VMware CEO: Cloud to end computer desktop era

VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to make the move from virtualization to cloud infrastructure

By , IDG News Service |  Virtualization, Paul Maritz, VMware

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VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to think beyond the desktop computer. It is a dead metaphor, he insisted, one ill-suited for today's workforce.

"PCs are not the only animal in the zoo anymore. Increasingly, users are holding other devices in their hands," he said, speaking at the kick-off of the VMworld 2011, being held this week in Las Vegas.

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Within five years, less than 20% of computing clients will be running Microsoft Windows, he predicted. The job of providing applications and data "can no longer belong to any one device, or any one operating system. So we have to float away from that aspect of the desktop," he said.

While VMware has made its mark by providing software for virtualizing servers, the company is rapidly building up a stack of software for organizations to use to run private and hybrid clouds, based around its vSphere software for managing virtual resources.

In his presentation before many of the conference's 19,000 attendees, Maritz said customers should move from virtualization to a full-fledged cloud infrastructure. Fifty percent of the world's infrastructure runs on virtualization, he noted. The cloud is the next logical step, he reasoned.

A cloud infrastructure will be necessary, he noted, to accommodate the needs of a more dynamic workforce. It will enable administrators to deliver applications and information to people, rather than devices.

Some organizations seem to be moving in this direction. Maritz said that there are now over 800,000 vSphere administrators, including 68,000 certified in handling the technology.

"I spent my whole life working on the PC," admitted Maritz, who is 56. The metaphor of the desktop came from Xerox Parc research lab in the 1970s, which at the time, was exploring "how to automate the life of the white collar worker, circa 1975," he said. This meant the researchers made computer based approximations of the tools of the office worker--file cabinets, typewriters, files, folder, inboxes and outboxes.

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