On Wednesday afternoon I got an unexpected invite to sit with Dom Delfino from Cisco and Chad Sakac from EMC to do a video recap of VMworld!
These things are a clear doubled-edged sword for me, personally and professionally. I’m completely comfortable in front of the camera, and don’t have any issues there, so I’m always willing to jump in when needed. The challenge is…that I’m perfectly comfortable in front of the camera. I think a healthy amount of trepidation is a good thing, especially when dealing with the your employer and the joint owners of your employer. Coupled with my personal sense of comfort, Chad and Dom were funny and loose, so the possibilities that I’d do something career limiting were pretty high…
Luckily for all of us (mostly me, admittedly) the video went great. Dom and I had a little bit of fun with Chad at the start (it may end up on YouTube, but it was…salty), and once everyone stopped laughing (and Chad was actually crying, he was laughing so hard) we got down to business.
The overall message was that VMworld has been a great event, and the joint messages that have been put out by VMware, Cisco, EMC and VCE make for a very compelling and compatible narrative. The new vCloud Suite and vSphere 5.1 announcements certainly led the way, and there were a number of joint announcements that came out of that which were well received by customers. One that is important to VCE was the announcement that VMware and Cisco will continue to develop and integrate the Nexus 1000v distributed vSwitch for vSphere 5.1. Since this is a core part of the technology value that we provide to Vblock customers, it was gratifying to see both companies reaffirm that the interlock was strong.
On the VCE side, holy smokes was VMworld a lot of work. In addition to four days of booth demos, countless theater presentations and the impromptu interactions that go with them, there were over 60 hours of scheduled customer meetings that we supported. Some were executive level briefings and partnership updates like we did around our Cloupia and Softbank Telecom announcements. Some were on-site customer updates, providing more information and giving customers access to different members of the team. Finally, we had the “Whisper Suites” on the solutions floor, where we gave over 30 customers an under-NDA update on both the hardware and software personality roadmaps. Together, these different kinds of meetings and interactions really gave customers an awesome amount of insight and visibility into where we are, and where we are going.
I also got to do two video shoots, one with the VMware team in Moscone West, where Aaron Delp and I talked through some of the highlights of the show, and the afore-mentioned Cisco video with Dom and Chad. As soon as I get links to them, I’ll put them here, but those things are really fun for me. Hopefully I can do more of them in the future. I’m always worried that my voice is too high-pitched in them, but I’m sure no one ever likes the sound of their own voice, right? Hopefully the content will make up for it!
As always, VMworld is a gauntlet to be run. As has been the case since 2010, I didn’t get a chance to attend a single session, but for me that’s never been the true value. I can always get the presentations later for review, or reach out to my colleagues for information, but the real value is in the time we get to spend with the community of friends, customers, partners, competitors and leaders. Whether it was laughing at jokes with people at the Blogger Table, watching the #unsupported and Brownbag presentations, trying to find new ways to leverage NASA to drive innovation with people who are way, way smarter than I’ll ever be, raising money for great charities, getting to know customers and colleagues better or lamenting the inability for Jon Bon Jovi to play the songs we wanted to hear, none of the real value of VMworld happened inside a session for me. And that’s just how it’s supposed to be.