When it started, VMworld was a small trade show hosted in San Diego that focused on VMware's technology. It was attended by 1,000 or so of our closest virtualization friends, and if memory serves me correctly, the exhibit floor had about 30 booths showcasing the company's technologies and services -- and that was pretty good back then for a technology that only had a few strong-minded people willing to kick the tires. VMworld focusing on VMware technology made sense; VMware really didn't have a lot of competition back in 2004.
Fast-forward to 2009 and virtualization is no longer a mystery wrapped up in an enigma. VMware is no longer the lone player. Competition continues to heat up from larger software companies such as Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, and others. Choices are beginning to emerge as viable alternatives based on Xen, KVM, and Hyper-V. And VMworld has evolved for the most part into a premiere virtualization event, billing itself as an independent industry conference about all virtualization technologies, where all are welcomed. (OK, maybe I went a wee bit too far with that one, but you get the point.)
VMworld 2008 saw more than 14,000 attendees hitting the show floor in Las Vegas, and they were able to secure more than 200 sponsors and exhibitors -- which as you probably know included VMware competitor technologies. And this year? The conference will be held in San Francisco, and some are anticipating even larger crowds than last year. Can a virtualization provider really afford to miss this conference, with so many people coming to see what's hot and what's available? Even with the rumblings about competitors not getting speaker or session time, or getting placed in non-strategic exhibit show floor locations, or in some cases, being told your parent company already had too many booths to get another one, companies like Citrix and Microsoft are still quick to spend large amounts of marketing dollars at this event.