VMworld Keynote - Paul Maritz looks into the crystal ball

VMworld Keynote - Paul Maritz looks into the crystal ball

Summary: Paul Maritz describes VMware's vision of the future and what the company is doing about it.


Why is it that suppliers, such as VMware, think that their keynote addresses will be better received if they present a light show and deafening music beforehand?  The music was loud enough to be painful. By the time Paul Maritz came out to present, the music had given me a major headache.

Suppliers also seem to think that it is beneficial to keep their customers in the dark during the presentation. I did my best to take notes during the session, but they are sketchy to say the least.

Quick summary of Paul's presentation

Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, mentioned a number of trends he was observing and what VMware was going to do about them.

  • Paul presented the results of some unnamed research firm showing that more than half of all workloads were running in virtual environments. No mention was made about who did this research, how the study was executed, how many respondents took part, and no demographic information about the respondents was presented. The rest of the presentation was based upon this questionable foundation.
  • Paul asserted that we are seeing another major change in how IT is accomplished. It called this new approach "New IT." He suggested that modern applications need to be developed using new tools, new application frameworks and would run in the cloud.
  • He suggested that the challenge we all face is to renew applications to run in this new environment without causing disruption. He suggested that we need to encapsulate and then eventually replace all mainframe applications, applications running on midrange systems using new tools and cloud computing.
  • He declared that the PC era has passed and that although hundreds of millions of PCs are in use today, they are going to be superseded by a galaxy of handheld mobile devices.
  • He then went on to discuss products we could expect to hear more about on Tuesday that would address these changes.

Snapshot analysis

In Paul's presentation, I heard the foundation of VMware's future strategy. VMware appears to be readying itself to do the following things:

  • Take on IBM and the mainframe and replace the workloads they are currently supporting with herds of industry standard systems supporting private and public clouds. VMware is going to try to match the reliability, robustness, security and manageability of the mainframe with new system software. I've heard this song before. Fifteen years ago the open systems suppliers said nearly the same things. The mainframe is still part of every major data center.
  • Ditto for UNIX and single-vendor environments such as IBM System I
  • Take on Windows, Linux and Mac OS-based workloads and replace them with easy-to-use, graphics intensive server-centric workloads that run in the cloud and are presented to users of handheld computers (smartphones, tablets and the like) through HTML5-based browsers or small apps running on the handheld devices. It is not at all clear how users would be able to address production requirements on pseudo keyboards offered by those devices or on the small screens they have today.
  • Take on Oracle and the database suppliers by using no-SQL databases supported in shared cache on distributed systems (so called memory virtualization by some of the suppliers).

While I agree that we are going to see people using a constellation of mobile devices along side of their PCs and Laptops, I don't think that these devices are going the way of the dodo any time soon. The same could be said of the mainframes and midrange systems in the data center. All of these tools are the foundation of too much useful processing to be quickly or easily replaced.

Topics: Virtualization, Hardware, Servers, VMware


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • Suppliers? What a joke.


    You slam Paul for made up facts but need to have a coffee before going to sessions. The music didn't wake you up sufficiently.

    1. The first slide you are referencing said "IDC 2010 Study" on the bottom. It was big enough that you could read it from a decent seat. Were you really there?

    2. Calling VMware a "supplier" is hysterical. They've transformed Corp IT more than any company in the last five years and you are referring to them like they are Home Depot selling me wood planks.

    I think this is a result of a rather large and consistent bias you are showing for older tech.


    3. I worked for a a global pharmaceutical with tens of thousands of employees and large Data Centers all over the world. No Mainframes in sight since the late 90's.
    Most open systems (which were 99% SUN) going Linux on x86.

    Of course some SPARC are still around but the numbers are down. All Cloud work has been exclusively x86. HPC and Enterprise.

    Your claim about Mainframes in "every major data center" is a complete made up stat. Its ironic that you go to the made up fact well after wrongly acussing Maritz of doing so.

    You had another agenda and did a poor job reporting on the session as anything other than a crank. I doubt you will even post this comment. Hopefully you do better on day 3.

  • RE: VMworld Keynote - Paul Maritz looks into the crystal ball


    Thanks for your comment. I routinely sit in the back of the room in a rather hopeless attempt to deal with the blaring music and to have enough light to see what I'm writing.

    From that angle, the reference to IDC was not visible. The slide didn't appear to offer a sample size, the geographic distribution of the sample or anything else that would help someone determine where and how that data would be useful.

    My bias is towards things that help organizations and individuals work rather than towards technology du jure. If a supplier (and that is exactly what VMware is regardless of how you see them) doesn't acknowledge the realities of the data center, I see it as my job to point that out.

    Dan K
    • Excellent analysis of the data

      @dkusnetzky .. you have to be commended for seeing through all the rhetoric, marketing smoke screens and pure hype that Cloud vendors are blatantly peddling.<br><br>To be fair, the Cloud has a place in tomorrow's business world: but that place is as a enhancement to the status quo - not a replacement.<br><br>10/10 for a very balanced and well thought out piece of journalism.<br><br>... as a footnote, are you sure you're working in the right place? ZDNet's an online tabloid and you sound too rational, level-headed and well-researched to be a staffer here. <br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">
  • RE: VMworld Keynote - Paul Maritz looks into the crystal ball

    Could it be this one? Which is an IDC "Prediction" (not a survey)

  • not sure your analysis is correct

    In my opinion, VMware is the company that is changing the game in IT management space. We had big 4's just building huge products and over complicating by big time integrations that hardly use to work. <br><br>Regarding, Music is too loud and better visibility at Keynote session, is all personal preference. I would not like to mix them when anyone is commenting on companies vision and strategy and their overall objectives. <br><br>Here are key points one should consider - <br><br>1. VMware is no more a supplier company. HP, IBM, BMC and CA really view VMware a big threat to their business. VMware Management suite is gaining popularity and are increasing their management foot print. <br><br>2. Mainframes or traditional applications are not going fade completely, but they also won't be a dominating force in the future. I think with vFabric portfolio they are working on getting into the minds of developers and application owners. Most of the new developers want to build applications on newer stack and not on traditional platform (WebLogics, WebSphere etc). <br><br>VMware is there to stay no matter what!<br><br>Thanks, <br>Raj
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