Last week I spent about 100 hours on the ground in San Francisco at VMware VMworld which had I’m told had over 20,000 attendees. Given my focus is on End-User Computing (EUC) I attended almost exclusively sessions from VMware’s End-User Computing track, my only deviation was for my last session I attended on Thursday which was an advanced esxtop session. I attended mostly breakout style sessions but on Wednesday I discovered Group Discussions. The Group Discussions I attended were lightly attended but the content and people there, both presenters and audience, were outstanding. Group Sessions were centered around VMware product architecture, development, and marketing personnel with HEAVY interaction from those attending the session. I made some great connections with key VMware employees in these sessions and in the future these will be my highest priority sessions to attend.
This year was also my first year attending VMware as a VMware vExpert. While at VMworld I attended a vExpert meeting where we talked about some of the goals of the program for the next year and networked and met of vExperts attending VMworld. Also courtesy of the vExpert program I was lucky enough to attend a CTO reception on Wednesday night before the main attendee party. The CTO reception was a great time to again meet with other vExperts and key VMware personnel…and as you can see below, get pictures and meet with people like the CEO and CTO of VMware.
Quite a lot of the value of VMworld for me is connecting with key industry and VMware employees. These connections are invaluable, these are the people who set direction, create product decision, and represent the End-User Computing industry on a worldwide basis.
What some people don’t yet recognize is that VMware is not just a hypervisor company, nor or they just a virtualization company, they clearly believe they will be (or already are) a top 3 software industry giant. They are competing and enabling every area of technology: Servers, Storage, Networking, End-User Computing, IAaS, PAaS…and the list goes on. Inevitably while this growth into every partner market continues they’re going to find themselves working as frenemies with many of their partners of today, there seems to be no sacred space not in the crosshairs of VMware ever expanding product suite(s).
The big takeaway I had from VMworld as it relates to my space (EUC) started during the keynote on Tuesday. I’ve attached a link to that general session here http://www.youtube.com/vmworldtv?x=us-_vmworldtv_5686_155. I highly recommend anyone interested in Desktop Virtualization or End-User Computing to watch this session. VMware covered use cases for their new product Mirage which was part of the Wanova acquisition. This product is a layering solution allowing administrators to manage the desktop, both physical and virtual, in layers (OS, Apps, User Data)…very cool stuff!
What VMware is doing with Horizon Suite is moving the “workspace” from the desktop OS to Horizon Suite. WIndow simply is the execution engine for “legacy” apps that run on Windows. From Horizon Suite you’ll be able to authenticate and access SAaS applications, ThinApp packaged applications, Windows Desktops/Applications, and Data. Those of you who have been following this space probably remember last year when VMware announced Project Octopus which was an internal project to create an enterprise Dropbox-like product. Project Octopus is now called Horizon Data. Also announced last year that received much attention was Project AppBlast which was delivery of a Windows Desktop via only a HTML5 browser. Project AppBlast is not referenced anymore but the technology has been included in the Horizon demo’s they showed. As to the timing and ultimate features Horizon will come to market with and when that day is still is unknown. VMware said Horizon Suite is currently an alpha product and they expect it to enter a beta status in Q4 of 2012.
My expectations of VMworld 2012 were high and they were fully exceeded by what I saw, the people I met, and the community of vExperts that I spent time with. Fantastic job VMware.