Exec: How SDN, SD-WAN, security fit in VMware's strategy

VMware networking and security chief Tom Gillis looks at competing with Cisco and how the company will bolster NSX and more.

VMware headquarters

It has been just 10 months since Tom Gillis became VMware's senior vice president and general manager of its networking and security business, and in that time he has overseen some major changes in the company’s core products.

Most recent is a milestone release of the company’s NSX-T Data Center software, making it VMware’s primary networking platform for organizations looking to support multivendor cloud-native applications, bare-metal workloads as well as the growing hybrid and multi-cloud worlds.

Gillis’s group also rolled out a new firewall – the Service-defined Firewall—VMware says protects enterprise applications inside data centers or clouds. There have been other key additions, too, including an expanded relationship with AT&T around its SD-WAN offering.

Leaning on his previous executive experiences  – general manager of Cisco's security technology business, CEO of Bracket Computing, vice president of marketing at IronPort Systems and others – Gillis is tasked with keeping VMware squarely in front of cloud, security and enterprise computing.

He recently talked with Network World senior editor Michael Cooney about some of the company’s key networking and security directions and a big competitor, Cisco:

Cooney: Coming up on your year anniversary with VMware – what have been some of the biggest networking and security challenges you’ve addressed or hope still to address?

Gillis: NSX-T is a very big deal for us. We have hundreds of engineers developing that software, and fully decoupling NSX from ESX was a big job. In the end we want to blur the lines between public and private cloud with the idea changing the notion of what the data center can be in the future. Our APIs let customers and developers have the public-cloud experiences everywhere, where we set a baseline of policies that define who gets to talk to who, that lets them easily implement a modern, secure cloud native application that can be replicated from a desktop to a mainframe. It’s a different model for how to more effectively run a data center.

Another challenge is positioning VMware in the security space

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