Tag: VMworld 2014

VMworld 2014 – The Review

Another year, another VMworld, this would be #7 for me and I wanted pass along my thoughts of this one.

Getting there

I arrived on Sunday afternoon, I just missed the earthquake which happened about 7 hours before my flight was leaving from Phoenix. When I read about the earthquake that morning I was a bit concerned thinking, a) did it damage anything that might impact the conference and b) I have to live in that recently seismically active area for 4 days where more aftershocks or “the big one” could occur. Thankfully the only damage around Moscone was limited to disrupting the sleep of hung over attendees who got in early. After arriving I checked into the hotel, went to Moscone to register and then down to the Solutions Exchange to help setup our booth and check in on things.

The hotel situation

Let’s take a moment and talk about hotels, the availability and rates are ridiculous in SF. You’re typically looking at $300-$500/night if you want to be fairly close to the Moscone and of course who wouldn’t want to be. I hate walking and especially in SF when you have to deal with all the buses, cable cars, crazy taxi drivers and street people that are everywhere, so being as close to Moscone is a priority for me. My usual little known hotel which is only a block away from Moscone and very cheap was sold out this year though. So I had to go to plan B which was the Hilton where we had a block of rooms but it was about 5 blocks away. When it comes to hotels at VMworld I don’t care about amenities or how nice things look, if it has a bed, bathroom and wifi that’s all I need as I’m usually only there about 7 hours just to sleep. In comparison this is one thing that is ideal about having conferences in Las Vegas, mega-hotels. I usually never have to leave the hotel as the conference is in the same building.


Anyway Sunday was the opening of the Solutions Exchange, it was a real good crowd and I enjoyed talking to people and walking around checking out the many vendors. The Solutions Exchange area was well executed and probably the star of the show this year. I saw a lot of new vendors and it seemed a lot of the smaller vendors had a pretty big presence to take full advantage of the event as a place to shine and engage attendees. After the event shutdown I headed over to the VMunderground party which was in the Metreon this year which was a much more suitable venue for it given the large amount of people that attend it. It was very well planned and a great event so hats off to the group that makes it possible each year.


Monday was the general keynote session with Robin Matlock, Pat Gelsinger and Carl Eschenbach. The day 1 session is typically focused on strategy, vision and marketing but they also typically announce anything new as well. This year I found the keynote rather flat and boring, if it was on my DVR I probably would of fast-forwarded through the whole first half-hour. At the keynote they announced EVO, vCloud Suite 5.8, the vSphere 6.0 beta featuring VVols and VSAN 2.0 beta and vRealize. Let’s talk about those some more.

What’s new and exciting (or not)

The rumors of a VMware hyper-converged platform have been floating around for a while with the program name MARVIN. EVO is the official launch name now and it comes in 2 flavors, EVO:Rail which is a single hyper-converged appliance and EVO:Rack which is a super-sized version which as the name implies is a bunch of EVO:Rail’s filling a whole rack. VMware stressed they were not going to get into the hardware business (not yet at least) and they would work closely with their partners to develop EVO solutions. We’ll have to wait and see how well that plays out and customer interest in EVO.

In product renaming news we have vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) transforming into vCloud Air <insert Apple/Mac joke here> and various automation and management products transforming into the vRealize Suite which consists of:

  • VMware vCloud Automation Center Advanced or Enterprise
  • VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite Advanced or Enterprise
  • VMware vCenter Log Insight
  • VMware IT Business Management Suite Standard Edition

VMware must have a whole department devoted to how they can continually rename their products to keep their customers confused. I kind of like the new vCloud Air name but it definitely sounds like an Apple product. The vRealize suite name is another story, to put it bluntly, it’s a pretty stupid sounding name. I get the definition of realize is “become fully aware of (something) as a fact; understand clearly” but to use it as a product suite name is dumb. If they are going to go that route why not vUnderstand or vComprehend instead. I’m sure they could of come up with a much cooler sounding name for it.

The vSphere 6.0 beta wasn’t really talked about much as it is still quite a ways out before it becomes available sometime in 2015. Pat did apologize for neglecting Virtual Volumes (VVols) which was first announced 2 years ago and not really heard about since then. If you read between the lines VMware put the majority of their development effort into VSAN and put VVols on the back-burner. You can probably understand the reason for that as VSAN is a revenue generating product for VMware and a vital piece of their SDDC vision where VVols is just a new external storage architecture to replace VMFS.

