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Bigger and bolder? VMworld 2008

Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware Inc. expects a record 14,000 attendees at VMworld 2008, the company’s fifth annual virtualization conference being held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas starting Sept. 15. Last year’s VMworld conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco housed some 10,000 attendees.MSN Travel photo of Las Vegas Welcome sign

Could it be that the buzz surrounding VMware is so magnificent this year that 30% more people will take flight to Vegas just to learn about virtualization technology? Or is the lure of Las Vegas partially to blame for the increased enthusiasm? Hmmm…

This year’s VMworld conference features 300 breakout sessions in seven tracks: Automating the Virtual Data Center; Building Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery; Exploring Technology and Architecture; Planning and Operations in the Data Center; Running Enterprise Applications in Virtual Machines; Virtualization 101; and Virtualizing the Desktop.

There will also be 13 instructor-led and five self-paced labs with around 8,000 lab seats. More than 200 sponsors and exhibitors have supported the conference, including Platinum Sponsors Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, NetApp and Symantec, all of whom will deliver keynotes.

The keynote I’m most interested in hearing will be from VMware’s new president and CEO, Paul Maritz, who replaced company co-founder and president Diane Greene this summer.

According to a VMware press release, “Maritz will look back at virtualization history and ahead to the industry trends that are influencing VMware’s future and its solutions. Looking ahead, Maritz sees a future of virtualization expanding from the data center to the desktop and beyond to the cloud.”

He will deliver his keynote on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, at 8 a.m. PT, which will also be available via webcast . You can read about his keynote from reporters on our VMworld 2008 coverage page.
I hope Maritz will be willing to field questions after his formal keynote, because with Microsoft Hyper-V nipping at VMware’s heels, he really needs to foster confidence in his leadership and vision for the company.

Also keynoting is VMware CTO Dr. Stephen Herrod, on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at 8 a.m. PT, also available via webcast.

This year’s theme is “Virtually anything is possible,” and there will be more than 100 customer stories offering insight into how VMware and virtualization have affected data centers. Featured VMware customers include AT&T, Burt’s Bees, Chevron, eBay, First American, Nationwide, Qualcomm, Siemens AG, United Bancorp and Whirlpool.

Also, like last year, will announce the Best of VMworld awards for the latest and greatest technologies.

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