I got back from San Francisco late last night after attending my first ever VMworld. To put my experience in a single word: "Incredible".
I've attended a lot of conferences over my 16 years in the IT field and have generally come away with positive experiences. However, VMworld exceeded my expectations. There was an energy at the conferences that I haven't seen in a long time. People were there to find new and exciting ways to do things and there was air of transformation everywhere. What I mean by that is this: It's obvious that virtualization has, is, and will continue to transform the IT landscape, enable services and applications we can only dream about and is the key to the future of IT.
The vendors at VMworld understand this and are capitalizing on the trend. From Xsigo's exciting product announcement (virtual I/O for the masses) to Train Signal's ever-increasing library of VMware-focused training content, a whole new IT world is emerging and we need these vendors to fill in the gaps where they exist (Xsigo with virtual I/O) and other companies to help us all learn how to use the plethora of new tools (Train Signal).
Obviously, there were hundreds of vendors at the show and all had a story to share and a product or service to sell. I walked away from VMworld with a feeling that there is no such thing anymore as an unsolvable problem. Too many cables to your servers? No problem, get a Xsigo appliance and virtualize your I/O. Is desktop support killing your IT organization but Wyse terminals are too expensive? No problem. Just buy a Teradici-enhanced Samsung monitor (NC240) for $550 or a newly announced EVGA Teradici-enhanced terminal for $249 and implement a virtual desktop infrastructure.
Sure, these kinds of initiative take time, effort and money but as time goes on, we're truly moving to the IT-as-a-service model where the infrastructure can transform to meet today's business needs while jettisoning what we needed yesterday. Data centers (private clouds) can expand, contract and reshape based to current business needs. No longer does an organization have to buy enough capacity to meet the busiest time of the year. Now, anyone can buy what they need for right now and buy temporary additional capacity on demand.
If anyone asks me if VMworld 2011 is worth the cost, my answer will be an unqualified "Yes!"