open source software, right? There is no ... I think one thing a lot of folks struggle with in this developer enterprise space is, "Well, you're going to either use all shrink wrap or you're going to use all open source, right? If you're a true cloud native company."

Well, the problem with that, when you get in the enterprise, it's really a conglomerate. And we have organizations that are using part us, part IBM, part Red Hat, part open source in some fashions, right? So, it's finding the balance in all of that. And I think where my team, my organization, to be clear, right? We started the developer and advocacy program here at VMware focusing on developer needs, public cloud needs. And then, obviously we'll bring that on, you know, back to the on prem private cloud. But we need to be able to encompass multiple aspects, right? Everything starts with a pipeline. It should live and die in the pipeline, right? Our group, we run something called cloud journey. And it's kind of our take on this approach of public cloud into the developer agility space, if you want to use that term.

And so, even for us, as cloud journey continues to evolve, our team, very small today, we're trying to do things like bringing cost analysis into the pipeline, right? We had a meet up just this past week where we were highlighting how to take Cloud Health and the cost of an AKS cluster in Azure, and could I provision to it based upon my budget of that particular workload or project and so on? That's really where this changes. And then the second thing that we have, and we've kind of looked at from a ... not only from a continuous verification perspective, but as looking at the security aspects, and making calls to open source solutions like Clair to look up CVEs inside of our containers, or, you know, all the way to, "Let's make configuration changes to our open S3 bucket that may be okay, but it's unencrypted on the back of that."

There's so many things that we get into. What we wanted to do is just start the path and start the journey. And so, as we've done this, really developers internally are starting to provide expertise, right? VMware has run an SRE team for about two years now, right? Internally on our own solutions. So we are a software company, we are going to continue to be a software company and we've gotten rid of some of those pieces along the way that we failed up. But we want to make sure that we're listening to those customers. If it's open source or on, you know ... or a shrink wrap, whatever it may be, we're here to bundle it together and really be an independent third party. Some cases, it may be our tools, and some cases it may not be. And that's absolutely okay. That's a little bit different than, "Hey, you have to run our hypervisor." And so this transition's been a little bit fun and we're just getting started there.

Corey: I think that there's an interesting future ahead for you folks, whether or not you're able to successfully navigate this, I guess, complete landscape transformation is something I don't think we're going to have an answer to for another 20 years. It's ... There's so much going on in this space. And the companies that, well, I guess you deal with primarily as well as the company that you are, is at such a scale that even small changes take forever to wind up percolating through. There's an inertia problem where steering the ship takes years, if not decades. Can you talk at all about what that cultural transformation looks like internally? Is it something where it feels like you're swimming against the tide? Is the company relatively aligned on where it's going next? Is it a topic we don't want to get into?

Sean: No. This is a fun topic. So, this is in a couple parts. I think if you look at it from a leadership, from an investment perspective, right, at the c suite and the broad strategy as an organization ... look, we've been on this journey for a couple of years now, we've made multiple acquisitions. We've made changes internally to that. But the thing I would argue is there are still people buying mainframes, right? So when we get into that mainframe conversation, there's these, what we call, main frame huggers. We had server huggers right before the hypervisor kind of took over. And now, we have vSphere huggers, right? And that's okay. To each his own or her own. But what we have to understand is while there be still some mainframe huggers or vSphere huggers out there, there's actually a growing community of folks who realize that not everything is going to sit on a single hypervisor or inside a ... you know, one methodology from a cloud perspective. Right?

And internally ... obviously leadership, as I mentioned before, but even across the board, right? Teams are fully embracing the idea of workload portability, if you want to use that, to allow for workloads to be on Kubernetes or on, you know, even OpenStack, right? We have one of the leading distributions of OpenStack. And so, we are able to, I think, navigate that in a proper fashion. Are we perfect? No, not at all. But I think we're learning, we're growing. And I think that chasm has already been crossed, obviously from a leadership perspective, from an investment perspective, but even in the weeds, right? VMware has absolutely focused on public cloud and on cloud native where we had not been traditionally.

