VMworld's tag line this year was "Virtual Roads. Actual Clouds," so it was no wonder that the world's largest virtualization trade show was morphing into a cloud-centric exposition. Cloud computing was the story, from the keynote addresses to the breakout sessions to the showcase solution show floor. Yes, cloud was the story around the VMworld labs this year as well.
Last year, just prior to VMworld 2009, Cisco and VMware were talking about the wonders of Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) and the Nexus 1000V virtual switch. These two technologies would come together to become part of VMworld's virtual lab buildout story that year. The onsite data center powered 16 UCS systems running 512 blades and 776 ESX servers, all in the space of about 1,700 square feet at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. More than 37,000 virtual machines were packed into the environment, and it only consumed 540 kilowatts of power. VMworld expected to supply more than 4,000 online classes and serve more than 14,000 people over the four-day period that year.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Xsigo launched an adapter-free Ethernet-based virtual I/O while at VMworld 2010. | Make sure to keep up with all the latest virtualization news with InfoWorld's virtualization newsletter. ]
However, the great VMworld lab experiment of 2009 was not a complete success. During a boot camp on Sunday, attendees reported continuous technological glitches, and these problems spilled over into Monday's hands-on lab sessions. The problems were eventually fixed, but not before there was a bit of egg on certain vendor faces and a lot of frustration on the part of the affected attendees.
While VMworld breakout sessions are extremely popular and usually very crowded, hands-on labs have been a major draw for attendees. People look forward to the lab environments in order to get some hands-on experience with the products rather than simply rely on lecture and PowerPoint alone. And the proof is in the fact that lab sessions are usually the first thing to fill up during session scheduling.