Overall VMworld 2008 went fairly well. I had a good time and learned a bit about a variety of new areas in the Virtual Product markets. Some new companies products trying to fit into the VDI world like Teradici's PC over IP technology. Some very interesting new implementations of existing technology (probably a customer said something like.. You know I could use this, this way, and if you gave it to me as an appliance I could buy it) like Platespin's Forge product for Business Continuity. Finally, Egenera has an interesting product that separates out I/O hardware subsystem from the Processing system (CPU). I did appreciate the new leadership directions of Paul Maritz and do honor the original leadership of founder's Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum.
My basic comments boil down to a comparison between Las Vegas & San Francisco:
Las Vegas is a Party Place and not good for a serious conference.
Many of the sessions I went to were fairly empty even though there was more people at this conference (14k) versus last year (10k). Reading Twitters, blogs and overhearing people talking about why they didn't make sessions such as "too much partying last night", "too much drinking", "too much gambling". (And that's even giving leniency for the day after the VMworld Party.) It really left me wanting from the conference in the Birds of a Feather sessions and panels.
Las Vegas is the Anti-Green compared to San Francisco which is a Green Place.
In San Francisco everything was recycled or recyclable and reasonably healthy in the supplied breakfast and lunch menus. Las Vegas had at least one deep fried or hot McDonald's style microwaved item at every meal.
Las Vegas Sands Expo really knows how to move people.
I never felt like I was waiting and not moving to get either to my sessions or to the supplied breakfast and lunch. When I headed in for Breakfast with the other 4k people that wanted breakfast, I'd always be moving until I got my food and sat down. As soon as our "grouping" of people eating was done, the staff would clean it up and make it ready for the next batch. They had people directing you on where to go, where to get your food, where to sit and where to leave. I was mega impressed.
After saying all that, I did have a good time in Las Vegas and did meet up with a lot of developers, engineers, vendors and peers. So all and all this was not a waste or a loss in my book. It was a worth while expenditure of time, money and energy and can't wait to go next year.