This was another great year for VMware. They released a ton of great performance improvements to vSphere 5.1 and they killed the vRam entitlement program (ding dong the witch is dead). I believe that VMware will continue to make more money on the new bundles they have created in the license program, but getting rid of the vRam entitlement defiantly uncomplicates things.
The trade show floor is the main draw for everyone. Tons of free stuff and tech giveaways like iPads and GoPro. This year had no shortage of great new technology on the floor. My favorite thing was the kernel module from SanDisk that allows you to use any storage device as a cache target. Check out FlashSoft from SanDisk when you get time. I believe this has amazing potential. My buddies of at vKernel has some great custom monitoring charts up with vFoglight. They also put on a great event Tuesday night that included a dinner cruise under the Golden Gate bridge. The back EMC booth had some great labs for everyone. I enjoyed these more than the general VMware labs. They did a great job on the VMware labs this year, but they did have some issues. It was cool to see BYOD come to the labs.
This year Citrix had a full product demo of Enterprise Cloud Gateway. In the past, these guys were locked down to XenApp only. It was great to see a working demo and the guts of project Avalon. They had a lot of useful insight that will help me deliver future products.
The “what’s new” highlights of vSphere 5.1 stole the show of course.
vSphere host features / enhancements, VM features and enhancements, new vMotion capabilities and stateless / stateful installs for Auto Deploy.
SSD monitoring, handling enhancements for APD (all paths down), boot form software FCOE, IODM, space efficient sparse for VMs and VAAI. Enhancements for Storage I/O control, Storage DRS, vMotion and VMFS 5 file sharing.
Network health checks, VDS back / restore, Management network rollback and restore (no more messing with build a SVS after a misconfiguration), Distributed port auto expand, BPD unit filter, LACP support and MAC address management.
Overall I had a great time, it is always a lot to take in. It was really cool to get to meet Bret Spiner (Data) from StarTrek at the whiptail booth. He was a really cool guy to talk to. The labs were great and VMware put on a decent show with Bon Jovi. I will probably attend VMworld 2013, just to see vSphere 6.