VMworld 2010 preview: searching for desktop needles in the cloud haystack

VMworld 2010 kicks off next week in San Francisco. Gabe and I will be there along with 14,000 of our closest friends.

VMworld 2010 kicks off next week in San Francisco. Gabe and I will be there along with 14,000 of our closest friends. While many have said that VMworld's shear size creates a borderline overwhelming conference experience (in a good way), I've always joked that I'm not attending the "full" VMworld—I'm attending a mini virtual desktop conference that happens to be taking place within a huge conference. (Although my "mini" VMworld Desktop Edition now has 42 desktop-specific exhibitors!)

So if we ignore all the non-desktop stuff, what can we expect to see at this year's VMworld DE? (That's VMworld "Desktop Edition.")

VMware's desktop announcements

First from VMware, I assume that we're going to get some kind of official announcement about View 4.5. Recall that VMware was initially on track to launch (err, "announce") View 4.5 this past May, although that was awkwardly delayed until "sometime in 2010."

What exactly the announcement about 4.5 will include is anyone's guess. I'm assuming that it will NOT include a client hypervisor, and I'm also hearing that it will NOT include the "Persona" user profile virtualization that VMware got when they bought RTO Software.

If the earlier briefings are still true, View 4.5 will include production-ready offline capabilities (via a VMware Player-like Type 2 client VM) and ThinApp 4.6.

I also assume that we'll hear more about this VMware "Origami" thing that we discussed a few days ago.

Finally, VMware is changing their desktop branding a bit, evolving the term "desktop" into "end-user computing." The newly-formed End-User Computing business unit will be led by Chris Young, joining VMware from RSA (another EMC-owned company). At RSA Chris was the SVP for Products in the company's identity protection and verification business. I know nothing about this guy, but hopefully I'll be able to say 'hi' next week and to record a sit-down interview with him soon.

Citrix's VMworld plans

First off, Citrix has a normal-sized booth this year (Simon Crosby has more details on that.) It looks like Citrix's big plans are to talk about their just-announced Feature Pack 2 for XenDesktop 4. The primary new features are the production release of their XenClient client hypervisor and XenVault.

Other Vendors

I've received about 100 emails (seriously) from vendors who will be exhibiting at VMworld next week and who'd like to schedule time for briefings. By and large these emails are a waste of time for two reasons: (Vendors, pay attention!)

  • First off, probably 75% of the emails are about some cloud bullshit that I don't care about. I wish that the PR folks would pay attention to my coverage area. I'm fine with a quasi-generic mail-merge type email about the announcement.. but if you're going to send me five emails and call me three times, at least make sure that I cover what you're talking about. (Oh, and you won't believe how the PR folks try to tap dance on the phone and claim that their product is relevant for desktops. "Yeah, we do VM monitoring... but we can monitor any type of VMs, even desktops!!"
  • Second, just about every vendor is making their announcement DURING VMWORLD. So the calls and emails I get now are them trying to schedule briefings with me as long as I agree to not disclose anything until the actual announcement during the show. And while I'll happily agree to the embargo, I'm really thinking, "Your product has no chance in hell of getting noticed amongst the fray of 150 announcements that all hit the wire at the same time." If vendors were smart, they would do their announcements a week ahead of time and let everyone talk about them in the run up to the show.

That said, there are a TON of desktop vendors at the show this year, including 10ZiG, AMD, AppSense, Aqua Connect, Atlantis Computing, Citrix, CLI, Dell, Desktone, Double-Take, eG Innovations, Endeavors Technologies, GreenPages, HP, iland, InstallFree, Intel, Kaviza, Lakeside Software, Leostream, Liquidware Labs, McAfee, Microsoft, MokaFive, NComputing, NetApp, Pano Logic, Quest Software, RES Software, Red Hat, RiverBed, Symantec, Teradici, ThinPrint, triCerat, Unidesk, UniPrint, Virtual Bridges, Virtual Computer, VMware, Wanova, and Wyse.

And much like proud parents with 42 children, Gabe and I love each of these vendors equally, and we promise to give them each 5 minutes of our time, to be compiled in a single episode of Brian Madden TV that runs for three-and-a-half hours.

Or maybe not.

My point is that there are going to be a lot of desktop-related vendors there, and we're going to do our best to talk to them all and pull together the highlights. But yikes! It's going to be a rough week.

Join us for TechTarget's "Best of VMworld" awards

As in years past, TechTarget is a media sponsor for VMworld and we'll again host the “Best of VMworld” awards. This year Gabe and I will be the judges for the desktop category. Twenty-nine vendors have nominated products for evaluation in this category, and Gabe and I will be making use of the five hours TechTarget has allotted us to visit each and every one of the nominees' booths to select the winning product based on innovation, performance, ease of integration, ease of use, functionality, value, and the filling of a market gap. (In other words, don't talk to us on Tuesday.)

If you’d like to see the awards ceremony, it will be taking place on the stage in the expo hall on Wednesday at 3:00.

So that's our plan and predictions for VMworld. What are you looking forward to?

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Does that mean a 1/3 of what you mentioned with work then?


I've heard and read... not tested ;-) and proabably will not as my free testing time will go to XenClient first.


Wait, they took someone from RSA and put them in charge of the End-User Computing business unit?


I hope he's not like most RSA folks I know, I swear some of them have deadbolt biometric combo locks on their sock drawers.


Brian, I sell used cars that could be used to move a VDI server to your data center.  Can we meet at VMworld....?