Corey: So, one other thing that I mentioned somewhat recently that of course set off a tremendous reaction from folks, and I suspect that given where you work, your reaction will be no different than most, was that I wrote a blog post titled Rightsizing your Instances is Nonsense. And in that post, I made the argument that yes it does wind up saving a lot of money, and yes, it's absolutely a good thing to do. But whenever you look at an existing workload, modernizing it to a newer instance family type or resizing the one that you've got is nowhere near as trivial, in many cases, as people like to pretend it is. And I got, "well actually" to death, but I stand by it. Hit me with it. What are your thoughts on that?

Sean: Yeah. You know, I wish you would not have put that out late on a Friday night, or I probably would've commented too. But to be very clear, right? We absolutely work day in and day out with organizations who are doing right sizing, whether that is in the private cloud or in the public cloud. I can say personally, when I was ... you know, six, seven years ago when I was focused on the private cloud, we absolutely ... of the hybrid cloud, the VMware cloud, we absolutely work with customers to improve usability of resources and the consumption of said sources, right? We have organizations. You know, maybe we go back to the lift and shift methodology, where they do need to do some rightsizing, right? There needs to be an improvement. There are some workloads, right sizing doesn't make sense. And I think this really goes back to the customer question.

One of the things that I know I have tried to do and our team and our organization tries to do is just really give customers choice. I mean, I've got example example where rightsizing saves money, or the purchase of RIs or convertible RIs saves money. So, you know, there are absolute technical challenges. I think we could go into those into individual pieces and parts. While I would say rightsizing is not insane or unimportant, I would say it really depends on the scenario. It depends on the organization and the model. But I can tell ya if we could, under NDA, I would absolutely show you some really good examples of our customers do this, how they do it, and ultimately the savings that they gain from it. So, to each his own. If you put me back in an organization where it didn't make sense, I'd probably say it doesn't make sense. I just think that it comes down to options and it really depends on context.

Corey: Absolutely. And that, I think is the entire crux of the argument with less of a click bait title.

Sean: Yes.

Corey: Where the idea being that, yes, there are tremendous financial and performance gains to be had. And when it makes sense, absolutely do it. But if it winds up having to re-certify an application.

Sean: Sure.

Corey: That is a process that was going to take months to do. And it winds up saving you good work at a $300 a month, that's not generally worth doing. It's if you can do it and it's a trivial change over the course of an hour or so, and you just ... you have an auto scaling group that now re-provisions it, and there's no other changes that are workload impacting. Great. Awesome. Go for that. That's absolutely fine. I'm just ... I guess by saying that, what I'm trying to achieve as an outcome is this idea that if you wind up going down this path, just make sure you know what you're getting into.

Sean: Correct.

Corey: It all comes down to context.

Sean: Correct. And look, if you de-couple ... I mean, let me just take the easiness of the public light. If you've done this right, and we'll pick on Amazon, you can change from one class to another. As long as you've decoupled the data and you've not written everything to the OS partition, then you're probably fine, right? It just depends on how it was architected, you know? And in the context, if it is an application that the organization developed, that probably is easier to do this. But if you get into some of the shrink wrap applications where they make sure you ... that dictates certain parameters and installation types and how it was deployed, probably don't support auto scaling, right? That's where you get into that gray area of does this make sense?

And I think, you know, depending on the organization, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Right? That comes down to the dollars and cents question that we all should look at in a much bigger picture. But maybe, cause I know my Cloud Health team would hate me if I didn't say it, we absolutely do have customers do it and we're always here to kind of go back and forth, and work with them to find those gaps. It's not just instance types. It could be RIs. That's another area. I mean, even VMware is a customer of Cloud Health. We've saved significantly with RIs and CRIs. And so, it's just getting into the conversation past the clickbait. Clickbait's all good man. That ... I actually laughed at it. And so, you know, let's just get into the context.

Corey: Sounds good to me. I think that a lot of the challenges that we'll see in this space is that, to some extent, coming from the type of company ... like, for example, Cloud Health. Now, that's your problem, your responsibility, where you wind up ...

At least, as I go through talking to companies with large budgets, challenges, the dashboards that get spit out by any of the tooling in this space are effectively working from the same starting point, where they're established APIs, at least in the AWS space that you can wind up pulling this data from. And then what you do with that is up to you. And very often, it serves as a useful starting point, but it doesn't get you there as far as it doesn't provide context. As soon as you wind up with that tool suggesting that, "Okay, now it's time to turn off those idle instances. And what were those? Oh, the DR Site."

