VMware India eyes greater role in cloud R&D

The India research team is beefing up its 800-strong engineering army by another 25 percent this year in order to contribute more toward VMware's focus on developing products for software-defined data centers.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent

BANGALORE--VMWare India's eight-year-old R&D facility will hit the 1,000-engineers milestone by the end of 2013 as it looks to establish itself as more than just a delivery center.
In an interview with ZDNet recently, Niranjan Maka, managing site director at VMware India's research and development (R&D) unit, said the company had just 400 engineers onboard in 2010 but it has since doubled that talent pool and is focusing on areas such as software-defined data center, hybrid cloud and end-user computing.
It is also looking to add to the workforce by another 25 percent in the next six months to continue its growth momentum, he added.
Maka earlier revealed a team of 50 from the Indian R&D arm played a key role in the development of the company's recenntly-launched vCloud Hybrid Service, including the building of the vCloud Connector which allows users to transfer workloads between public and private cloud environments.
The executive is not content though, and wants more of such projects to show that the India-based R&D office is more than just a delivery center.
"We're looking at how we can change the VMware India culture. There are so many R&D centers in the country, and we're looking at how we can become something very different," Maka said.
The center's managing director Niranjan Maka told ZDNet the current 800-strong R&D workforce will increase by 25 percent in the next six months, to a total of 1,000.
To be more innovative, it will focus on three key areas. Firstly, working closely with neighboring partner companies such as Indian outsourcers and American system integrators (SIs). Secondly, it will invite local university professors and PhD candidates to solve technology problems, and also contribute to its research. Thirdly, it will work closely with local startups to nurture the ecosystem around VMware products.
"In Palo Alto, the company has a strong connection with Stanford and MIT, which helped put us ahead of the game. Virtualization started as a research project. It was great 10 years ago, but today it's about the software-defined data center and hybrid cloud as a service. Now we have to look at how do you scale while shaving off micro seconds in latency?" he said.
In this year alone, Maka said his team has created 47 invention disclosure filings, which is the precursor to a patent, and these represented half of its output in this area.
VMware has also committed US$120 million to construct a new building in Bangalore with a capacity for 3,000 staff. This will include R&D and the Indian facility's shared services resources, and will feature a lab that can demonstrate different environments, including a virtual data center, for customers. The eight-storey building at the Fortuna site sits opposite the company's current offices in the large Kalyani tech park on Bannerghatta Road.
This latest investment will allow them to grow in the future.

"The space that VMWare is in evolves every three months. We don't know where the next invention will come from. You have to be agile, you can't just rest easy," Maka said.

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