Wi-Fi passwords are usually nondescript but can also be revealing. At this week's annual VMware Explore conference in Barcelona the key to connecting was the word “multi-cloud”. It also turned out to be the key to the underlying thinking behind most of the new strategies and products unveiled at the event by VMware, the world's leading provider of software systems for managing cloud computing.

The company is in the throes of being acquired by chip-design giant Broadcom for $69bn (about R1.3-trillion), underlining its value in the market. Much of this value was built on foreseeing the need for virtualisation of hardware and virtual machines — VMs, hence the company name — which became the heart of data centres that make cloud computing possible...

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