VMworld 2014 News and Notes
Strange hotels, surging innovation highlight my week in San Francisco.
So, it's Work Day One following last week's VMworld 2014 in San Francisco. And because of this, I'll follow the time-honored tradition and give a recap of things that impressed me (or didn't impress) from the show.
- I haven't been to a VMworld in half a decade, but it's nice to see that the show hasn't lost any of its oomph. In fact, I'd say it was definitely more "oomphy" than it was before. Lots more to do – more hands-on labs, more places to relax, more sessions, more vendors on the show floor.
- I had four one-on-one sessions with VMware execs, discussing the announcements and where the company's going. I don't remember there being this much access before, even when the event and company was smaller. That's a real bonus for folks like me.
- I heard some complaints about the media's separate wifi network going in and out, but didn't experience any problems with it. That's unusual at a conference this size, and was very beneficial. Nice work, VMware.
- OpenStack and Docker got some love during the keynotes. I'm not sure it's so much VMware opening up its platform for the benefit of its customers as much as it is a recognition of the momentum these two technologies have. Whatever the cause, it seems smart for VMware to recognize that, at least presently, it can't beat 'em, so it's joining 'em.
- I met with tons of vendors. This was a key reason for going this year; I'm relearning the landscape, and wanted to find out how the industry's changed, and how much innovation is going on. The answers to those two questions? a) A lot, and b) Just as much, or maybe even more, than ever.
- I didn't win the one-year lease of the McLaren from the SimpliVity booth. I'm bummed.
- The Clift Hotel is strange. Fun, but strange. It's a throwback to 60s-style decor. For example, the tables in my room were translucent orange boxes. I felt like I was in an episode of Mad Men, but that's not a bad thing.
- Best keynote speaker: Ben Fathi. He and Raghu Raghuram played off of each other well.
- There was another Keith Ward at the show (found out when I registered, and had to pick the one that was me.) That, I didn't expect.
- Long lines in the mens' rooms at times. No lines in the corresponding ladies' rooms. Yet another reason it pays to be a woman in IT.
- Two companies whose names didn't come up nearly at all during the week: Microsoft and Citrix. Not surprising, of course, but even in my vendor discussions those names hardly cropped up. I expected to hear more about interop with products from those companies. This isn't necessarily significant; just an observation.
Maybe the most important thing I learned at the show: I'm sure glad to be back at Virtualization Review. Last week convinced me that there's more going on than ever in this industry. Things still feel as unsettled as in the early days, when the big fight was for hypervisor market share. For me, this is a very good thing.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.