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Living in A Virtual World: The Tale of a VMworld Survivor

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server-icon-black.pngAt exactly 5:00 PM (PT), a voice came over the speakers: “Attention attendees, the exhibition floor has closed.  Thank you for attending VMworld, 2014 ….”  This announcement was followed by a large round of applause from exhibitors.  And I was one of them …  


While you may find that a little odd, consider that for many of us, VMworld started months ago. Planning and building demos; arguing over whether to wear polo shirts or T-shirts; debating the cultural impact of orange vs. red as a primary color; and choosing the right “give away” that we sometimes end up seeing in the trash bins as we walk off the show floor.  Oh – and tan or black khakis?  Oh the urgency!


I’ve been in the technology field for many years and have done all of the shows – Networks Expo, Interop, Comdex, CeBIT, ISPCON, Synergy and the list goes on.  I have the T-shirts to prove it.  I’m quite certain that VMworld stands unique in its energetic and enthusiastic attendees.

The first VMworld was held in San Diego in 2004.  That year, 1,600 attendees came to learn about VMware ESX Server and this thing called “vMotion.”  At that time, 64-bit CPU support was all the rage, and AMD was there talking about the silicon-based virtualization hooks we were putting into our CPU technology: virtual memory management, reduced context switching, RVI and tagged TLB. Sound familiar?   Cutting edge at the time, a given today.

Ten years later, the Moscone Center in San Francisco welcomed 22,000 attendees!  This year’s audience was so large that some attendees drove up from the Valley to walk the floor.  And the question is no longer “do you virtualize?” but, “what is your hypervisor of choice?” 

There was no greater example of how far along virtualization has come than watching the number of folks coming by the AMD booth from non-enterprise IT organizations – a dramatic shift from that first VMworld 10 years ago.  I would say that the next area of growth for AMD and its partners is in this emerging virtualized mid-market. 

No longer just a consolidation play, smaller companies can realize the benefits of virtualization through the ability to do a lot of things faster.  Think of the smaller software company performing software quality assurance (SQA) before releasing a product to beta. The ability to quickly spin up a number of VMs that represent a spreadsheet of OS versions vs. having to build, test, wipe and reimage the same servers is a huge benefit.  A test cycle that used to require a week now takes days and several dedicated heads are reduced to just a few.

No longer is virtualization the daunting technology that requires a substantial investment in specialized technologists.  VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and others are simplifying the process of virtualizing your server infrastructure.  Heck, Windows Server now ships on Hyper-V!

AMD has been in this virtualization game for a very long time.  As we see the reach of virtualization extend from compute out, we will continue to innovate and drive value for companies of all sizes – from the enterprise with 10,000 servers to the software startup trying to get a product to market faster than other players in the market.

Will you be at VMworld in 2015?  If so, don’t be surprised when you hear the exhibitors cheer when the expo ends. It’s not that we don’t love you – it’s just that being on the cutting edge is exhausting.

Matt Kimball is a Senior Manager of Server Product Marketing at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions.

*Originally Posted by Guest Blogger in AMD Business on Sep 16, 2014 11:27:27 AM