I had a great time, as always, at VMworld last week. My seventh time was busier than ever. If I had to summarize my gut feeling about this year, it was VMware’s return to the future of the datacenter. Yes, there was plenty of cloud-ness, but the main thrust of VMware’s message was: there’s a lot left to virtualize, encapsulate, and mobilize in the datacenter, and we’re the best company to help you do it…whether or not you’re heading for the clouds. The cloud isn’t everything, nor should it be. It’s one of many paths to a more efficient, responsive, and available IT infrastructure. Companies aren’t going from datacenters and managed services to the cloud in one monolithic transition. They’re looking at everything from their virtualized workloads to their big databases to their productivity apps and asking two questions: Can I run them cheaper, faster, and better in-house first? And, when will it make more sense to run them in my or someone else’s cloud? Part of that decision is cost — will cloud save money?
A bigger question, though, is: Who decides? Will application teams and app developers go to the cloud themselves, without waiting for IT? In many cases, they already are. Or will today’s virtualization admins lead the way? VMware’s betting on both, and it used VMworld this year to arm its core audience —VMware admins — with a strategy. My colleague Glenn O’Donnell calls VMware’s core audience the Illuminati (heh), and VMworld is certainly designed for them.