More Monday

After the keynote I attended the HP session on VVols and then headed of to Chris Wolf’s session on hyper-converged infrastructure (EVO). Chris is a great speaker and it was good to find out more about what EVO was and how it would impact the partner ecosystem. They detailed the hardware configs for EVO and did some live demos of the installer process. After that it was on to the HP Blogger briefing which was a no PPT informal chat with some super techy guys and afterwards a performance by magician Andrew Mayne which was very fun to watch. In the evening I went to a dinner hosted by Infinio at Oola, it was great to see and talk with Carrie Rebar, Scott Lowe (Other), Scott Davis and a few customers. Infinio had a real nice presence at the show with a big booth and it was good to see a new start-up make a big splash. After dinner I headed over to Xangati’s party at Bourbon & Branch, a hidden Speakeasy from the old days of prohibition. I met up with Todd Scalzott there and hung out, had a few drinks and then off to the sidewalk to smoke stogies. B&B is kind of a neat place as their are no signs advertising it, passwords to get in and hidden rooms behind bookcases.


Tuesday was the day 2 general keynote session with Ben Fathi which is traditionally the fun one as it is more about the technology. I ended up watching it live-streamed from the hotel room which was a good quality stream. Much of the focus was on VDI (Horizion) and overall it wasn’t all that exciting like previous years as again there wasn’t a whole lot new to talk about, as a result I ended up tuning it out and not really paying attention to it. After the keynote I had to head to my speaking session which was a HP session that I was co-speaking in to highlight our VMware integration. From there I went to an EMC VVol  to see what they were doing with it, hung out in the Solutions Exchange, another blogger briefing and then off to the vExpert party with Calvin Zito. The vExpert party was fun as usual, VMware invites many of their executives and technical experts to mingle with the attendees. I appreciate the effort they put into this annual event. I ran across Pat Gelsinger at the event and got my photo with him for the 2nd year in a row. After that it was off to the Veeam party which is always epic, they outdid themselves this year with a much bigger venue with a nice outdoors space and it was crowded and a lot of fun. Thank you Veeam for not just doing it but doing it big.


Wednesday was a much more slow-paced and leisurely day, I hung out in the Solutions Exchange area a bit and then had to head to the airport for a flight later that evening. The official VMware parties are not all that great, I always look forward to big name entertainment at those kinds of events but VMware keeps it more low-key. As a result I usually end up heading back early instead of on Thursday morning.


Overall another great event, attendance was down this year, in a previous post gave my opinion why that might be. Special thanks to Tegile for the nice vExpert swag bags and Simplivity for the coffee press. I’ll leave you with a summary of what I thought was the Good, the Bad and the Ugly at VMworld this year along with a few pics.

The Good

  • Solutions Exchange area had a lot of great things to showcase
  • Lots of great sessions
  • Awesome vendor parties
  • Great networking with people
  • Logistically it was very well executed
  • Hands-on Labs give a lot of great experience

The Bad

  • The keynotes were rather boring and didn’t have a lot of meat
  • Not many surprises, VMware didn’t really have much new to unveil
  • Things are getting a bit too spread out across Moscone and nearby hotels
  • Attendance was down this year which is bad for VMware but not necessarily for attendees

And the Ugly

  • The box lunches were truly awful this year
  • San Francisco, the costs, the walking all over and the street people, I’m tired of it
  • Product re-naming, vRealize, seriously?

And some photos

About to land at SFO…small-20140824_130148

View from the VMunderground party…


Day 1 keynote about to start…


What No Limits is all about…


Big (more like medium) announcements summed up in the day 1 keynote…


A new family is born during the day 1 keynote and is named EVO…


What’s a gooey egg have to do with VMware?…


It describes most data center security implementations, hard & crusty on the outside, soft & gooey on the inside…


Chris Wolf, VMware’s CTO of the Americas talking up EVO…


Great slide from Chris’s deck about embracing innovation even if it wasn’t your idea…


Magician Andrew Mayne performing at the HP Blogger Briefing, one of the bloggers twists his hand 360 degrees…


Another shot of Andrew Mayne performing…


Andrew Mayne pulling physical objects out of a virtual rack…


Myself with Pat Gelsinger at the vExpert party along with half of Calvin Zito and Tony Dunn photo-bombing in the back…


What happens when an EMC’er walks into a bar, 50 shots of Jager suddenly appear…


Trolley car performing a manual vMotion at Union Square…


Myself with the gang from Infinio…

Image 1

Heading home…


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Has VMworld jumped the shark?

