Friday marks the end of an era, as outgoing VMware CEO Paul Maritz hands the reins to incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger.
"I'm very happy to today formally hand over the custodianship of this community to Pat Gelsinger," Maritz told the audience during the opening keynote to VMworld 2012 on Monday as he ceremonially passed leadership of the virtualization titan to Gelsinger. He noted that Gelsinger, formerly the president and chief operating officer of EMC (owner of a majority stake in VMware) and before that a 30-year veteran of Intel, has been a friend and colleague for 30 years.
Turning to Gelsinger, Maritz gestured to the audience and told him, "Take good care of them."
Maritz left the stage to a standing ovation led by Gelsinger.
Maritz Has Been a Visionary Leader for VMware
Filling Maritz's shoes will be no easy task. Maritz has long been a luminary of the industry. He was president and general manager of EMC's Cloud Computing Division before his appointment as CEO of VMware in 2008. Prior to that, he spent 14 years at Microsoft and was widely regarded as the third-ranking executive at the software behemoth, behind Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. He was in charge of Microsoft's desktop and server software, overseeing the development of Windows 95, Windows NT and Internet Explorer.
During his four years as CEO of VMware, Maritz helped dramatically increase the company's fortunes. When he took charge in 2008, about 25 percent of the world's Intel-based applications were running on a virtualized base. Four years later, that figure is 60 percent. In that same period, the number of VMware certified professionals has risen from 25,000 to 125,000.
"Back in 2008, we were asking ourselves what the hell is it," Maritz said of cloud computing. "Now we're asking ourselves: What do we do about it? How do we actually implement it? How do you transform your operations to take full advantage of it? What's going to happen in four years' time? Where are we going with this technology?"
"Where we are going is influenced by an enormous set of forces that are affecting our industry," he added. "We're coming to the mature stages of a very successful 50-year journey to automate most of the paper-based processes in the world. Businesses are absolutely dependent on these capabilities and they're not going to go away. At this point they're just table stakes. What's happening now is the imperative to deliver fundamentally new experiences to both end users and end customers."
But these new experiences can't be delivered on today's IT infrastructure, he said. To meet the future, he said, IT needs to be even more efficient and more agile.
"We are going to see an equal transition in IT over the next four years that we've seen over the past four years," he said. Maritz believes that to deliver the agility and efficiency required to meet the future, transformation is required at every level of IT from infrastructure to applications to access.
Slideshow: Hot Products at VMworld 2012