- In December, VMware created a new business unit called Modern Applications Platform Business Unit (MAPBU), and tapped then CTO Ray O’Farrell to lead it.
- MAPBU aims to deliver products for application developers, and the Google-born cloud project Kubernetes is a key part of it.
- MAPBU includes VMware’s acquisitions of Pivotal and Heptio, as well as other teams at VMware building cloud applications.
- On Tuesday, VMware introduced several new products for its new line of Kubernetes products called Tanzu.
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In December, right before it acquired Pivotal for $2.7 billion, VMware created a new business unit to house the developer software company and other teams at VMware.
This new business unit, called the Modern Applications Platform Business Unit (MAPBU), is led by Ray O’Farrell, who who was previously the Chief Technology Officer at VMware. The new group includes Pivotal and Heptio, the startup that VMware acquired in 2018 for $550 million, as well as other teams at VMware building cloud applications.
The goal of MAPBU is to deliver products for application developers, and one of the key components of that is Kubernetes, a Google-born open source cloud project used to manage and run large-scale applications. Both Heptio and Pivotal have made Kubernetes a key part of their business.
Kubernetes is a key component of MAPBU because it gives developers the flexibility to run applications on multiple clouds, as well as in on-premise data centers.
“Kubernetes is what we believe a key part to bridge the applications developer to the infrastructure operator,” O’Farrell who is now EVP and General Manager, told Business Insider.
MAPBU will also work closely with two of VMware’s other acquisitions: software package company Bitnami and the monitoring platform Wavefront.
‘Appealing to this new customer’
O’Farrell says VMware created MAPBU because in recent years, especially 2018 and 2019, VMware’s overall business strategy has placed “high priority” on supporting developers running their applications across multiple clouds.
“When we have made the various applications, they were all made very much in the spirit of appealing to this new customer,” O’Farrell said.
What’s more, it wanted to bring Pivotal, Heptio, and other teams at VMware together in a more “cohesive” way.
“We decided to do that by giving a singular identity to all these different companies we brought together,” O’Farrell said. “That’s why you see both the creation of the business unit and also the creation of Tanzu to paint a singular identity for those teams. To a customer that’s important as well. You want a customer to look at this in the same way.”
O’Farrell says that while VMware has traditionally been strong when it comes to infrastructure and IT, it now wants to help companies with their cloud applications. It introduced several new products on Tuesday for Tanzu, its line of Kubernetes products. The word Tanzu is the Japanese word for a traditional container used for storing and transporting objects.
“We were the company that supported the infrastructure that ran beneath the applications,” O’Farrell said. “With Tanzu, we are working to turn that same strength from an enterprise management point of view.”
A ‘big bet on Kubernetes’
O’Farrell says acquiring Heptio was a turning point for VMware.
“That was when we immediately placed a big bet on Kubernetes and immediately became a major contributor to the Kubernetes community,” O’Farrell said.
Indeed, VMware is one of the top companies hiring for the most Kubernetes roles. And previously, VMware COO Sanjay Poonen told Business Insider that VMware plans to “create the largest force working on Kubernetes.”
One of its newest products is Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, which helps customers install and run Kubernetes wherever they want. The product tems directly from Heptio’s technology, and it’s embedded into vSphere, which is VMware’s long standing virtualization product.
As for Pivotal, it helps developers be more productive with products such as Spring, which helps with developing in the widespread programming language Java.
Another new product, which VMware announced Tuesday, is called VMware Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu. It’s powered vSphere, which has been re-architected to use Kubernetes. O’Farrell says vSphere has a large existing customer base, so this new product is for those same customers.
“With VMware Cloud Foundation, we’re able to target those enterprises and say we know you need to deliver cloud native solutions to your developers,” O’Farrell said. “We know you want to be able to do this in a comprehensive fashion.”
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