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VMworld Europe: An Opportunity Missed

Very interesting take on the VMworld Europe conference in Cannes, France, last week from Alessandro Perilli, who owns and runs the site, does an outstanding job -- his prose is a little difficult at times, owing to the fact that he's not a native English-speaker, but he really understands the market and the technology.

He was at VMworld all week (alas, budget considerations kept yours truly firmly glued to his desk in Westminster, MD -- which, by all accounts, is nearly as scenic as Cannes), and filed multiple reports, followed by a wrapup. To summarize his summary, he says that, basically, VMworld Europe was a gigantic missed opportunity for VMware. He wrote:

"The explicit message of this first European edition of VMworld has been: VMware sponsors are worth much more than VMware itself."

If I can paraphrase what I think his meaning is, Perilli's saying that VMware touted its partners a great deal more than itself, which he (and I) consider to be a big strategic blunder.

Perilli goes on:

"Despite the unique opportunity to talk to so many European companies for the first time, VMware co-founders Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum didn't dedicate much space to the company vision.

The two preferred to give a more than remarkable part of their time to some prestigious partners (IBM, HP, Dell and Fujitsu Siemens) which didn't add any value to the discussion.

Customers and prospects looking for guidance from two of the brightest minds of the last decade, found themselves looking at a sort of prime time showcase for OEMs.

An unacceptable debut considering the incredible amount of topics that VMware executives could cover on stage."

I watched the Webcast of CEO Diane Greene's keynote speech, and was similarly underwhelmed. Greene mostly spoke in generalizations, and talked about how virtualization, and specifically VMware, is changing the datacenter. All true, no doubt; but I found the "Vision Thing" sorely lacking in her presentation, as well as a substantive discussion of what were a slew of important new product releases. How could they give such short shrift to VMsafe and the new automation products? If I were an attendee, I'd be more interested in the cool new stuff VMware was releasing than watching a parade of OEM vendors touting their servers.

(A related note: It was awesome to see sister publication Redmond magazine mentioned by name during Greene's keynote! Look for it at about the 25-minute mark of the "Day 1 Webcast", where Greene talks about ESX Server's reliability).

VMware faces a major challenge from Microsoft, which pushed Hyper-V and virtualization relentlessly at its product launch last week. That indicates to me that Redmond is training the big guns in VMware's direction, and will spare no expense to climb that mountain. VMware needs to respond to this challenge immediately, and had a chance to play up its expanding product line. While there was certainly some of that, it felt very, very light, and inconsequential.

Perilli says one other thing that intrigued me: his canvassing of a number of attendees found a general impression that many of the courses were too basic in the information they presented. If you were there and went to some of those classes, I'd love to hear from you, to see if you agree with him, and what you'd like to see done differently.

Posted by Keith Ward on 03/03/2008 at 12:48 PM


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