I’ve been working with VMware products for a long time. Being based in the UK, I had been to the VMware UK office in Staines and previously Frimley on a few occasions but I had never had the opportunity to make the visit to the VMware Headquarters in Palo Alto… until now.
I was recently offered the opportunity to visit Palo Alto and utilise the new VMware Discovery Center… but more on that later.
Firstly, let’s talk about the VMware Headquarters Campus in Palo Alto. As with many large companies, the campus isn’t just a single building but a number of buildings. In the case of VMware it is actually 20 buildings. The campus is situated on the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, along with such names as Uber, Tesla, HP and Nest. The Standford Research Park is home to over 150 companies across 10 million square feet.
VMware is the largest campus on the Stanford Research Park. Stanford own the land but VMware own the buildings on it. It is said that VMware has an eternal lease with Stanford although there are some restrictions with the usage of the land… for example, in California, there are restrictions over the height/number of floors the buildings can have and therefore the buildings are kept relatively low, with only a couple of floors to each building. There is also a restriction to the number of buildings that VMware can have on the land that they currently have, with that total being 20. Now obviously, you are probably thinking about what are VMware going to do in the future if they continue to grow and they have already built all of the buildings they can on the site? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. The current buildings are not fully utilised and therefore reorganising the seating arrangements in the current buildings would be an option. VMware also subleases some of their office space to Uber, meaning that this could be additional space, should the need arise. The VMware campus currently takes up around 100 acres.
There are approximately 4,600 people working onsite at the VMware campus but you wouldn’t necessarily know it when you walk around. There are trees and greenery all over the place and it certainly is relatively quiet as you walk around… although I have been led to believe that it can get busy around lunchtime.
As you can see from the diagram, the site is actually a triangle. The campus is actually split into three smaller campuses. The top right of the diagram is ‘Promontory’, the top left is ‘Hilltop’ and the bottom is ‘Creekside’.
The campus started with Promontory and this houses the oldest building on the site and is also where the famous turtles are located. If you are not aware, there are a number of turtles that live in a large pond in the heart of the campus. The story around how the turtles got to be at VMware is actually quite interesting. The pond in question was the home to koi carp originally, but these were removed and some stones added. The pond was left empty for a while before a member of staff asked if they could bring a refugee turtle to the pond. At the time, this was denied but it happened anyway… soon other people were bringing additional turtles to the pond as well. Now the turtles are handled by a local animal sanctuary and will stay at the VMware pond throughout the summer. As winter comes around, they are removed from the pond and taken into hibernation at the animal sanctuary. As spring comes around again, VMware makes a big celebration of the turtles returning to the pond after hibernation with school children attending and a number of activities available on the day.
Going back to the VMware Discovery Center, this is one of the jewels of the campus. The building itself was only completed a few months ago and was purpose built to house the Discovery Center along with some other functions. This is where customers can have product presentations from senior members of the business units and potentially meet with some of the VMware executives, but I’ll let some of the following photos show you what it looks like.
As a new employee of VMware, visiting the headquarters actually makes you feel like you are truly part of the company. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the VMware campus then I would certainly take it… it is impressive. I’ll leave you with a couple more photos from the site.