VMware’s VMworld conference season is now over. Its Barcelona shindig has just finished and everybody has flown home, is flying home, or is winding down on the beaches of the Catalonian coast pending the upcoming OpenStack summit. I did not attend the Las Vegas event; however, from what I have gathered from speaking to folks who attended and from reading about it, it was not well received. Complaints included a lack of new releases and what at first glance appeared to be muddled messaging and poor keynotes. However, fast-forward to VMworld Barcelona, and you could not have had a more night-and-day moment.
Historically, VMware’s European conference has been lackluster ever since it was moved from its original late-February slot to its current Autumn resting-place, October. The larger US conference had a larger audience, lasted longer, had all the important new releases, and got first shout at the keynotes. Not this time. VMworld Barcelona was extended by an extra day, and more importantly, it got all the major announcements: vSphere 6.5, VSAN 6.5, vRealize Automation and Operations, a new version of Log Insight, and the biggie, vCloud on AWS. Further, rather than being able to sit in the hang space and mouth out the keynote in time with Pat’s speech, Europe got brand-new keynotes.
As we hear more about VMware, AWS, and IBM, a new story emerges. VMware is talking about cross-cloud management. VMware is also talking about cloud-native applications. VMware is also talking about how you go from the data center to the cloud. VMware is talking about how to transform into a hybrid cloud. It appears there is an interesting thread throughout this. We have read about the winners and losers in VMware’s new approach, but what most are missing is that there are no real losers. There are just winners. It depends on your mindset. The Achilles’ heel of IT is not hybrid cloud, but scale. How do we scale up our applications fast enough to handle the new IT? The approach VMware is taking is a major pivot for it. Let us look at some fundamentals.
Rumors are flying that VMware and Amazon Web Services will be teaming together to offer cloud services for VMware workloads. A press conference is scheduled for Thursday, October 13, on what will reportedly be a significant announcement related to a partnership between the two companies.
It has now been a couple of weeks since VMworld 2016 came to a close in Las Vegas, Nevada and a few weeks before VMworld EU 2016 goes to Barcelona. That has given me some time to ponder my collective thoughts about VMworld 2016 and reflect on what I saw, as well as what I heard, during that week in Vegas. I have to say, my biggest takeaway was that 2016 was the year when VMworld seemed to have more of a vibe about network and storage virtualization.
Some might say that the carve-up has begun, now that the Dell/EMC merger has been finalized. VMware has divested itself of two new business units: namely, the Business Enterprise and IT Benchmarking units, which it bought in 2011 when it acquired Digital Fuel. Remember, this was during VMware’s acquisition phase under former CEO Paul Maritz, during which it acquired companies including Shavlik, SpringSource, Socialcast, and Zimbra, amongst several others.
VMworld Las Vegas 2016 could not have come at a worse time for California-based VMware, just before the September 7 nuptials of its New England parent, EMC, and the Texan Dell.
Many are saying, as usual, that the writing is on the wall for VMware: that is has lost its way, that is it the IBM of the Millennial generation. Watching from afar (the less said about being afar the better, but at least my back is healing) offers a slightly different perspective. Not being dazzled by the bright lights of the conference or being subsumed into the cacophony means that you can more clearly see the chaff from the corn and perhaps discern a direction in what at first seems nothing but white noise.