VMworld 2012: Impressions

It’s day two or three, depending on what you consider Sunday, here at VMworld 2012, and the feel is very different from prior years. Technicalities aside, just the venue and city set a tone that is distinct from the past. San Francisco bears a cultural appeal all of its own, and the Moscone is literally light–daylight isn’t scarce like our IT budgets, or like it is in Vegas.

In many ways, it feels like a transition year, epitomized by the transfer of reins from Paul Maritz to new CEO Pat Gelsinger. The kickoff music was a drum line embedded in the tops of the four-foot letters and numbers of “VMWORLD 2012″ on the stage, accompanied by hip-hop artists. Not that this is foreign to VMworld, but it seemed like changing energy (to me).

Technically, the focus has been on vCloud and the bigger, “software-defined” virtual datacenter. I enjoyed the direction and forward looking nature, but the application was definitely larger organization and more abstract, especially to the little guys in the community. Single site deployments and small shops will stretch to find more than removed interest in the focal points. Perhaps, though, they will find use in larger organizations in their IT careers.

The fact that this is a “dot” year (5.1) and not a major version marking event also affects things. In 2008, vSphere 4.0 made its debut (if not RTM) which was major news. Then in 2011, 5.0 showcased, another big deal. Sessions thus far have been half recap of 5.0 with minor updates that come with 5.1. Not disappointing, but not as wildly exciting as it could be.

I’ve said a lot that could be construed as disappointment, but the reality is that I’ve already been reminded of features and updates that I need to apply in my environments. Some task items are new; others are quite old but require a fresh look at things that six years of virtualization have obscured.

The second keynote is about to begin, so I’ll sign off for now. In the words of VMworld 2008, remember, “Virtually Anything Is Possible”.

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