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It's that time again - VMworld. For the 2011 event in the US, I wrote some before and after thoughts on the state of technology, new trends and the event.

Given the actions that VMware has taken recently (new CEO, Software Defined Data Center vision, Nicira acquisition , DynamicOps acquisition, Cetas acquisitionCloudFoundry + OpenStack),  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that VMworld 2012 will be one of the most highly watched events that IT has seen for a long time (all Apple announcements not withstanding). It's not a reach to say that every aspect of VMware will be questioned:

  • New Leadership - Pat Gelsinger (CEO) takes over a business that must learn how to regain it's technology leadership in a space that will face intense commoditization (hypervisor). His Intel experience should be an excellent fit for this task. It must also determine what role it will play in Public and Hybrid clouds, with speculation growing that it may launch public services.
  • New Technology - From VMware's perspective, in order to not only deliver great Enterprise services but also compete with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Rackspace (or other OpenStack SPs), it needed to be able to control the automation and management of every aspect that impacted a VM. The acquisition of Nicira was the next logical step, as existing networks were never designed for the mobility and dynamic nature of today's environments. 
  • Evolving Technology - Considering the possibility that more and more customers would adopt a Hybrid Cloud model (private/public, or multi-public), it's interesting to see VMware finally acknowledge heterogenous environments with both the DynamicOps and Nicira acquisitions. Support for multiple hypervisors, multiple Cloud providers and various elements of open-source are all potentially in play. It'll be interesting to see how VMware plans to blend in the different elements.
  • New Revenue Sources - CloudFoundry seems to be gaining momentum with the announcements by several Cloud providers to launch services on top of this open-source PaaS platform (Tier 3, Uhuru, etc.), but how will VMware monetize beyond the ESX hypervisor and vSphere tools? vFabric is making progress and has some very interesting functionality, but is the knowledge getting out to the market? Where are the vFabric evangelists like there are for vSphere?
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More Stories By Brian Gracely

A 20 year technology veteran, Brian Gracely is VP of product management at Virtustream. He holds a CCIE #3077 and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Throughout his career Brian has led Cisco, NetApp, EMC and Virtustream into emerging markets and through technology transitions. An active participant in the virtualization and cloud computing communities, his industry viewpoints and writing can also be found on Twitter @bgracely, on his blog Clouds of Change and his podcast The Cloudcast (.net). He is a VMware vExpert and was named a "Top 100" Cloud Computing blogger by Cloud Computing Journal.