High hopes at VMworld

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16 November 2011 | 0

I was lucky enough to attend VMworld Europe in Copenhagen last month (in person, I might add, rather than virtually) and it was quite an event. According to VMware’s CTO and senior vice president of R&D Steve Herrod, who gave the opening keynote, it is now the biggest such event in Europe with over 6,000 attendees.

One person who wasn’t there, at least for the first day, was CEO Paul Maritz. He was being “honoured” with a Mastermind Interview Keynote at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida that day. Maritz arrived on the second day where he hosted a Q&A session with the press in the evening before the big end of show party. VMworld finished the following morning with a keynote from Maritz which, probably, would normally have been given on the first day, giving the sensation of a show that was somehow operating in reverse.

Anyhow, at the press session the previous evening, the assembled hacks had been entertained by a partner panel entitled One Year On – Journey to the Hybrid Cloud in the Real World which served as a warm-up before Maritz’s appearance. In the course of the panel discussion Simon Walsh, European vice president of Colt Enterprise Services, obviously decided to take on the mantle of ‘the one who says controversial things’.

Doomed

So it was that he predicted cloud computing would force computing into a utility model where the plumbing underneath would be ubiquitous – nothing too disquieting there – before going on to suggest it would present a lot of difficulty to people working in infrastructure today because voting for cloud computing meant voting for their redundancy. You could be forgiven for imagining whole rooms full of resellers upon hearing this statement suddenly breaking down, running around panic-stricken shouting “doomed, we’re all doomed”.

Later on Walsh did row back a little bit on his position when he said that everybody would need to be helped to make the transition to cloud computing for “the foreseeable future”, adding that the supplier landscape wouldn’t change that much over the next three or four years.

After the panel, Maritz took to the stage and said two things which should probably offer some reassurance to partners out there. Firstly, he stressed VMware’s SMB credentials, revealing that a majority of the company’s revenues still come from deals worth less than $50,000. Next, he made a statement which probably brought even greater relief to the partner community when he said that while the objective of cloud computing was to make it simple for companies to do business and use IT, “making things simple is always hard”.

This ties in nicely with Walsh’s earlier comment about a lot of people going to be needing help going forward. And if things aren’t quite as simple as they should be, customers are going to rely on their trusted advisers to help them make them simpler – as is VMware.

The emphasis on the SMB sector is also a good thing for the partner community because when a vendor starts talking about putting more effort and energy into that sector there’s really only one group of people it’s going to call upon to drive that effort: resellers. OK, make that two if you count distributors as well.

And if anyone wanted to seek validation of that impression John Churchhouse, VMware channel strategy, EMEA director, SMB, revealed there were 100 internal sales people at the vendor’s Cork facility who were now focusing on generating leads for its partners. If they’re successful, this could be pretty good news for partners. Perhaps they’re not all doomed after all.

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