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What you learned at VMworld

We recently asked readers to tell us what they learned at VMworld, and we enticed them with three prizes: TrainSignal DVDs, a Cisco Unified Computing System book and an official VMworld 2010 T-shirt. Today, we announce our winners and publish their responses:

Michael Caplan (prize: TrainSignal’s “VMware vSphere Pro Series Vol. 2″ DVDs)
What I was most excited learning more about was the debut of VMware View 4.5. My organization is preparing for a Windows 7 migration in the next year, and we’re evaluating all of the different options for how to best deploy a brand new OS to our end users.

Since we are looking at a fairly large desktop and laptop refresh (pretty much everyone in the 60-user company), we thought it best to begin testing View, now that we feel comfortable that PCoIP and RDP 7.0 have come along to standardize and address some of our concerns with how to deliver a rich desktop experience while at the office or working remotely.

Having to refresh 30 laptops and 20 desktops is a considerable capital expenditure, whereas with View we can leverage current equipment with the View Client and extend the equipment life cycle by years, saving the company in the long term from buying brand new equipment.  It also helped seeing the debut of the vSphere Managment and View Client tests on the iPad, and the release of Junos Pulse as well.

Greg Stuart (prize: “A Complete Reference Guide to the Cisco Data Center Virtualization Server Architecture” by Cisco Press)
What did I learn at VMworld 2010? Well, that isn’t such an easy question to answer. I can’t say that I learned one specific thing, more like a million things.

I will tell you about the two things learned that I think are most important. First off, I was fascinated by the amount of security booths that existed at the VMworld Solutions Exchange. This tells me that in order to have a fully functional virtual infrastructure, you have to have a fully functional security posture. I liked Trend Micro’s solutions, as well as a couple of others. I think I learned that cloud security is going to be one of the major trends on the horizon for cloud computing.

I also learned from the keynote address that the cloud will go on with or without VMware’s existence. The relevance of the cloud is growing every year it seems, and VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz hit the nail on the head when he said that. Either get on the train or get left behind; cloud computing is the future now!  It was my first VMworld and it won’t be my last.

Randy Stanley (prize: VMworld 2010 T-shirt)
Being as this was my first VMworld, and I have been working with VMware products since their inception, I felt a bit like the prodigal son returning home. It was almost too much to take in, and I would have liked for it to continue for another week or so.  I was at no loss of things to do, people to meet, new technology to learn about and future visions to grasp.

My biggest takeaway from the conference is that VMware has a very clear, directed and motivated vision for the future. When so much of what we hear from many of the large and legacy hardware and software companies resonates as business as usual, VMware communicated a very direct path to the future and their plans around delivery of any service, at any time and from any device through essentially a re-architected stack, where each layer focuses on what it does best.  This essentially moves us away from this monolithic, highly dependent and un-optimized hardware, operating system, application and data stack that is not portable, scalable or efficient.

In addition, the engineers, speakers and attendees at VMworld were considerably more technical than one might expect. I’ve had the opportunity to attend other conferences, which have a handful of legitimately technical people, but VMworld brings some of the best and brightest together from all facets of IT: networking, servers, storage, applications, databases, service operations, etc. VMworld was easily the best conference of the year.

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