Julia Austin

Innovation at VMworld 2012

September 19, 2012

As I look back on VMworld in San Francisco, I can’t stop thinking about how the theme of Innovation permeated throughout the conference this year!  Things got rolling when Steve Herrod showed demos of new product and feature ideas we’re working on during his Day One keynote.  Following Steve’s keynote, I had the pleasure of sharing a behind the scenes look at how we innovate at VMware via a Spotlight Session.  My talk included three idea pitches that were presented during VMware’s internal innovation offsite – providing an inside look at the broad and novel ideas we encourage our engineers to pursue.  The pitches covered ideas on how to make data centers environmentally aware to account for heat, power and other challenges, several ways to leverage social media concepts for virtualization management and concepts around how to optimize calendaring via geo-location algorithms.  Cool stuff!

For the first time at a VMworld event, we had an Innovation Lounge on the Solutions Exchange which showcased posters from the three idea pitches, as well as seven other posters that represented other innovative projects underway VMware. The engineers behind each of these innovation projects accompanied their poster, and answered numerous conference attendee questions throughout the week. We even had one of our star summer interns showing off his cool robot that is under development for touch screen device testing.  The lounge also included information and demos about some of the innovation programs we run inside VMware to get new ideas cooking amongst attendees such as our Academic Program and one of our soon-to-be-released new projects, the Next-generation Education Environment (NEE) which is a cloud-scale solution for education providers.  Check out this video I did touring the lounge so you can see more.  Based on the popularity of the innovation demos and the lounge, you can expect to see more of this at future VMworlds!

Also new this year at VMworld was the opportunity for the Diamond sponsors to showcase new ideas they’re developing onstage during the General Session.  EMC, NetApp, Cisco, HP and Dell each got four minutes to pitch a new idea on how their product(s) can work best with VMware and get audience ratings.  It was a great way to learn about the innovation happening within our ecosystem and what customers can take advantage of from a technology perspective. You can see this along with all the cool demos Steve shared in the Day Two keynote here

Many of the VMware breakout sessions were focused on sharing previews of our new technology innovations either recently or soon to be released.  The Mirage project, which is an advanced technology for abstracting user profiles from the operating system, was just one example and the VMworldTV guys captured it well here.

Another innovation highlight at VMworld was the new way VMware is driving innovation by announcing our very first Open Innovation Contest. We’re asking our community to send us their best Fling ideas, and the contest winner will have their Fling built by VMware engineers. The winner also gets a free pass to VMworld 2013.  There are already close to 60 Fling ideas on the contest site, so check them out and vote for your favorites or suggest your own!  The contest runs through October 31, 2012.

Did you see something especially innovative at VMworld in San Francisco? I would love to hear from other attendees about what inspired them this year.  Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to doing this all over again at VMworld EMEA in Barcelona next month!

Julia Austin

Julia Austin

VP Innovation

Julia was the VP of Innovation at VMware and focused on advancing VMware into new technology and product areas. This includes internal programs to foster and fund new innovations and the VMware Academic Program (VMAP) which sponsors collaborative research and thought leadership with academic partners ... More

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