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VMware hires Gartner analyst Chris Wolf as CTO, Americas

Hot on the heels of its AirWatch acquisition and end-user computing group shakeup, VMware has made another big-name move.

Te company has hired Chris Wolf, one of the most well-known virtualization analysts in the industry, as its chief technology officer (CTO) for the Americas. Wolf joins VMware after four years at Gartner, where he was a research vice president focused on private cloud computing and virtualization. He previously worked as an analyst for the Burton Group, which Gartner acquired in 2010, and as an independent consultant.

In a blog post announcing his move, Wolf said he wants to continue to advocate for VMware users as he did at Gartner.

“In a world of growing technological complexities and rich automation, the last thing you need is a vendor selling you something,” he wrote. “You need a partner that wants to be there with you and share in your successes.”

Wolf’s hiring is the latest in a series of major changes at VMware, as the server virtualization market leader now tries to move into the cloud and end-user computing (EUC) markets. Let’s take a look at the moves made in just the past three weeks:

  • Jan. 6: VMware replaces EUC CTO Scott Davis with Kit Colbert, a rising star within the company, and hires two veteran execs away from rival Citrix.
  • Jan. 8: VMware promotes Ben Fathi, senior vice president for research and development, to its primary CTO position. That seat had been vacant since Steve Herrod left the company a year ago.
  • Jan. 22: VMware acquires AirWatch, one of the leading enterprise mobility management vendors, for $1.5 billion.

As someone who has never worked for a vendor, Wolf should provide a fresh perspective at VMware. He has not been afraid to criticize the company in the past, especially when it comes to branching out into new areas. Before VMworld 2013, he asked if VMware was more focused on its hardware partners than its customers in its push to build software-defined data centers.

“Ten years ago VMware didn’t care who it offended,” he wrote. “Along the way server hardware vendors had no choice but to partner with them. … In the process of becoming a ‘big company,’ VMware lost its inner voice.”

And during the conference, Wolf told us that VMware didn’t do a good enough job explaining what software-defined data centers are and how customers can build them.

“They started to paint a picture that we have to start defining data centers in software, but I don’t think VMware went far enough,” he said.

What do you think about VMware hiring Chris Wolf? Let us know in the comments.

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Thanks for the post. It was really a great thing to read the explanation and discussion about the software data centers.