A lot has been said and written about VMware dialing back the level of competition this year at VMworld, and the big question asked by many was, "Is VMworld a VMware show or is it an industry show for virtualization?" If you, like me, were confused, I believe the answer is now finally clear.
For me, the confusion came about because for so many years, the show was indirectly promoted as a virtualization industry event, and a lot of that seemed to come directly from Diane Greene, who believed her product was far superior to the competition and, therefore, urged everyone to bring it on. Greene wasn't afraid to take money from Microsoft or Citrix to sponsor the show, nor did she seem overly concerned to have them display their wares on the exhibit floor. Sure, VMware still controlled the content of breakout sessions and the keynotes, but the exhibit hall was open to anyone and everyone.
Fast-forward to 2009: Times change. People change. Things, well, change.
As you know, Microsoft and Citrix were the most vocal as to the changes being made. They couldn't continue to sponsor the show, and they had to fall back as an exhibitor, which meant less space (a 10-by-10 booth) and little to no opportunity to speak or to sponsor anything. They were also told they couldn't display any competitor products in their booth. Still, both companies exhibited (after all, how can you miss VMworld?), but this meant that both companies would have to be a little more creative -- and they were.
Simon Crosby, Citrix CTO of virtualization, added that along with the booth space and product display limitations, they were also banned from renting facilities in and around the Moscone Center, which made it difficult to hold CTP and other meetings during the show.
However, Citrix did try to make hay out of the situation. From a marketing perspective, the company had a bit of fun with the new limitations. With a "nobody puts baby in the corner" attitude, shirts made their way into the Citrix booth that read "You can't lock Xen in a 10x10."