Name: Ray O’Farrell

Ray joined VMware in April 2003 and currently serves as executive vice president and executive sponsor, leading the integration efforts of VMware’s expanded Cloud-Native Apps business unit. In this role, Ray will envision and extend the company’s strategy and operating model for delivering the Kubernetes platform of the future.

Prior to August 2019, Ray served as executive vice president and chief technology officer, where his main focus areas were to ensure VMware’s long-term technology leadership through research and innovation programs, with the primary goal of positively impacting and shaping the future of VMware, its ecosystem, and its customers.

Prior to his role as Chief Technology Officer, Ray co-led the Software-Defined Data Center Division comprising the vSphere, networking, management, and storage businesses and was responsible for the division’s strategy, business, and product planning and engineering execution.

Ray joined VMware to lead the ESX Storage team during the early development of the ESX platform. He helped build a large ecosystem of partners in storage and helped expand the portfolio, which today includes products such as VMFS (Virtual Machine File System) and VMware vSAN. During his tenure at VMware, Ray built and managed a global R&D organization and held engineering responsibilities across the entire VMware portfolio. His responsibilities spanned management of all of the components of VMware’s flagship vSphere and suite products, including core compute, networking, storage, and Cloud management. O’Farrell also spearheaded the Dell Technologies IoT division.

Ray has over 20 years of software engineering and product delivery experience. Before VMware, he developed and shipped development tools and operating systems for real-time, embedded, and DSP systems at a number of companies including Industrial and Scientific Imaging (Ireland), Ashling Microsystems (Ireland), Improv Systems (United States) and Microtec/Mentor-Graphics (United States).

Ray holds a bachelor’s of engineering in electronics and a master’s of engineering in computer science, both from the University of Limerick in Ireland.

I got to know Ray when I joined VMware. He was my hiring manager:). I worked for a number of different leaders at VMware, but always viewed Ray as one of my bosses – having regular 1:1s to make sure we were in sync, to help him in any way possible, and to continue to get his direction and guidance.

Questions Interview

I had a problem with the interview with Ray. I was only able to capture one question with Ray. Here is the question.

  1. You are the CTO for VMware. Not everyone knows what exactly that means. Could you talk about what it means to be the CTO, what your responsibilities are, and how you are measured?

Ray talked about how different the role of CTO is across different companies.

“At VMware, I spend a fair amount of time speaking with customers and listening to customers and trying to understand what they are doing, what challenges they are facing.

And then working with them and evangelinzing with them to some degree how VMware solutions can solve their problems.”

We then moved on to discussing Ray’s career path.

Career Path

Ray has been at VMware since 2003. He has seen amazing change and has been at the center of the engineering that enabled that change.

I think you will enjoy hearing about the path he has taken!

See Also

My Thoughts On “Why You Should Create a ‘Shadow Board’ of Younger Employees”

How To Deliver Software And Meet Commitments – The 70/70 Model

Pat Gelsinger – Incredibly Successful Executive with the Right Priorities