Takeaways from VMworld 2016

Here are my thoughts and takeaways from VMworld 2016 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. First, let me say that Las Vegas really knows how to cater. The conference food was an absolute joy and a succulent treat, especially compared to prior conferences in San Francisco. No box lunches this year—and that was such a huge change that the conference food gets the first shout-out.

The general session was focused on the future, but left a lot of empty gaps in between. The vision of the future was illustrated with a couple of timelines. One of the timelines presented the growth of cloud computing. Starting in 2006, which many consider the birth of cloud computing, two percent of workloads were in a public cloud. Truth be told, a large portion of that two percent came from Salesforce.com. Fast-forward to today: fifteen percent of workloads are in the public cloud and twelve percent are in a private cloud, for a grand total of twenty-seven percent. Pat Gelsinger believes that there will be a fifty-fifty split between cloud computing and traditional IT soon and that by 2030, more than fifty percent of workloads will be run in the public cloud.

The next timeline had to do with the device/access side of the industry, or what is most commonly called the Internet of Things (IoT), and the expected explosion in the marketplace that will move the industry from around 8.2 billion devices this year to 8.7 billion devices within five years and 18 billion devices by the year 2021.

Pat Gelsinger got into VMware’s vision about cross-cloud services. I have always believed that VMware has a real opportunity to become the standard in multicloud automation, and that providing the tools and the platform to migrate will come from multiple different public clouds. Although nothing new, except for the release of vRealize Automation 7.1, was presented, it was clear that VMware’s NSX is a major part of that vision. I like to believe that the announcing and explaining of the cross-cloud vision validates earlier predictions I’ve made.

VMworld Europe, in Barcelona, Spain, will feature additional announcements. With most of this event’s general session addressing the vision for the future, I’d like to believe that VMware will be taking advantage of opportunities to work with various pubic cloud computing companies.

The VMware fans, customers, and groupies got their first introduction from a VMware perspective to the man who basically got the VMware company for free with Dell’s acquisition of EMC: Mr. Michael Dell. Michael Dell reiterated the need for an open cloud ecosystem, while getting his first real introduction as the majority shareholder of VMware. Welcome aboard, Mr. Dell, and job well done on not just taking one company from public to private, but taking two companies from public to private and completing one of the biggest technical acquisitions to date.

While walking through the Solutions Exchange, I had a sense of déjà vu, especially when getting to the middle of the show floor. These are the same companies that we see and talk to year after year. The booths get bigger, but there are still more of the same technologies we’ve been following all these years. For me, this year was just a little more of the same, although I really felt the cord was cut on virtualization, and the focus and spotlight were clearly placed on containers as well as cross-cloud services. Edward Haletky put it best when he said, “To find the new innovation and technologies, you need to spend most of your time on the outer edges of the show floor to really see what is up and coming.” Some of my upcoming posts will talk about the various vendors I had the opportunity to spend time with.

In closing, VMworld 2016 was a lot like VMworld 2015, except for the much-improved food. I would never have imagined Tater Tots as the base of an appetizer could taste so amazing. I believe that plenty of things are in motion this year, but none of them are ready to share yet. 2017 has the potential to be a pretty exciting year. Now that the Dell-EMC deal is done, we’ll get to see what the future holds for VMware as a part of Dell. I’m sure that new and exciting announcements are forthcoming. For now, to all my friends and peers I have the opportunity to see only once a year: See you all at the same time, same place next year!

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