Tonight, I spent a number of hours at the SolarWinds VMworld 2012 party and had a blast! I was able to catch up with a number of people that I knew and met a number of new people I hadn't met before. With many, I had great conversations that ran the spectrum from a debate over vSphere vs. Hyper to helping free children from poverty in many areas of the world.
When you look at the cross section of the virtualization community, it's often difficult to remember that we're all there for very different reasons. For example:
- David Marshall and I are at VMworld to make greet old friends, make new connections and to identify new content that we can share with the larger virtualization community while we learn about what's new in the environment.
- Vendors large and small, old and new pay significant dollars for space to generate new leads, build their company and, hopefully have their businesses soar to new heights.
- Attendees responsible for technology in their organizations come to find solutions to vexing business problems and to attend sessions where they can learn to do their jobs even better.
- Presenters come to the show to freely share their knowledge with other attendees.
But, through conversations that I had this evening at the SolarWinds party, some specific conversations made it clear that it's impossible to really nail down a single motive as to why people attend shows like VMworld. Here are some of the conversations I had this evening:
- A discussion that started out with frustration over the inability to automatically decouple EMC's VFcache from Oracle-based virtual machines, making automated vMotions impossible when VFcache is used. The attendee indicated that he almost found out too late about this serious limitation and, had he not caught it before a final purchase, he could have been fired because the company depends heavily on vMotion. While there is a workaround, he was insistent that it was no solution at all.
- A discussion with another attendee over the merits of Hyper-V as compared to vSphere. While I've always been a fan of vSphere, I certainly see challenges ahead as Hyper-V 2012/3 gains momentum and mind share.
- Yet another Hyper-V/vSphere discussion in which the attendee indicated that the hypervisor soon won't matter since Intel will simply build abstraction capability directly into the hardware, leaving current vendors needing only to manage workloads rather than having to provide a complete operational environment.
- Another discussion with an attendee that just virtualized his environment within the past couple of years. He explained to me the comprehensive justification process he went through in order to be allowed to go down the virtual path and also explained how excited he was the first time he was able to deploy a new workload in just an hour and how thrilled his boss was at the prospect.
But the conversation that had the most impact was the one that I had with people from a group named Compassion. While I am not a religious person and Compassion is very much a Christian organization, their goal and outreach attempts are incredible. The people at the show from Compassion support an IT infrastructure responsible for ensuring that 1.4 million children in poverty from around the world are clothed, fed and educated. I learned about how the group operates, learned that no less than 80% of donations to the group are used in their support activities and that they have a very good success rate.
We all have different reasons for being at VMworld; whether it's to make money or to help support activities that feed children, the opportunities to do things better are vast.val