VMworld attendance continues to climb, when will it peak?

This year VMware announced record attendance of over 22,000 people that attended VMworld. While their news release said over 22,000 at one of the keynotes it was stated their were 22,500 attendees. If you look at the graph below you can see every year is a record attendance for VMworld except for 2009 when it briefly dipped by 1500 attendees. Why the big dip in 2009? The shape of the economy probably played a factor that year which caused many IT departments to tighten their belts and limit travel and event expenses. Virtualization was also not as widely adopted back then as well which may of been a factor. The good news is that it bounced back in a big way the following year and has climbed every year. What I’d like to know is if VMware is counting their own employees and partner booth staff in their attendee numbers, I’m pretty confident that they are. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of all the different badge types that they issue for the show.


  • VMworld 2004 – 1400
  • VMworld 2005 – 3500
  • VMworld 2006 – 6700
  • VMworld 2007 – 10800
  • VMworld 2008 – 14000
  • VMworld 2009 – 12500
  • VMworld 2010 – 17000
  • VMworld 2011 – 19000
  • VMworld 2012 – 21000
  • VMworld 2013 – 22500

To provide some contrast to this, here’s how VMworld attendance stacked up against other popular tech conferences. Note while VMware is very open about the number of people that attend their annual conferences, many companies seem to not publicize that information.


  • Oracle OpenWorld – 50,000
  • Cisco Live 2013 – 20,000
  • SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2013 – 20,000
  • EMC World 2013 – 15,000
  • Microsoft TechEd 2013 -13,000
  • HP Discover 2013 – 12,000
  • CA World 2012 – 6,000
  • IBM Edge 2013 – 4,700
  • Dell World 2012 – 4,500

At some point I’m sure VMworld will peak out in attendance if I had to make a guess I’d say that next year may be the attendance tipping point. But who knows for sure, virtualization is still hot and VMworld these days is not just about virtualization but also all the technologies, products and services that interact with it which is quite a big list. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for VMworld.

Share This:


  1. Yes, I wonder the same. Good way to compare it.

    What’s odd is that they haven’t needed to move it/make the event travel. I bet they’d get a different profile (maybe more people) if they’d select some of the other cities more centrally located whom could host.

    But, I am just happy they got the food much better this year.

  2. Great info, Eric. One conference that I personally keep forgetting is the Salesforce “Dreamforce” conference series, which has absolutely insane attendance figures: 90,000+ people attended Dreamforce in 2012:


    The keynote sessions had: “…Sir Richard Branson, General Colin Powell, Jeff Immelt and Tony Robbins”

    And the band at the Dreamforce concert? Red Hot Chili Peppers

    – Jeff

  3. I think attendance will only increase as VMware expands into more technology areas. If VMware’s software-defined data center vision becomes reality, more and more storage and network admins will attend VMworld, in addition to VMware’s traditional server/cloud audience.

Comments have been disabled.