VMworld 2011: Recap Day 1

6a0128779ad48c970c014e8b18d569970dThe first day of VMware is always a tone-setter for me.  Sunday is a way to ease in, get your bearings, try and sync up your body clock and get ready, but Monday really determines what kind of conference it’s going to be.  If today is any indication, we have a great week in front of us.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a full conference pass, and I don’t have access to any of the individual sessions.  This is actually a huge, huge issue for me, and one that I’m working with my employer on to make sure gets fixed for Copenhagen and future conferences.  Without the sessions I feel like I’m not getting close to the technical content I could otherwise.  If only there were a Scott Lowe in every session live-blogging… 🙂

The morning was filled with customer meetings, blog posts (pssst, I published a big one on the new VSPP program features and what it means for service providers here) and conference calls.  After a great lunch with Jason Nash and Dan Weiss from Varrow I headed down to the VCE booth to get my vCloud on Vblock theater presentation loaded and make sure there weren’t any issues.  The VCE booth looks great, as usual, and the Vblock 300FX was purring along nicely.  We’ve added some additional demo stations and a station dedicated just to partners, so come by and check it out.

6a0128779ad48c970c015434f89a7f970cSpeaking of the booth, it’s awesome to see the interest from people in the Vblock.  Giving away iPads in the booth definitely helps bring people in, but even outside that, the number of customers I talked to about the Vblock and its ecosystem was awesome.  Customers big and small, existing EMC or NetApp customers, customers looking for infrastructure or just for an app platform, the one constant is that everyone wants to take the complexity out of it.  The FastPath VDI product announcement (which went out a little earlier than planned, oops) was definitely a hot topic!  Come to the booth today and you’ll be able to see the demos and pick up some collateral.

One of the things that is different being a vendor instead of a partner is that there’s not a lot of mystery left in the keynote content. The general session from Paul Maritz was packed, well orchestrated and Paul always does a good job of delivering the message.  The things that stood out for me were these:

  1. The service provider space is becoming not only more important tactically to VMware as a place to deliver products and services, it’s becoming strategic as well, with vCloud Director being the hub around which the VMware development wheel is turning.  Considering as little as 18 months ago that hub was the vSphere hypervisor, that’s a huge strategic change.  The VSPP license changes, the focus on delivering services through the vCD framework (watch how many demos for new products and technologies use the vCD UI this week) all highlight this change.  Needless to say, I couldn’t be happier.
  2. The introduction of vFabric Data Director is huge.  Think about both the importance today (really, self-service, vSphere/vFabric optimized, multi-tenant VMware databases as a service?) as well as the strategic importance over time.  This is VMware taking a first bold step into the big-boy pool of database services and it’s not going to take long for the other people who think they OWN that pool to notice.  Also, think about the amount of strategic work that went into that one announcement.  Chad Sakac put up a great blog post here, and the answer to his question at the end is yes, we would have thought he was high.  How much coordinated acquisition went on between EMC and VMware at make “Project Aurora” happen?  GemFire. Gemstone, Greenplum, SQLFire, how many millions of dollars were bet on this one path?

6a0128779ad48c970c015434f89ab0970cAfter the solutions floor closed, the fun continued.  The EMC vSpecialist party at the Moon nightclub at the Palms was great, the #CXIparty at the Cosmo was fun, the VMwareTips.com TweetUp at the Vesper was awesome.  I watched Tee Glasgow break a limo, I watched Chris Horn give movie watching recommendations to John Avery, and I worked hard to quit while I was ahead, so all in all it was a great night!

Day two promises more fun.  I’ll be down in the booth around 9am (maybe a LITTLE late.:-) so stop by and say hi!  Also, don’t forget the VCE Tweetup tonight at the Helix in the Palazzo!