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VMworld is packed! Good God … who’s manning the servers?

When you walk up to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this week, it is obvious something big is happening, and it sure as hell isn’t me winning the jackpot on those God forsaken slot machines.

When VMware Inc. announced there would be 14,000 people attending VMworld 2008 this week, they weren’t blowing smoke. Last year’s show in San Francisco held about 10,000 attendees and that seemed like a lot. Apparently, that was just the beginning.

The volume of IT administrators who are here in Vegas this week makes me wonder in a slight panic, who is manning all of the servers?

It reminds me of an episode of the cartoon American Dad, where the main character, a CIA agent named Stan Smith, storms into a Sci-Fi convention looking for someone and sees a place swarming with stereotypical techie types. “Good God, who is manning the Internet?,” he gasped.

Joking aside, the not-subtle point I am trying to make is that the huge turnout at VMworld 2008 signals how popular virtualization is today, reminiscent of the earlier days of Linux when LinuxWorld was a huge show.

Though the LinuxWorld organizers claimed there were 10,000 people at the show in San Francisco last month, it didn’t seem that way. “When Linux was an emerging technology that people were excited about, those LinuxWorld shows were like [VMworld] is today,” said AMD’s commercial products director Margaret Lewis. “But now Linux is mainstream, so the excitement is gone.”

She said AMD didn’t set up a booth at the LinuxWorld show floor this year because turnout the previous year was low. And by the way, AMD has a monster booth set up at VMworld this year.

Which means that when virtualization becomes mainstream, VMworld will no longer be “the place to be.” Maybe VMware 2015 will be held at a small conference center in a small state, like Rhode Island (which is great, by the way).

But for now, VMworld Las Vegas is it.

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