By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg
Sramana Mitra: And the private cloud, which is your own data center, is it not a third-party data center, right?
Mark Egan: We actually have two data centers. We have a third-party data center, and we also have our own data center up in Washington. So, we have a combination of those two. I support R&D, the engineering, and the corporate side. The corporate data center is run by a third third party that is a partner of ours, and then our own data center in Washington is something we manage ourselves.
SM: So, your own data center supports engineering and R&D, and corporate functions are run out of a third-party data center. Is that correct?
ME: Yes, that’s correct.
SM: OK, got it.
ME: That is the infrastructure layer. What I have is a very efficient environment there. I mentioned that eight full-time and one part-time staff members run it, it’s 3,000 square feet, and I have a lot of flexibility and so forth. If I go to my applications layer, I have what I would call legacy [applications]. This would be more of my enterprise resource planning (ERP), and I have virtualized and optimized this ERP to make it more efficient. We have then used SaaS for our customer relationship management (CRM). All the things we do for our partners and our technical support are done through a third-party SaaS provider.
We also recently put our HR system into that layer as well, and those are the bigger ones. There are a host of other applications, but a lot of the business-facing, customer-facing, CRM-type applications are in the cloud. What we have done, from a development perspective, is use Spring. So, my staff develops [applications] using the Spring framework.
We had some legacy tools we used in the past, and I found that they were just not flexible enough, and I just couldn’t move as quickly as I wanted to. So, one thing that we did is for customer-facing portals, such as downloads and evaluations and so forth, was to rewrite them in Spring. I have saved money [by using this approach] because I don’t have the maintenance. More important, I can move much, much faster. I can make changes to these in days or weeks as opposed to months or quarters, which was the time it took with the other.
Across those three areas, I still have some legacy apps that I optimized. These would be third-party applications such as ERP that I have installed here, and then I have several applications in the cloud that I would say fall under the broad CRM umbrella. Finally, there is anything I have to build. One example would be my portals or any integration work. I just use the Spring platform because I have the ability to move faster than I have in the past. We have been very lucky at the VMware. We grew by 40% last year, and the demand for new business applications and so forth is quite high. I have to be very nimble.
SM: How many customers do you support?
ME: There are 10,000 employees here at VMware, so I view them as kind of my customers, too. I think that VMware as a company has 250,000 customers.
SM: The reason I am asking is that this process of downloads, evals, and all of that stuff that your salesforce is managing, it sounds as though this is happening on a system that you custom-designed on Spring.
ME: Yes, that’s the case.
SM: As an extension of your SaaS CRM infrastructure, you are basically supporting a large set of customers, quite a large set of salespeople selling to a large customer base, yes?