VMworld 2013 Observations

Dave Welch (@OraVBCA), CTO and Chief Evangelist

Here are some of my observations on VMworld 2013 San Francisco.

In Pat Gelsinger’s Monday keynote, I was relieved by his direct commitment to supporting the virtualization of business-critical applications (VBCA). In VMware Corp’s marketing shift a year ago to the software-defined data center (SDDC), it seemed to walk away from the business-critical application (VBCA) message entirely prematurely. VMware further complicated, what was in my opinion this strategic error by re-allocating its VBCA staff to other projects. I have a question for the executive team: in order to put teeth behind your renewed VBCA messaging, are you moving to reconstitute the VBCA staff to the extent possible? I strongly believe it is in VMware’s best interest to have experts available who understand virtualization and business critical systems. Although it may benefit House of Brick to for us to fill VMware’s VBCA leadership void, that may be suboptimal for the market conditions. (Make no mistake; without any prompting from my VMware Corp. colleagues, I made clear in my session how enthusiastic I am about the SDDC, and promoted the preparatory architectural underpinnings that will enable it.)

What I was hoping for at the show but suspected I wouldn’t and indeed didn’t see: a GA announcement for SMP Fault Tolerance.

The single most important product suite to watch that was announced at the show: NSX.

The best new buzz word: hairpin.

The best quotes of the show didn’t come over a podium. An IT management attendee told me, “I’m going to build a rehab program for my network admins.”

The second best quote was also from an IT management attendee: “Someone in the organization shipped me a physical server the other day for the installation of an app that they need. I’ve gotta figure out how to frame my messaging back to them. We haven’t installed a workload on a physical server in years.”

The single most important thing I said during the show was probably this: “If you haven’t done a restore/recovery trial on your backup, you have no backup. If you haven’t done a deliberate switchover to your standby site, you have no standby.”

The thing I said the most often by far during the show was in response to customers and prospects questions to me: “Oracle has no contractual or case law foundation whatsoever for having told you that running Oracle on a subset of a vSphere cluster requires you to license the entire cluster.”

Congratulations to American Tire Distributor’s Tony Vaden & colleagues for over two years running production RAC on vSphere. I imagine your growth from 80 distribution centers in 2010 to 125 in just three years would have been manifestly impossible without VMware. And contrats on your recent triad of acquisitions north of the border.

Nice pinch hit: GE Appliance & Lighting’s Brian Pearson slipping into the Oracle on VMware customer panel discussion.

My public thanks to GE Appliance & Lighting’s James Saffer. James, your self-perceived less-than-perfect delivery of your content probably beats anybody else’s uber-confident delivery of their content. Comments I picked up at the show after the session told me your down home experience and credibility sliced through to people in a very appealing way. My sincere thanks to you and all of your colleagues that supported us with the preso.

My compliments to the silent heroes of the show: the content team powered by Jack Morton Co. You’ve always been the best. Your bedside manner and professional deference are notable.

The highest leverage conversation I had during the show was no doubt with the architect deliberating how to integrate over a dozen globally-distributed E-Business Suite stacks and whether to dedicate a DC to DR. I’m looking forward to taking our 30 minute conversation to the next level.

My biggest off-conference discovery of the week: the Embarcadero YMCA. What a facility and program offerings! I have never seen another fitness center that can top the view from the Embarcadero Y’s cycles & treadmills.

I hope to see many of you again in late September at Oracle Open World 2013. For the 7th year running I will dedicate my full-time effort in the Moscone South exhibit hall to promotion and architectural discussions of what I continue to believe is the world’s most compelling intersection of technologies: Oracle software on the VMware platform.

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