VMworld 2016 US—It’s a Wrap!

The first VMworld, in San Diego in 2004, attracted 100 people. This year, more than 23,000 people from over 83 countries met in Las Vegas for a jam-packed conference featuring more than 400 sessions and 800 speakers. It was an amazing week of new ideas, newfound connections, inspiring technologies, and cloud-oriented discussions. Here are the highlights from each day:

Pat Gelsinger onstage at VMworld 2016

Pat Gelsinger onstage at VMworld 2016


  • The show kicked off with CEO Pat Gelsinger introducing VMware’s new Cross-Cloud Architecture, which enables businesses “to run, manage, connect, and secure applications across multiple clouds and devices in a common operating environment.” His theme of providing both freedom and control for private and public clouds resonated throughout the event.
  • IBM Cloud’s Robert LeBlanc joined Gelsinger on stage to unveil an expanded partnership enabling easier hybrid cloud adoption. Alan Rosa of Marriott joined in to explain how this partnership is facilitating Marriott’s growth and management of its digital business.
  • Guido Appenzeller took attendees through a series of compelling demos, which previewed VMware’s upcoming SaaS Cross-Cloud Services. Representatives from Citibank, Columbia Sportswear, and Johnson & Johnson noted these innovations are fundamentally changing their ability to grow, target, and expand their businesses.
  • To close out the session, Michael Dell joined Gelsinger on stage to affirm Dell’s support of the company’s open ecosystem strategy and commitment to VMware’s independence.
  • New to VMworld was VMware’s Global Impact Stories booth, which showcased an audio/video tour of some of the company’s strongest human impact customer stories. Check out these stories on the Radius Impact page.
Sanjay Poonen at VMworld 2016 Day 2

Sanjay Poonen at VMworld 2016 Day 2


  • Sanjay Poonen opened the session with examples of how, as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes real, VMware designs solutions to be “consumer simple and enterprise secure.” His keynote featured real-world examples from customers and partners, including the American Red Cross, Coca-Cola, Mecklenburg County, Sprint, Salesforce, and Tanium.
  • Ray O’Farrell then turned to software-defined data center (SDDC) innovations, highlighting how these solutions are driven by a customer-focused culture. Mike Wittig of Nike joined for a discussion about how VMware is fueling Nike’s digital products and services.
  • Next, Kit Colbert explained VMware’s cloud-native future, and demonstrated how the SDDC’s virtual infrastructure can be easily extended to build and securely deploy cloud-native apps.

    Yanbing Li at VMworld 2016 Day 2

    Yanbing Li at VMworld 2016 Day 2

  • Yanbing Li highlighted increasing demand for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and declared it “the year of Virtual SAN” with more than 5,000 customers, including 100 new customers a week and 40 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies relying on the technology for business-critical apps. 
  • O’Farrell closed with VMware’s vision for the customer journey to the cloud, and underscored the fact that customers now have what they need to prepare for a multi-cloud environment.
  • In the VMvillage hang space, VMware’s IoT booth epitomized the “cool factor” of VMworld, with a number of interactive demonstrations that brought to life the emerging technology of IoT and its impact on IT.


In addition to popular sessions for vSAN and NSX, other heavily-attended sessions included:

  • Ask the Experts – Titans of Tech: Back for its ninth year, and without PowerPoints and sales pitches, the content of this popular session was driven by the audience.
  • VMware Chief Technology Officer Panel – Trends and Futures: A thought leadership and audience Q&A with VMware leadership.
  • Beyond the Marketing –  Horizon Instant Clones Deep Dive: An exploration of the architectural components of VMware Horizon.
  • vSphere DRS Deep Dive – Understanding the Best Practices, Advanced Concepts, and Future Direction of DRS
  • The vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller Guide to the Galaxy


VMworld closed with a look to the future. The general session titled “Seeing and Creating the Unimaginable” featured a fascinating conversation between 2016 TED Prize winner Sarah Parcak, a satellite archaeologist whose team is dedicated to identifying and protecting the world’s cultural heritage; MIT’s Daniela Rus, whose research encompasses distributed robotics, mobile computing, and programmable matter; and Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab, whose mind-bending products represent an unprecedented symbiosis of design and nature.

VMworld 2016 Las Vegas by the Numbers

  • More than 6,000 VM User Group members and more than 7,000 VMware partners attended VMworld.
  • Over 12,470 people signed up for 80 DevOps sessions.
  • Over 9,000 Hands-on Labs were completed.
  • More than 220 exhibitors packed the show floor.

Watch the highlights of VMworld 2016 U.S. below, and tune in for coverage of VMworld Europe, in Barcelona, in October!