VMworld 2016: Is It Still A Thing?

Blue Cow at VMworld 2016
Blue Cow holds my press credentials for VMworld 2016 (Photo: Justin Warren)

I’m at VMworld 2016 this week, checking out the ecosystem and going to All The Meetings with vendors and customers. It’s going to be a big week.

This is the first VMworld held in Las Vegas after being in San Francisco for so long. On the one hand, it makes VMworld much more like all the other tech conferences that are held in Vegas, but it also makes it different from what it used to be. What this ends up feeling like remains to be seen.

Some people have elected to give the show a miss this year, and certainly those who spend a lot of time at conferences in Vegas do get a bit sick of the place. I haven’t quite hit my threshold for loathing yet, and I’m not a huge fan of San Francisco, mostly because I live in Melbourne which is a lovely place.

However, I’ve already bumped into a lot of people I know in the industry as I wander the halls of the Mandalay Bay, and Twitter is full of activity. I don’t see a major drop in enthusiasm for the event, at least, not yet.

There are rumours about a refocus on cloud, or more likely multi-cloud, and Twitter.

Personally, I think VMware needs to work on its cloud story and its software development/hosting story. VSAN is all well and good, but that’s just storage inside some compute nodes, which everyone and their dog is doing now. To be a major enterprise infrastructure or software company, VMware needs to have a lot more than that to talk about.

NSX is fragile and buggy, and so the focus there is ­— quite rightly — on stability rather than new features.

vRealize Suite, automation, orchestration, etc. is still too complex and ‘enterprisey’ when the action is in developer centric systems like Kubernetes and Ansible/Puppet/Chef et al. Infrastructure in the VMware enterprise world is still a completely separate discipline to software development, but that is rapidly changing. It’s also changing faster than VMware appears to be.

Hopefully we’ll see a clear strategy with some clear milestones for the next year, two years, three years so we can see the path to the new world from where VMware is today. That’s been sorely lacking in the past couple of years.

Here’s hoping.

This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.