Five lessons learned from VMworld 2011

VMworld is the main event for virtualization and cloud computing. What key ideas did I take away from this year's event?

VMworld 2011 was once again a major event for the world of virtualization and cloud computing, with 19,000 people in attendance at this year's extravaganza in Las Vegas.

I'm happy to report there were no tigers in my hotel bathroom, no babies left in my closet, and I made it home with the same amount of teeth in my mouth as when I left and my full memory of the event. I still needed some time to decompress from my experience and to think about the things I heard, the discussions I had, and the trends I noticed at the show.

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Here are five key takeaways from another great VMworld experience.

1. VMware's partner ecosystem is doing just fine.

With the number of acquisitions taking place and the number of companies running out of VC funding, I thought for sure this year's exhibit hall would be much smaller compared to VMworld last year in San Francisco. I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn't the case. When I walked into the hall for Monday night's Welcome Reception, my jaw hit the floor. Maybe it was the Vegas lighting or the noise from the casino still ringing in my ears, but it actually felt much larger to me. As I went from booth to booth and navigated from aisle to aisle, I knew that VMware's partner ecosystem was going to be just fine, in spite of the virtualization giant's spending spree of acquisitions, which may ultimately challenge many of its partners.

2. The dust seems to have settled with vSphere 5's new licensing methodology.

A lot of the good news and product enhancements around vSphere 5 was lost in a sea of noise around VMware's decision to move from a licensing model based on the number of physical server cores to one that also takes into account the amount of vRAM, the memory that is allocated and used by virtual machines on the host server.

However, only a few weeks after that initial announcement was made, all seemed relatively quiet on the licensing front during VMworld. VMware CEO Paul Maritz didn't make mention of the vSphere 5 licensing issue during his keynote presentation on day 1. Likewise, other than a humorous drive-by comment from VMware CTO Stephen Herrod, nothing was said about it during the second day's keynote presentation either.

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