VMworld and the Uncertainty Principle

VMware's direction has changed in unpredictable ways.

VMworld 2015 is going to be a critical one for VMware. The overarching theme of this year's show is "Ready for Any," which CEO Pat Gelsinger says in his cover story Q&A means using any app on any device, with the common technology being its cloud platform. The other leg of the strategy is mobile device management, which of course can also be done through the cloud.

This is so much different from the first VMworld con­ference I attended, in 2008, that it's shocking. I recently wrote a series of blogs that looked back on our first-ever issue of the magazine, from April 2008. Way back then, I wouldn't have predicted any of these areas as major directions for VMware. That means I'm either a terrible prognosticator, or that the old saying -- the only thing that's predictable about IT is its unpredictability -- is true.

I tend to think it's the latter, and not just because I would have been so spectacularly wrong (although I'm willing to admit that it may have been a factor). But back in 2008, server virtualization was just coming into its own. vSphere was in many datacenters, but the thought that server virtualization would get as big as it's gotten surely didn't occur to many people. It had its limitations, after all, one of the chief being that there were just certain workloads you couldn't, or shouldn't virtualize, like databases or huge programs like customer relationship management software.

As we know, those limitations have been overcome, to the point where pretty much anything can be virtualized. Even so, it seemed like server virtualization, and related technologies like VDI, were the foreseeable future for VMware. Branching beyond hardware abstraction was for other companies that didn't have such a tight focus.

Now we know better. And I bet that seven years from now, if I'm still here, I'll look back and marvel at how unpredictability again triumphed, and VMware had gone off again in totally unanticipated directions.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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