Why VMware isn’t flinching as Amazon’s cloud keeps growing

VMware (s vmw) CEO Pat Gelsinger is comfortable with the fact that Amazon (s amzn) got a major head start in running Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). But in that game, he doesn’t believe one size fits all.

“It’s hard for Amazon to reach into the enterprise,” he told GigaOM Founder and Senior Writer Om Malik during a talk at our Structure conference on Wednesday. By comparison, Gelsinger said his company “has an extraordinary leadership position already.”

He expects VMware’s recently revealed public cloud, known as vCloud Hybrid Service, to get plenty of business from large companies that are deep into the VMware world but see value in being able to call on scaled-out shared infrastructure whenever that’s necessary.

That could open up the potential for new sorts of applications, part running on premise, part running in the public cloud, he said.

When Om wondered aloud if it wouldn’t be easier for Amazon to get into the enterprise than for VMware to get to a very strong public-cloud position, Gelsinger came back quickly with sentiment to the contrary he’s heard from a chief information officer of one of the top 10 banks in the world.

“They (Amazon) just don’t get whats going to be required to deliver enterprise-grade services for those customers,” Gelsinger said.

On top of that, VMware thinks it’s uniquely positioned to work closely with service providers abroad to enable them to offer IaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS). “How successful are Google and Amazon going to be in China? It’s just not going to happen on their service,” he said.

VMware might not grow overnight from hybrid cloud and other new services. But Gelsinger said the company expects the company’s growth rate to accelerate in the next couple of years. That could be all well and good because it’s still early in the cloud game, not to mention in the area of network virtualization, where VMware is looking to make a serious dent as well in its grand software-defined data center vision.

Check out the rest of our Structure 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page