Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last thoughts from VMworld

Now that my computer has been replaced with a shiny new Dell box, it is time for my last thoughts on VMworld. Overall, VMware did a great job, there was tangible excitement throughout the entire week at the show, and VMware is poised for a great year. Without further ado, here are my top 5 impressions -

1.Virtual desktops and virtual workspaces are gaining real momentum. The concept of IT managing users and content, and not managing devices is gaining traction. The primary driver is compliance – IT is fed up with configuration drift and data loss at the endpoint which is leading to programs for VDI.

2.VMware needs to provide a bridge from physical environments to hybrid physical-virtual environments to a total virtualized infrastructure. It is one thing to evangelize virtualization and the cost savings associated with application density. However, only 15-20% of applications in the data center have been virtualized. The remaining 80% or so of physical applications will take a while to evolve so VMware would do well to have vCenter embrace management of the entire infrastructure, not just ESX.

3.VMware has the chance to be the spokeperson for virtualization if they change their approach to competitors. RSA was brilliant in giving airtime to opposing points of view from competitors and the US government. The result is the most important and comprehensive security conference on the planet. VMware needs to lift space and messaging restrictions on Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle and others to elevate VMworld to the virtualization showcase conference.

4.VMware has a brand new leadership team with key players in their roles for less than 3 quarters. It is a challenge to learn the business and choose the best strategic path while undergoing on the job training. Maybe I’m overly sensitive to this – I saw Security Dynamics (now RSA) swap out Sales, Marketing, and Engineering leaders only to find the newbies surround themselves with cronies and stymie the business by chasing the PKI windmills.

5.Citrix and Microsoft are very much in VMware’s cross-hairs. Even Citrix customers often host applications on ESX and deliver the user experience with Citrix ICA. VMware is targeting end-to-end solutions by bolstering VDI with PCoIP – a direct challenge to Citrix’ ICA. This is a good move for VMware and will certainly benefit customers who will soon have more choice. Less good is the fear of Microsoft Hyper-V and App-V. VMware needs to find a cooperative and competitive strategy where they can spend less time looking over their backs at Redmond.

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