VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram Sees Open RAN 5G Fueling Growth

Raghuram shared his observations after 100 days as CEO.


VMware's Raghu Raghuram

VMware’s Raghu Raghuram

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram expects virtualizing distributed edge networks and 5G infrastructure from multiple providers will fuel the company’s growth. Raghuram shared his assessment with analysts and media Friday, after completing his first 100 days as VMware’s new CEO.

VMware's Sumit Dhawan

VMware’s Sumit Dhawan

The 18-year VMware veteran was COO and executive vice president when the company named him to replace longtime CEO Pat Gelsinger. VMware’s newly promoted president, Sumit Dhawan, joined Raghuram during Friday’s webcast, where the two fielded questions.

While the executives discussed VMware’s continued focus on vertical industry and validated solutions, they emphasized the telco service provider opportunity. Specifically, they see VMware playing a key role in enabling 5G interoperability as service providers move to Open Radio Area Networks (O-RAN).

Major global carriers are members of the O-RAN Alliance including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Verizon and Vodafone, among others. The VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, launched in April, lets CSPs virtualize O-RAN capabilities and deploy open RAN architectures. Before it was available, DISH Network announced plans last year to build an Open RAN network based on VMware’s offering.

“One of our service provider customers once said: ‘we are the operating system for 5G,” Raghuram said. “That summarizes our position on how valuable this is as they build on these 5G networks.”

Dhawan emphasized the opportunity for 5G. “It’s going to bring in new applications, because of the power of software defined edge and software defined radio area networks, which are open, which is what our platform provides,” he said. It will provide “new innovations that we can’t even think about today.”

As service providers add support for Open RAN, Dhawan said it will have significant implications in making 5G accessible. “For the purpose of society, this creates digital equity for everyone, because now you have this open edge and open RAN solutions, which is just cell towers built on top of open technologies that build amazing applications accessible to everyone rather than few,” he said.

Multicloud and Application Modernization

Besides multicloud and 5G interoperability, the two executives said they see a continued march toward serverless infrastructure and application modernization. VMware’s Tanzu Kubernetes platform, its acquisition of Heptio and re-acquisition of Pivotal, will play a key role in that effort.

Raghuram also emphasized diversity and sustainability as both a corporate priority and a catalyst for growth. In the coming weeks, VMware will reveal more about the 2030 Agenda announced by the company last year. “This is something that is super critical to us,” he said.

VMware is expected to provide more details on its technology road maps at next month’s VMworld Conference. Set to take place starting Oct. 5, the event will once again be virtual.

Kit Colbert Named VMware’s CTO

VMware;'s Kit Colbert

VMware;’s Kit Colbert

Friday’s briefing came a day after VMware announced that it has named Kit Colbert as the company’s chief technology officer. Colbert is also a VMware veteran, having joined the company as an intern in 2002, according to his executive profile.

Colbert has served various technical roles at VMware including most recently as Cloud CTO. He also served as general manager of VMware’s cloud-native apps business and was CTO of its end-user computing business. Previously, he was lead architect for VMware vRealize Operations Suite and the technical lead for vMotion and Storage vMotion capabilities.