Returning VMworld 2010 attendees sing show's praises

The good mood from San Francisco's VMworld 2010 still lingers, as attendees return home to the UK raving about their experience.

The last of the stragglers are returning back to the UK from VMworld 2010 in San Francisco. While still hurting from jetlag, spirits remain surprisingly high about the how the show went down.

VMworld 2010 has become the virtualisation industry-wide event, and the bar continues to be raised each year.


Jim Sangster, senior director, virtualisation solutions and alliances at NetApp,

VMworld 2010 saw over 17,000 attendees flood to the Moscone Centre, up 5,000 from 2009. According to VMware, during VMworld's four days over 15,000 labs were completed, over 145,000 virtual machines deployed and 102,000 fizzy drinks were consumed, along with 27,000 pastries.

Andrew Barnes, senior vice president of corporate development at disaster recovery vendor Neverfail, said he found the attendance at this year's show to be surprisingly high. "It certainly exceeded my expectations based on previous shows, with a better mix of vendors exhibiting," he said.

A clear cloud agenda
Barnes added that it is very clear from VMworld that cloud computing continues to dominate the IT agenda.

"In my view, cloud-washing is becoming something of an inhibitor to understanding some vendors' value propositions, with everyone keen to capitalise on this year's buzzword. I certainly heard this from people I talked to in the exhibition hall," Barnes said.

That said, Barnes expressed that he particularly enjoyed Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod's keynote speech, which shed some light on their view of private and public clouds and the role of the service provider together with the value of a hybrid cloud offering.

Other news delivered by Maritz was Novell making SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) available for VMware. SLES is now available on the three major virtualisation platforms; VMware, Hyper-V and Citrix Xen.

Rolling out the virtual desktop infrastructure
Mark Jordan, vice president EMEA at Wyse Technology, also attended VMworld and shared his thoughts on how the show surpassed the vendor's expectations.

According to Jordan, it wasn't just that attendance was higher but also how the whole virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) story came to life in the sessions, on the exhibition floor and in after-show events.

"In previous years there had been excitement, but it was often couched with some caution and a sense that VDI wasn't exactly mainstream. This year was so different," Jordan said. "I found VMworld highly charged with this sense of how VDI was surging ahead and coming of age, with vendors and customers in agreement about what could be done."

Jordan said, for Wyse, it was the ideal platform to share the firm's own cloud client strategy, because the ecosystem of technology partners was so well represented at the show.

"Little was missing from VMworld, except the number of European visitors seemed lower," Jordan added. Ironically, this isn't surprising, given how the VMworld model is expanding internationally; this year's VMworld Europe is set to be a record event.

There were several sessions and labs that took place during the show. Charles Ferland, vice-president of EMEA at BLADE Network Technologies, said the company's technical product marketing and management experts found the show's sessions to be informative and thought-provoking.

The BLADE team was there exhibiting their latest product, the VMready 3.0 with Virtual Vision.

"We held several in-depth technical discussions about VMware network virtualisation and high performance Ethernet networking at the edge for cloud, financial services, Web 2.0 and HPC applications," said Ferland.

According to Ferland, the show's website could be improved for exhibitors. He said it also would have been helpful to have an information booth in the exhibit hall to help people find exhibitors more easily.

Despite this, Ferland said the show was well worth the trip, as it gave BLADE the opportunity to meet with current customers, partners, press and analysts.

He added: "It was beneficial for us to connect face-to-face with so many technical decision-makers and industry influencers, and to gain more insights into customers' needs. Thus, it was a mutual, and rich, learning experience for all."

Other HPC-based announcements to come out of the show included two new servers from AMD. The chip vendor announced the IBM x3755 M3 will now contain its Opteron 6000 Series platform. Other OEMs to be announced, including the 6000 series, were Acer, Dell and HP.

The company claims the 6000 series is well suited for HPC clusters and virtualisation, as it is intended for larger environments with eight- and 12-core editions. The vendor's 4000 series, released in June, is positioned more for large scale-out cloud environments and custom shops. The 4000 is available in both four- and six-core editions.

VMware's vCloud Director
Storage vendor NetApp was at the show and involved in the big buzz around VMware View 4.5 and VMware vCloud Director. NetApp used the show to demonstrate the integration of its storage functionality with vCloud Director.

I found VMworld highly charged with this sense of how VDI was surging ahead and coming of age.


Mark Jordan, vice president of EMEA at Wyse Technology,

Jim Sangster, senior director of virtualisation solutions and alliances at NetApp, said, "VMworld 2010 has become the virtualisation industry-wide event, and the bar continues to be raised each year."

Sangster said the record attendance and the coming-of-age of products that can enable internal and external cloud services made VMworld quite an exciting week. He explained that, along with the continued increase in attendees, there has been a demographic shift as well.

"As VMware has grown from a product based company to a true infrastructure platform on multiple levels, the demographics have moved beyond technical IT professionals and is now increasingly representative of decision makers and executives," added Sangster.

The only consistent complaint that everyone noticed at the show were the long lines to get into sessions. In many cases, attendees were missing other events to stand in line for a session they really wanted to make.

VMware's answer was that sessions are repeated towards the end of the week, but not everyone has time to stay the whole week. Might it be time for a larger venue? It's a good problem to have, and a signal of exactly how vibrant this market is today.

Kayleigh Bateman is the Site Editor for

Read more on Server virtualisation platforms and management