Virtualization Pro

Sep 14 2009   1:11PM GMT

VMworld, so much to do, so little time

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Either someone needs to invent a time machine or VMware needs to make VMworld a two week show. There is just way too much to do at VMworld and not near enough time to do it.

Sleep is always the last thing on my priority list at VMworld; I was lucky to get about five hours each night. There were just so many people I wanted to talk to and spend more time with and so little time to do it in. Trying to fit everything into your schedule is a near impossible challenge and is comparable to the ESX CPU scheduler trying to handle a host full of busy vSMP virtual machines. This is the biggest complaint I hear from attendees each year, too much to do and not enough time to do it in. But now that the dust has settled, it’s time to digest everything from the show and check out the sessions once they are posted on the VMworld.com website. The sessions are supposed to be posted September 14 for attendees only, however there are 17 online-only sessions that are already posted and are viewable by anyone.

Overall I thought it was another good show. There were about 12,500 attendees which is down from last year’s attendance of around 14,000. But this can expected with the economy the way it is with many IT shops tightening their belts. According to John Troyer from VMware the attendance numbers prior to the show were even lower as they had many last minute walkups who registered onsite at the show.

Even with the reduced attendance the show seemed just as busy; I actually liked the Moscone Center over Las Vegas last year. The layout at the Moscone is much simpler and things were very easy to find. Last year it took me days to get my bearings inside the Venetian hotel. The WiFi access at VMworld was much better at the Moscone. I had access to the press WiFi which worked great and was usable even at the Marriott several blocks away from the Moscone.

I heard a lot of gripes about both the breakfasts and lunches this year. Last year at the Venetian they served fabulous hot buffet lunches, this year it was cold box lunches. Fortunately I discovered another perk of having press credentials was they served a decent hot buffet lunch in the press/analyst room each day.

I know many were disappointed with the keynotes this year as there were no big announcements like last year – I jokingly tweeted that Foreigner was the best keynote this year. Most of the keynotes were about future products and services as Paul Martiz and Stephen Herrod outlined how recent acquisitions and partnerships would factor into VMware’s future. 

The new client hypervisor (CVP) is something many people are anxious to see. Cloud talk seemed to dominate the show this year as this is the direction VMware seems to be headed in. In fact there was a whole separate keynote dedicated to VMware’s cloud computing strategy. The problem is that many people still don’t have a firm grasp of cloud computing and how it will affect them, so much of this talk just causes further confusion.

Glasshouse did a nice series of video interviews this year asking people about cloud computing and it was interesting to hear the responses. Keynotes aside, there were still plenty to see and do at the show. A side benefit of VMware’s dominance in virtualization is that they have a very rich ecosystem of third-party vendors with many great products and services to look at. I enjoyed just walking around the Solutions Exchange and taking everything in, seeing new products and finding out new things about old products.

Overall I give VMware high marks for this years show; putting on an event of that size is not an easy task. VMworld will be at the Moscone again next year and I hope VMware (and other vendors) listens to feedback from attendees this year to try and to make next year’s event even better. I know it’s hard to please everyone all the time but there are definitely some things VMware can improve on (hint: food, session scheduling, labs). So the countdown begins until next year’s VMworld, and despite the craziness and hustle and bustle, I can’t wait to go back.

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