Observations from VMworld Europe 2009

I was in Cannes last week for the annual European edition of VMWare’s User conference. I was very pleasantly surprised that VMWorld Europe attracted a very robust attendance that even grew slightly over last year’s numbers. This is ample evidence of the resilience of underlying value propositions driving the growth of virtualization even during dire economic times. This sentiment was echoed in my discussions with executives from several partner companies and vendors on the show floor as well. Confidence in virtualization’s ability to deliver real ROI and cost savings to hundreds of customers worldwide remains high and growing. That said, it was clear most exhibitors were being prudent about their show expenses — many fewer freebies and more muted displays.

Clearly, Citrix garnered tons of press and attendee interest with their cleverly timed announcement of their free hypervisor release. We at VMLogix were excited to be highlighted in that same spotlight last week as well when Citrix announced the availability of Citrix Lab Manager and Stage Manager. Those new offerings are the result of a strategic OEM agreement that Citrix inked with VMLogix in Q4 of 2008. This move reiterates the trend that we have been observing over the past several months  – the hypervisor is being driven towards commoditization and the phenomenal value add is coming in from the myriad of management applications that sit atop that base platform.

The conference hosts VMware made several announcements and partner demonstrations around vCloud and also put the focus on vSphere — their new data center OS platform. VMware who earlier prefixed “v” to all their product names and branding at VMWorld 2008 a few months ago, now seem to be attempting to attach a ‘cloud buzz’ to everything they do going forward. Most of the vendors on the show floor seem to have taken that vCloud marketing theme to heart and one can sense extreme levels of hype and abuse of the term “cloud” in all the marketing materials and displays on the show floor. Everything and everybody regardless of actual relevance to cloud computing had the “cloud” tagline attached to it.

Talking about the cloud, VMware’s cloud announcements and the cloud pavilion were a trifle disappointing and under-whelming. There was very little definition available on key considerations like the vCloud APIs, the service provider business models around vCloud, the pricing, roadmaps and availability were all unclear and poorly communicated if at all to the audience. Many attendees left presentations and seminars with the impression that vCloud was still very nascent … more slideware than real production software.

– Ravi Gururaj

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