As we prepare to head to the heavily attended virtualization conference hosted by VMware and its partners, it is important that we take a look at what this year’s event will look like. VMworld has been moved to Las Vegas this year (and possibly again next year) which is also a bit symbolic as they are shifting more than just the location. VMware is beginning to shift the message to acknowledge where the industry at large is going: further up the stack.
What to Expect at VMworld 2016
Last year featured the introduction of the DevOps lounge, and a strong focus in all of the keynotes on the future integration of containers, network virtualization, and the often argued title of software-defined storage. In other words, VMware was beginning to answer the growing question about how they would adapt as the rest of the industry was bubbling up with successful startups who were opening the door to reducing the value the traditional virtualization story.
It isn’t that virtualization is not still at the heart of the biggest shift in computing in the recent decade. It is a sign that virtualization as a whole is now a commodity. Not commodity in that it is without value, but that it is just table stakes. VMware has notably, and publicly, acknowledged that vSphere license sales are reduced compared to recent years. Focus for customers and partners is on the rest of the stack. The time is now to prepare for what’s next.
Slow Burn Virtualization and Moving up the Stack
When I say “up the stack”, I mean that we are no longer concerned with the virtualization core itself. Enabling other technologies like containers, network virtualization, network function virtualization, private cloud, and workload scheduling services is now the area of focus for vendors and partners alike.
I am always careful to lean forward too much with things because I know that there is a long tail to every traditional technology. In other words, don’t let the pundits scare us into thinking that virtualization is dead and everything is going to the cloud and to a microservices approach. We also can’t ignore the visible shift towards more application-focused technologies and learning happening out in the field.
Technology has a rapid pace of innovation. People have a natural need to slow down significant change. The pace of innovation is rising, and the need to slow things down is reducing. Both of those together are creating an exciting time for all of us in business and technology. As Bob Dylan said: the times they are a changin’.
Good Sessions and What to See at VMworld
There are a sea of really great session at the event. We can see by the numbers that Cloud-Native Applications (18 sessions), Hybrid Cloud (58 sessions), DevOps (20 sessions), Technology Futures (22 sessions) are still small compared to the core technology sessions such as the SDDC track which covers 487 sessions overall.
Panel sessions are always great to attend because it is a rare opportunity to see off-the-cuff responses to real questions that you can ask yourself live in the room. I only wish the panels could be 2 hours long to really maximize the interaction. This is a chance to really dig in to some interesting areas of technology and people/process with experts in the industry.
PRO TIP: Head to the stage when the session ends. Speakers are often able to hang on a little bit after the schedule to chat directly. It is a great chance for you to meet some of your peers and mentors, plus it is also very cool as a presenter to get direct session feedback right in the room. Saying thanks goes a long way and is always a great way to promote the community of technology.
The Expo Hall will be filled with some of your most familiar technology friends and may introduce you to some new players in the market. Make sure to get some time to visit the booths for both the good swag and the great conversations. It isn’t often that we have a chance to have so many engaged members of the technology industry all in one space for us.
Community Hang Space - The Value of the UnConference
Some of the best chats that you will have are in the areas you least expect to find them. The community hang space is a dedicate area where folks can charge up, wind down, and chill out with colleagues. There are also the #vBrownBag sessions happening which are super informative, and feature some of the top experts in our field.
As a long-time community advocate, this is where I have often gotten the most value. I personally hope to say hello to a lot of you there, and to get a chance to keep adding value to our overall technology community through events such as VMworld and others.
We will see you all in Las Vegas, and make sure to drop by to say hello at the Turbonomic booth 1139 in the Expo Hall. Come an snap a selfie, have a chat, share a story, and most importantly, to build on this exciting community together.