VMworld 2008 so far has been characterized by a few things:
- The smell of smoke, the crowds, the scented casino floors (Please take this convention back to the Bay!)
- The promises of features – I’m still looking for a feature announcement that is accompanied by an “Available now” announcement
- The absence of any real products – Most of the announcements are of features. While features are nice, I am still waiting for a product announcement that is not simply an umbrella view of several existing products or new features. Although, I will say that a VMware employee did give me a new perspective on this criticism. They said that one of the challenges of having so many products is that it is difficult to help people unfamiliar with their ecosystem understand how they all work together. Attaching a moniker such as “Virtual Data Center OS (VCD-OS)” gives new recruits a way to imagine how all of these separate products and features work together. I can get behind this idea — sort of. What is still lacking is a single management platform to tie all of these products together. When are we going to see a VI client that can manage Site Recovery Manager (SRM), Lab Manager (LM), ThinApp, and VMware Desktop Manager (VDM)?
- Devastatingly slow Internet speeds
Ultimately the first day was best summed up by the champion of VMware bloggers, John Troyer. I was sharing my thoughts with him and he made a pointed statement: VMworld 2008 is not about virtualization, it is not about the hypervisor; VMworld 2008 is about the ecosystem that VMware has created. What John means is that we are at a point in this field where the virtualization aspect is no longer important. We get it. We can virtualize. Now, what do we do with it?
I think this is great tact for VMware to take. This strategy essentially sets the bar for Microsoft and Citrix. The latter two companies are barely beginning to build their partner and software ecosystem, and VMware knows this. Being at the top of the hill means you get to set the rules for battle; you get to decide the area on which the skirmish will take place. And when strategizing for war you play to your strengths and the enemies’ weaknesses. This is exactly what VMware has done. By making the ecosystem the battlefield they have guaranteed themselves an competitive advantage for virtualization round three.