VMworld 2016 has officially begun, kicking off with Pat Gelsinger’s keynote presentation at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some events have been taking place over the weekend, but I consider the keynote to be the true starting point of the event. This year, the Solution Exchange welcome reception was held the night before the keynote address, which is a little earlier than VMworld usually schedules it. Several interesting points and takeaways from Pat Gelsinger’s keynote address are worth mentioning.
First, we learned how Pat Gelsinger broke his foot and how it complicated his participation in the weddings of two of his children and was slowing him down on stage. Once we passed the initial greetings and got into the meat of the presentation, he offered some interesting statistics on the evolution of the cloud, with a recap from a keynote by Raghu Raghuram in 2006. In that presentation, Raghuram introduced his vision of the software-driven data center. Gelsinger showed how today, ten years later, the industry has reached the point of broad cloud adoption. Counting both Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the cloud has reached about twenty-five percent of the market. Gelsinger was very specific in that he was only considering true cloud environments that have a fully automated lifecycle. He excluded virtualized environments in these figures. It is important to note that VMware’s focus has shifted from virtualization to the cloud. In the context of the cloud, the new industry challenge is not the cloud itself, but rather the cross-cloud architecture. This is expected to drive an increase in the number of companies using cloud services to fifty percent of the market by 2021 and seventy-five percent by 2030.
Gelsinger indicated that one driving factor in the growth of, acceptance of, and migration to the cloud is that the industry is nearing the point at which all of IT will be offered as a service. This will change the size, shape, and concept of what IT is and how it will be defined and supported by the time we reach 2030. Most workloads will be running in some sort of cloud, and businesses and application owners will be driving the direction of the services, being less reliant on IT teams to do that for them.
It is clear that the cloud has replaced virtualization as the target for the future. VMware is working to repeat its success in virtualizing the world. It is leveraging that knowledge as it leads the transformation of the virtualized environment into cross-cloud environments.
In conclusion, I present this question to you all: Since there has clearly been a “rebranding,” to all practical purposes, from virtualization to the cloud, is it time to start rebranding the conference from VMworld to CLOUDworld? OK, that might not be the best name, but I’m sure you get my point. One thing I noticed while walking the Solution Exchange show floor is that a significant number of vendors are rebranding themselves in order to better match this new direction the industry is heading in—this evolution of the landscape. Perhaps the time has come for VMware to put some consideration into doing the same, to leave no doubt as to its focus and direction. We’re getting closer to the day when most workloads and services will be running not just in a cloud, but across multiple ones.