By Kathy Gibson in Barcelona – An ambitious goal to make IT innovative and responsive to business needs is possible to achieve, says Carl Eschenbach, president and chief operating officer of VMware, speaking at the closing keynote of VMWorld in Barcelona.

“We know that the business has always had a high reliance on IT,” he says. “But there has always been tension between the two camps, and this has evolved into friction over the last few years.

“We believe that the only way to reduce or remove this friction is through software – and this will lead to a new level of trust and collaboration evolving.

“Companies will be able to gain access to their customers and serve them in a different way; employees will be able to access information in a different way; companies will be more competitive in the market as they will be able to bring new products and services to market quicker, thus meeting shareholder value.”

To achieve this goal, Eschenbach points out that the needs of two sets of people – business and IT – need to be met.

“IT wants to be more innovative and meet the needs of business,” he says. “But they also understand that there are legacy data centres and applications that have to be managed. We need to move from the current average of 70% of time and dollars going to keeping the lights on, to 50% of these resources focused on innovation.”

At the same, time, Eschenbach adds, line of business people are constantly asking for more. “It’s a competitive world out there, and the faster IT can get applications to market, the more impact business can make.”

The only way accomplish both sets of requirements, Eschenbach says, is to start delivering IT as a service.

“We used to automate the business with IT – now we need to think of ways to automate IT for IT.”

There are three imperatives necessary to reaching these goals, he adds.

Virtualisation needs to extend to all of IT – not just the servers but the infrastructure, the applications and the desktops.

“We also need to move away from managing IT to automating IT. And, finally, we can no longer talk about public versus private cloud: the world will be hybrid cloud in the future,” Eschenbach says.

“These are ambitious goals. Can they be accomplished? Yes they can. This is a bold aspiration trying to take the industry on this journey. But we believe we can be bold. We have a track record of success, we have built a strong foundation, and we can make this imperative come true.”

Eschenbach highlighted some of the announcements made this week at VMworld that the company believes will drive its vision. They are:

* The next release of vSphere 5.5 and vCloud suite 5.5;

* The launch of Virtual SAN, along with a vision for software-defined storage;

* The launch of the NSX network virtualisation platform, which is expected to make networking in a virtualised environment more efficient;

* The launch and refresh of VMware’s cloud management solutions, adding new management, automation, orchestration and remediation to help manage the software-defined data centre;

* The launch of VMware’s hybrid cloud service in Europe, with a beta site up and running in the UK; and

* The acquisition of Desktone, which will add the ability to offer desktop as a service.