So I just spent four days manning the Actifio stand in the expo hall at VMworld 2013. I wish I could tell you about all the amazing sessions I attended, but that wasn’t why I was there (although I did drop by most of the stands in the expo hall). In fact I was there to do something far closer to my heart: Talk about Actifio to 1000s of people.
So what can I tell you?
1) Flash is everywhere. Did I say everywhere? I mean… EVERYWHERE!!! The number of Flash vendors increases every year. Smart controllers, custom silicone and very similar looking storage bridge bay enclosures. I think the challenge for all of them will be to avoid the appearance of vendor overlap and show how they differentiate. Nimble, Nimbus, IBM… The Pure Storage guys were certainly hitting it big with a massive stand. It’s no wonder Violin is going to IPO.
2) VMwares domination in the Hypervisor market is very impressive and their grand plans equally so. Perhaps they should adopt Google’s motto: Don’t be evil. But in an amazing counterpoint, we ran into Microsoft’s Hyper-V Product Manager at lunch on the last day (and no he didn’t sneak in, he paid, just like the rest of us). Not only was he amazingly articulate and well informed, but he told a great and very realistic story of the journey of Hyper-V. A story only really let down by the very cheesy Microsoft touters outside the Moscone centre offering free custard. Huh?
3) XIV was right. Yep all you pushy EMC reps who wrote to my XIV customers telling them they would lose their job for making such a poor technology choice…. After listening to the VMware VSAN story (VMware Virtual SAN) and the Nutanix story… maintaining two independent copies synchronously across multiple clustered servers connected by a high speed network is certainly making it big. In fact both Nutanix and VSAN appear to take the XIV story to the next level with storage groups and smart ways to guarantee SLA based performance. Of course Nutanix have been doing it for quite a while already. Exciting times.
4) EMC are clearly interested in Actifio. We had quite a few EMC employees come by the Actifio booth. They were quite pushy and demanding even when it was clear we had real clients to talk to. Not very classy… We even had a visit from Chuck Hollis, who was in comparison, gracious and dignified (as always). Amusingly his badge still said he worked for EMC…. I thought he was moving to VMware?
5) Booth babes are finally dropping off in quantity. I only saw one vendor resorting to these sad tactics (some sort of cloud services company) and frankly they looked plain tacky.
6) Speaking of gender equality… the lines at the gents headed out the door but the ladies could go straight in. Nice turn around, but sadly it could only occur because men outnumbered women about 20 to 1.
7) As for Moscone, their Wi-Fi sucked. Seriously. We (Actifio) paid a small fortune for Wi-Fi access in the expo hall and it was practically useless. As was Wi-Fi in the keynotes (um… actually there was no working Wi-Fi at all). So much for tweeting live as you watched the presentations…. And if you are ever planning on manning a stand at one of these expos.. get the extra thick carpet for your stand. After four days standing at the booth I am going to have to expense a new pair of feet.
8) Pat Gelsinger needs to drink more red bull before giving a keynote. LOTs of red bull. I wasn’t expecting a Steve Ballmer impersonation but maybe Pat should watch a few of Steves videos before getting on stage. Here is what I am talking about:
9) As for entertainment, the vFlipCup community event on Monday night was a fantastic get together, thanks to everyone who attended and all the vendors who helped to sponsor the event.
The VMworld party at AT&T Park was also outstanding. The music was excellent, both Imagine Dragons and especially Train who absolutely rocked the house. Great job VMware, a great end to a great event.
10) Finally I have to say, Actifios ability to solve the copy data explosion remains unique. Every single customer attendee who dropped by the stand was suffering from the dual problems of too much copy data and too many IT products that were not helping to reduce the growth in that data. Thanks to each and every one of you for dropping by. Sorry if it got crowded sometimes!
Given the opportunities we can see to solve our clients copy data problems and our 700% growth rate, we are going to have an even huger presence at VMworld 2014.