Sean: Yeah.

Corey: Well, people start to take it less seriously. Two or three outings like that and people tend to view it as largely useless. That's largely unfair, but it does wind up providing, I guess, a psychological reinforcement that tools are not to be trusted in this space. It lacks context and it lacks business awareness. And to be blunt, I don't know how you fix that from a SaaS perspective.

Sean: Well ... So, to be fair, there is an evolution or a journey that our customers are on, right? Everybody in the industry, you know, unless you're just a cloud native company, like a Netflix, where you've done this, you've built this. I mean, you don't don't need to go back, right? You don't have the history to go along with it. If they're doing it right. And I'll use VMware as an example 'cause we don't mind talking about it. If you tag your workloads properly, if you are doing the necessary Beta data layers to your applications, and when you provision them, if it's terraform or Ansible, you know, whatever solution you're using in the industry or even our own, if you don't tag those workloads, you're already setting yourself back, right? So context comes from the organization itself.

And what we have is we have customers who use our perspectives. And they have tagged properly or they go back and tag properly to provide that context. And then, that's where the slicing and dicing of the data comes in. And I will say it's totally ... It's not only about cost savings, right? We want to get into governance, right? Should Tim on my team be able to provision a $10,000 a day workload in Azure, right? Or should he be able to, you know, make changes to a security group or some firewall within one of the public clouds, right? So, we're absolutely into expand it beyond cost. But the cost conversation is one that always comes up first. And then, we kind of see the security. And then, we kind of get into some other areas around governance and so on. So, this is a journey that everyone is on. If they want help with some of the context, let me know. I can give some tips, right? There's not only our stuff but others out there who attempt to articulate the idea of using the Beta data in your favor. But some organizations didn't do it at the start, right? So they obviously have to do a little bit of homework.

Corey: Absolutely. And I don't think that you're ever going to get away from having to do homework. As much as we want to pretend that it's push button receive cloud. I don't think that there's a particularly clear path to get there. And we can get close, but I don't think we're ever going to get there. And it's almost a question of do we find that answer here? Do we find it there? Do we find it VM ware? And no, I'm not apologizing for that.

Sean: Pun intended. Right? I think everyone in this industry, right? We all want to come in and have our, you know, extremely opinionated view. And we know better than everyone else. But just like any net new technology or any, you know, truly differentiated organization, there's a series of learning and a series of opinions, right? And I think obviously I'm very biased in this fashion. I do think VMware has an opportunity because of our history and because of what we were able to do in the on Prem space, right? We had hardware providers galore that we were able to work with from an ecosystem perspective. But now, we want to be able to do the same thing in the public cloud. Do we have all the answers today? Not at all. Are we getting answers? Yes.

And we're continuing to work and harbor the questions back and forth with our customers and non customers alike. There are some done VMware customers that are now coming into VMware say, "Hey, I've got a challenge in the public clouds. How can you help me?" Right? So, we're here to do that. We're here to help in that fashion. And it's a fun journey to be on so far.

Corey: I would agree with you. Sean. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. Where can people find more of your wise thoughts?

Sean: Wise thoughts? Well, thank you for the kind words. Thank you for the opportunity to be on here. Follow me on Twitter. I am the Sean O'Dell, @theseanodell. Yes, that's a gay like version, S-E-A-N. And then, find our team, my fearless leader, Bill Shetty, Melinda Psi, teammates, Dan, Tim, Wia and Tree, we're all on cloudjourney.io.

We're about to do a quick refresh of the page here in the next couple of weeks. Its going to be fun. It's exciting. We write things that have nothing to do with vSphere. And we write things that oftentimes have nothing to do with VMware solutions, right? So, that are focused on public cloud, cloud native, and so on. So give us a shout out, reach us tweet us, you know, beat us up. Whatever you want to do. We're here to engage and always exciting to work with the community and just see what everyone's doing.

Corey: Sounds good to me. Thanks once again. This is Sean O'Dell, developer and cloud advocate at VMware. I'm Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud.

Announcer: This has been this week's episode of Screaming in the Cloud. You can also find more Corey at screaminginthecloud.com, or wherever find snark is sold.

Announcer: This has been a HumblePod Production. Stay humble.

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