Mentioning that VMware held its annual VMworld get-together in San Francisco this week is likely to not be news to anyone! After all VMware is one of the most widely-used and integrated vendors in this space. And the event has become a major IT ecosystem show - indeed arguably, looked at through my myopic spectacles, it's also one of the biggest storage shows there is out there. But of course the impact of VMware has gradually been expanding – it’s not just about server virtualization, or even my beloved storage. Years ago I remember Paul Maritz saying that VMware was building a “software mainframe”…..despite that only truly resonating with people of a certain age (those who actually remember mainframes!), this year’s event struck me as the year that VMware really put that intention as a line the sand. From networking to storage to data protection, and from data centers to the palm of your hand, VMware wants to be a part of things.
That was the story this week – under the banner of “Defy Convention” (I loved the – unintended? - irony of promoting that phrase everywhere at a convention!!) VMware revealed more intent than content; but the intent looks big. Essentially it was a declaration that just about all those with whom VMware co-operates today, should be prepared for the balance to shift inexorably to competition over the coming years. It’s going to be a fascinating ride – after all, the entire IT industry is locked into a maelstrom of convergence, cloud, virtualization, integration, and mobility…and VMware is already “meshed” into that in a big way. So, realistically, we know VMware is already a key element for many users at the center of that; there’s one small issue, of course….and that is that there’s also competition for VMware. The likes of Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon and Google - together with all the traditional specialist infrastructure vendors – are not going to simply sit around and watch VMware take over. For users, this burgeoning battle might need sides to be picked in the short term, but should ultimately deliver a few good choices….and I suggest everyone learns to spell ‘co-opetition.’
To get some expanded thoughts on both this big picture view as well as some of the specific news from VMworld 2013, please watch this video to see what I and a group of ESG’s finest took as the key insights: