VMware Partner Exchange 2013: Observations and Thoughts
I went to the VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas last week. It’s always nice to see old friends and colleagues in the conference that I’ve been attending consecutively since I first joined VMware in 2007.
I spent quite some of my time in the hands on labs (codenamed Project NEE), which turned out to be a great experience. I took 7 labs covering the Nexus 1000V with VXLAN, vCenter Orchestrator(vCO), DynamicOps (now has a fancier name called vCloud Automation Center), etc. With the bundling and deep integration of the vCO into vCenter Web Client, I think the prime time for vCO as the automation tool for vSphere has finally come.
Overall I didn’t get much new from the conference. The overall vision is still the software defined datacenter. On a high level, various existing products are re-shuffled/rebranded around the new vision. Toward the vision, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger talked about three missions: software defined datacenter, hybrid cloud, and end user computing. The end user computing got a new family name called Horizon which has three members including the VMware Horizon View, renamed from VMware View. I wish VMware won’t change product names so often. I think it’s still OK to call VMware View as VMware View in the Horizon family and users would appreciate that.
The new missions are slightly different from Paul Maritz’s three layer stack - the hybrid cloud replaced the PaaS which includes the whole vFabric family of products. I am glad it’s now focusing on the horizontal growth strategy as I predicted in Why VMware Needs A New Direction last August.
The missing PaaS became the Pivotal Initiative. The ownership of the vFabric products like Spring Framework is however not quite clear to the community. It’s high time for the EMC and VMware to remove the confusion quickly - the earlier the better. Partners need to know which company/entity to work with and how the future of the products plays out.
Because the former CTO Steve Herrod left the company a while back, there was no new product/feature demo in the general sessions which I think was a minus for the conference. The thought leadership, therefore, remained on the slides. I hope it won’t be the case for the VMworld coming this fall. As a high tech company, VMware should not leave the CTO position empty for too long. To really push for the cloud vision beyond virtualization, I think VMware should consider someone from pioneering cloud companies like Amazon, Salesforce.com.
Lastly, the SolutionExchange exhibition seemed to me a bit smaller than last year. Some vendors I know of didn’t show up, and there were of course new vendors like SimpliVity. I checked with a few friends and they shared the same perception.