Jumping the shark” is a term coined by Jon Hein (from Howard Stern show fame) that describes a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. The origin of the phrase comes from a particular Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on waterskis which was thus was labeled the lowest point of the show.


I’ve been attending VMworld each year since 2008, almost every year with one exception (2009) VMworld has steadily grown in size with increased attendance each year. Last year (2013) attendance was 22500, up from 21000 in 2012. This year however attendance appears to be about the same or lower than 2013. VMware hasn’t released any official attendance numbers from what I’ve seen, in previous years they have mentioned attendance in their VMworld announcement news releases. In 2013 it was mentioned in the keynote as “22,500”.


From what I’ve read in VMware blog posts before VMworld 2014 it looks like they were expecting around 25,000 people this year but ended up with “more than 22,000“. That’s a pretty sizable difference, I’m not sure how they calculated the 25,000 number beforehand, many people register late or on-site so I’m guessing they probably just based the 25,000 estimate on the increases from previous years which has been around 2,000 each year.

With attendance increasing each year that leads to the question, why didn’t attendance increase this year?

I see a number of reasons why:

  • As VMworld’s go this one was fairly boring. In previous years their have been major product launches aligned with VMworld, this year there wasn’t as the next release of vSphere is no longer on the quick 1-year cycle that it has been on lately. As a result their wasn’t too much new to talk about. The EVO launch was probably the biggest thing and it’s basically just VSAN bundled with more VMware software and a new installer. I found the keynotes pretty un-exciting this year as it seemed like VMware had to try hard to make up for the lack of new things to talk about.
  • I’m getting pretty tired of San Francisco and I’m sure others are as well. It’s a nice enough city but all the street people that are in your face and the walking all over the place gets old fast. The hotels in SF also get booked up very fast and are very expensive ($300-$600) and you usually end up far away from Moscone. I preferred it back in Vegas that is much better equipped to handle large numbers of people at conferences, I usually never had to even leave the hotel in Vegas. It may be convenient for VMware to have it in SF as it is nearby their HQ in Palo Alto, but maybe its time to quit being selfish and think of your attendees instead.
  • Nobody is really new to virtualization any more. Many people attended VMworld when they were just getting started with virtualization to soak up as much knowledge as they could to help them deploy virtualization. Most of those people are experienced now and trying to justify attending VMworld becomes more difficult. VMworld has also started to focus more on EUC & Cloud and not everyone is interested in those areas.
  • The food sucks. Sorry couldn’t resist including this one, the lunches at VMworld were terrible this year. I threw my first one away and bought lunch at a local restaurant instead.

Regardless of VMworld not really growing this year it is still one of the biggest tech conferences next to Oracle OpenWorld.


Maybe VMworld doesn’t need to grow anymore, there are still plenty of people attending and VMware does a good job of engaging customers and partners year round with events like vForums, VMUG’s, Partner Exchange and a lot of online activity. I do hope that they consider moving it around the US in future years once their contract with Moscone is up. Having it in San Francisco once every few years is OK but I could see Vegas, Chicago and Orlando as being other suitable venues for it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this year was a fluke like in 2009 or if VMworld has plateaued in attendance. Either way I’ll still be going next year and I hope to see you there as well.

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Select VMworld 2014 session recordings are now available for anyone to watch

Even if you didn’t attend VMworld you can still virtually attend some of the best sessions as VMware has released 29 of the top sessions that were recorded at VMworld. Some of the sessions are just audio and slides only but there were some that were recorded on video as well. All of the sessions look pretty good but I wanted to highlight a few in red that you should definitely check out. Also note that despite VMware saying there are 29 sessions there are actually only 28 as they have one of them listed twice. Also if you missed the General Sessions the links are below as well as some links to some VMworld TV highlight videos featuring Mr. Eric Sloof. Be sure to check out the over total 200 videos from VMworld 2014 that are available here.

General sessions:

VMworld 2014 US – General Session – Monday (Robin Matlock, Pat Gelsinger, Carl Eschenbach)

VMworld 2014 US – General Session – Tuesday (Ben Fathi)

VMworld TV highlights:

VMworld 2014 US – Welcome to VMworld USA!

