This week, geeks of the world flocked to Las Vegas to celebrate all things datacenter and virtualization. This was my 5th VMworld (and my first time not attending as a vendor), but my first VMworld in Vegas. Now, as I sit here in the airport waiting to return home, i wanted to reflect on my thoughts of the show.
I found the announcements from VMware a bit disappointing. There, I’ve said it! The things that were announced were great as part of a vision and forward looking direction that VMware is headed. However these announcements weren’t really new and were discussed last year as well. This time however they were a lot more polished and had working demos. Its great to see that VMware is accepting that people will chose other clouds for their workloads. But while cloud workloads may be the future, many people are not there yet.
I found the lack of announcements around whats coming for traditional infrastructure (also known as private cloud) a bit disturbing. In my experiences with customers, very few of them are using the cloud. The reason being that they aren’t developing their own apps, they are using someone else’s, and those still install into traditional VMs. I don’t believe we will see a bigger shift to cloud and container based workloads until the workload vendors start adopting them.
Walking around the show floor, it was very clear that there has been a shift in traditional infrastructure. Even from the big players, you didn’t see any mention of a spinning disk array. It was either all flashed or converged. Which then showed off 2 trends: A race to the top and a race to the bottom. So what do i mean by that? In a race to the top, these vendors are saying that they have the best or the fastest arrays. One product that can handle anything thats thrown at it, so you know you have the best out there, and it also comes with a top tier price too. Then the other trend, the race to the bottom. This was a “do more with less” approach i was seeing. These vendors were trying to put up the impressive numbers without braking the bank through innovative technology. You saw this through your newer vendors, who have a great idea, but haven’t necessarily gone through many revision cycles to add to or refine their offerings. I’m looking for big things from this space as i still believe price dictates the market.
You also saw this same trend in the converged space. It seems like this is the area with the most growth and just about everyone had some sort of a converged offering. Again, you have major players in this space that offer a full featured converged platform to address the majority of a company’s needs. And you also have the race to the bottom, where several companies were creating virtual san offerings trying to put out impressive performance numbers with very few disks. I honestly wonder what the landscape will be like in a few years as it becomes increasingly crowded. Something has to give, and i expect we will see a large change in the number of vendors in this space in just a few years time.
The community at VMworld has already been a great experience, and this year was no exception. It was great to see so many friends and almost felt like a family reunion. While the vExpert community is increasing, it’s great to see vendors still taking the time to engage these people. There are two vendors that i want to single out in particular. The first, Cohesity. They took the time ahead of VMworld to talk to the vExpert community, and went above and beyond to reward them for their hard work at the show. The backpack and show survival kit was a great offering and i was really impressed with the quality and effort put into it
The second was Datrium. I think this year is a story they will be telling for years to come and a great lesson learned. Their booth staff was calm and patient while secretly having a meltdown over missing Raspberry PIs. I’m proud of them that in the end they were able to pull it off, even if that meant missing evening activities and staying up till 2 in the morning assembling these things. They came out great, and again I want to thank them for supporting the vExpert community.
The vExpert community is increasing in size each year, and having a place to congregate in the bloggers area was awesome. So many people are giving back to the community and i’m proud to support as many of them as i can. My laptop came in relatively empty, and now its hard to find any free space on it.
VMworld is always a great experience, and this year was no exception. While vegas is cheaper, doing a show in August there is just too darn hot. Its clear that there is a shift in the landscape going on, but you can’t forget about those customers who aren’t constantly living on the cutting edge. And the community around the show is great, you will find amazing people to talk to all around the show and i encourage you to do that. Finally, i want to give a shout out to Battle Bots. Having these robots at the show was awesome and i can’t wait to see who wins in the finale tonight!