I found VMworld to be an excellent opportunity to meet executives of both VMware and its partners. I'm hoping to stay in touch with these companies so that I can help you stay up to date as well.
Here are a few general observations about what I learned:
- VMware's messages about being able to virtualize, manage, automate and secure the datacenter are not really credible unless an organization has only industry standard systems in the datacenter. Most large organizations have mainframes, midrange machines, istorage servers, and network servers in their datacenters. VMware acts as if either these established mainframe or midrange systems are not there or are going away. Neither are likely to disappear even if industry standard systems are increasingly important.
- Others act first and bring products to market. VMware appears to learn from what they've done, develops something similar and launches it as if there never was a competitive product in that space in the past. For example, Cassatt (now part of CA), Scalent, Surgient and VMlogix all offered automation technology for several years prior to VMware offering its VMware Management and Automation Bundle.
- VMware has clearly built a large, dynamic ecosystem and that could be a decisive factor when organizations are selecting virtualization technology products. The company, however, needs to be very careful not to do "the partner stomp" when announcing its roadmap.
- VMware and its ecosystem are destroying other established markets. IT decision makers are seldom thinking about clustering software (single system image, HA/Failover, high performance computing). Instead they're thinking about virtual machine software combined with migration/motion software, automation software and the like. The trade off that these decision-makers are making, of course, is that there are more layers of software, greater requirements for discrete types of expertise and, possibly dealing with lower levels of performance.
- Cloud computing is being spoken of everywhere even though many of the offerings don't fit the minimum requirements required of cloud computing as described in the 451 Group's CloudScape Codex.
If your organization is embarking on the journey to a more virtualized environment, I believe you'd find attendance to be helpful. In my view, it was well worth my time. VMware, by the way, is a wonderful host!