VMworld 2014 US – VMworld TV: Day 1 Highlights

VMworld 2014 US – VMworld TV: Day 2 Highlights

VMworld 2014 US – VMworld TV: Day 3 Highlights

VMworld 2014 US – VMworld TV: Day 4 Highlights

Application sessions:

VAPP2305.1Extreme Performance Series – Understanding Applications that Require Extra TLC for Better Performance on vSphere – Deep Dive (Vishnu Mohan, VMware  Reza Taheri, VMware)

VAPP2979.1 – Advanced SQL Server on vSphere Techniques and Best Practices (Scott Salyer, VMware  Jeff Szastak, VMware)

VAPP1318.1 – Virtualizing Databases Doing IT Right – The Sequel (Michael Corey, Ntirety – A Division of Hosting  Jeff Szastak, VMware)

VAPP1340.1 – Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way! (Matt Liebowitz, EMC Corporation  Deji Akomolafe, VMware)

Business Continuity sessions:

BCO2629.1 – Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication: What’s New Technical Deep Dive (Jeff Hunter, VMware Ken Werneburg, VMware)

BCO1916.1Site Recovery Manager and Stretched Storage: Tech Preview of a New Approach to Active-Active Data Centers (Shobhan Lakkapragada, VMware  Aleksey Pershin, VMware)

BCO2701.1 – vSphere HA Best Practices and FT Tech Preview (Gurusimran Khalsa, VMware  Manoj Krishnan, VMware)

BCO2194 – Data Protection for vSphere 101: Keys to Successful Backup and Replication in a Virtual World (Daniel Miller, VMware  Pooja Virkud, VMware)

End-User Computing:

EUC1476.1 – What’s New with View and PCoIP in Horizon 6 (Tony Huynh, VMware  Simon Long, VMware)

Hybrid Cloud:

HBC1533.1 – How to Build a Hybrid Cloud – Steps to Extend Your Datacenter (Chris Colotti, VMware  David Hill, VMware)

Infrastructure sessions:

INF1502.1 – What’s New in vSphere? (Michael Adams, VMware)

INF1503 – Virtualization 101 (Michael Adams, VMware)

INF2311.1vCenter Server Architecture and Deployment Deep Dive (Justin King, VMware  Harish Niddagatta, VMware  Robert Perugini, VMware)

INF1522 – vSphere With Operations Management: Monitoring the Health, Performance and Efficiency of vSphere with vCenter Operations Manager (Kyle Gleed, VMware  Ryan Johnson, VMware)


MGMT1969 – vCloud Automation Center and NSX Integration Technical Deep Dive (Ray Budavari, VMware  Zackary Kielich, VMware)

Networking sessions:

NET1846.1 – Introduction to NSX (Milin Desai, VMware)

NET2745 – vSphere Distributed Switch: Technical Deep Dive (Jason Nash, Varrow  Chris Wahl, AHEAD)

NET1674Advanced Topics & Future Directions in Network Virtualization with NSX (Bruce Davie, VMware)

Operations Transformation:

OPT2465.1 – VMware IT’s Transformation: An Update on How VMware IT is Moving to IT-as-a-Service as Told by the People on the Frontlines (Venkat Gopalakrishnan, VMware  Anees Iqbal, VMware  Job Simon, VMware  Brian Smith, VMware)


SEC1959-S – The “Goldilocks Zone” for Security (Martin Casado, VMware  Tom Corn, VMware)

Software-defined Data Center sessions:

SDDC2198VMware OpenStack End-to-End Demo (Scott Lowe, VMware  Michael West, VMware)

SDDC3327The Software-defined Datacenter, VMs, and Containers: A “Better Together” Story (Kit Colbert, VMware)

SDDC3245-SSoftware-Defined Data Center through Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (Mornay Van Der Walt, VMware  Chris Wolf, VMware)

SDDC1600 – Art of IT Infrastructure Design: The Way of the VCDX – Panel (Mark Gabryjelski, Worldcom Exchange, Inc.  Mostafa Khalil, VMware  Chris Mccain, VMware  Michael Webster, Nutanix, Inc.)

Storage sessions:

STO1279.1Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive (Christian Dickmann, VMware  Christos Karamanolis, VMware)

STO1965.1Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive (Rawlinson Rivera, VMware  Suzy Visvanathan, VMware)

STO2554-SPOZooming In: How VMware Virtual Volumes (vVols) Will Provide Shared Storage with X-ray Vision (Patrick Dirks, VMware
Ivan Iannaccone, HP)

STO1853-S – Software-Defined Storage: The Transformation of Enterprise Storage Has Begun (Alberto Farronato, VMware  Vijay Ramachandran, VMware)

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