VMworld: The View from the CTO's Chair

Chris Wolf's transition from observer to participant.

Over the years, VMworld has grown from a small industry conference to one of the largest technology conferences in the world, consistently drawing more than 20,000 attendees annually. Prior to joining VMware, I had gone to VMworld U.S. seven times, and VMworld Europe three times.

The attendee experience was great. I soaked in new solutions and features, networked with old friends, and would spend the weeks following VMworld watching the video replays of the sessions I couldn't attend in person. I presented numerous times at VMworld, always willing to share the outsider's perspective. Now that I'm the CTO at VMware, I've worked hard to keep that same approach in everything I do.

VMworld marks a time to share new ideas; but more important, it allows me to listen to ideas from the community. Major industry conferences are the crown jewels of litmus tests. Weekly validation and introspection from a limited set of meetings is one thing; but VMworld affords me the opportunity to hear from hundreds of people in a matter of days.

As an analyst, I would look to find gaps in the VMware strategy and announcements, and share them with the community. Now my role is to actively find gaps in our strategy and work with various VMware teams to proactively resolve them.

You will see at the conference that VMware innovations will cross several technology domains. If you've attended a vForum event this year, you have likely heard me or Pat Gelsinger talk at length about multi-cloud operations. You might have seen Guido Appenzeller talk about NSX Everywhere at this year's RSA Conference. Sanjay Poonen delivered a passionate talk on application, content and mobile futures at Mobile World Congress 2016.

While it's great to talk about the future, VMworld is always a time to specifically see what VMware intends to do about it. We'll be showing significant new innovations across our product portfolio, and giving attendees plenty of time to test-drive many innovations in the hands-on labs.

VMworld itself is now a far different experience for me, and consumes more than six months of my time. That ranges from technology strategy discussions that kick off the year, to content development and session reviews, and finally the event itself. This year my VMworld experience will begin the Saturday prior to the conference at the VCDX Town Hall. The VCDX community represents the very best of our technical experts, and they're never short of great opinions and suggestions. The weekend will continue with more customer and partner events and meetings on Sunday; the official conference starts on Monday.

Monday morning, some pre-written blogs will post with added insight into our announcements, and I plan to be my usual active self on Twitter. After that, VMworld for me is a mix of presentations, analyst and customer meetings and, most important, just being out there. It's a great time to share the impromptu coffee or beer with someone you've never met before, while discussing something you've never thought of before.

VMworld is equally about technology and community. This year's conference is loaded with new technology innovations, and I hope to get the chance to talk about them with you at one of the many social events. See you there!

About the Author

Chris Wolf is VMware's CTO, Global Field and Industry.


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