20 Weird And Wacky Scenes From VMworld 2012

VMworld 2012 Grabs San Francisco's Attention

VMworld 2012, VMware's annual gathering of the virtualization and cloud computing cognoscenti, returned to San Francisco this year. The outside air temperature was roughly 40 degrees cooler than last year's show in Las Vegas, but inside Moscone Center, the pulse of high-profile announcements and vendors hawking their wares was positively sweat-inducing. VMware changed CEOs, bundled a suite of cloud products around its flagship vSphere offering and got rid of its immensely unpopular vRAM licensing scheme. And that was just on the first day of VMworld. CRN roamed the show floor and cavernous convention halls in search of interesting sights, and here presents 20 of the ones that were most effective at capturing our attention.

FalconStor's Punching Bag

What do boxing training and storage software have in common? Not much, but that didn't matter, as FalconStor's punching bag game, which measured the force of VMworld attendees' punches, attracted a steady crowd of would-be Mike Tysons -- sans the facial tattoos.

Right Here, Right Now

A palpable air of anticipation wafted through the Moscone Center convention hall before the opening VMworld keynote, and attendees began filing into the massive auditorium more than an hour before it kicked off.

Back Off (If You Know What's Good For You)

This sticker, handed out by the dozens at VCE's booth, was everywhere to be found on the show floor. vBlocks, a pre-integrated and pre-configured private "cloud-in-a-box" system that combines Cisco networking, VMware virtualization and EMC storage, are now available for SMBs and midmarket organizations.

Spongy Sumo Wrestlers

VMworld attendees that were feeling overwhelmed by the pace of high-intensity news found relief at NTT Communications' booth in the form of foam sumo wrestlers. These stress relievers are perfect for squeezing, and their perpetual smiles also lend an air of calm satisfaction to wherever they happen to be placed.

V3 Systems' Half-Pipe

V3 Systems' showed off version 2.0 of its Desktop Cloud Orchestrator (DCO) management software and drew VMworld attendees to its booth with a skateboarding demonstration. Here the skateboarders stretch in preparation for some injury-defying feats of coordination.

Avaya's Answer To vBlock, FlexPod

Avaya's "Collaborative Pod" is the latest entrant to the pre-configured cloud-in-a-box space. Just in case VMworld attendees didn't realize this, Avaya helpfully adorned it with cotton to convey this cloud-oriented theme. Get it?

Kaspersky's Toy Race Cars

Who doesn't love toy race cars? Judging by the ever-present throngs craning for a look at Kaspersky's VMworld booth, this simple children's activity is still capable of attracting plenty of interest from adults.

Veeam's Drink-Mixing Robot

The best giveaway at VMworld -- or at least, the one that elicited the most smiles -- was Veeam's dancing, mix-drinking plastic robot. Wind him up and watch him move his hips and shake his mixer. Shaken, not stirred was the order of the day.

Preparing To Be Blown Away

VMworld attendees listen with rapt attention to details about VCloud Suite 5.1, a new integrated bundle of vSphere and management, networking, security and storage software. When VMware announced the end of vRAM pricing, applause rippled through the crowd of roughly 20,000 attendees.

The Next Big Thing

Samsung trumpeted the enterprise readiness of its Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, which last month overtook Apple's iPhone for the top spot in U.S. smartphone sales, according to analyst firm Canaccord Genuity. Apple has identified the Galaxy S3 as one of the many Samsung products that it claims violate its patents, but in the meantime Samsung is making hay with its popular device.

End-User Computing Kung Fu

This creative t-shirt, which heralds the arrival of the post-PC era and VMware's end-user computing product portfolio, came from Stratos Management Systems and Nexus, its subsidiary.

Downtime In The Hang Out Lounge

VMworld offered more than just keynotes and expo hall chaos: VMware thoughtfully included a hangout lounge where attendees could step out of the fray and relax, play foosball or -- if they were so inclined -- spend even more time on their computers.

Coraid's iPad Sketch Artists

Coraid had the clever idea of bringing in sketch artists with iPads to draw funny caricatures of VMworld attendees, as a way of "drawing" them into its booth. Yes, that was terribly corny.

Secure Virtualization

Catbird's booth at VMworld told of its integration with VMware vShield and how this represents an unbeatable combination for government organizations with extra-stringent virtualization security and compliance needs.

Clearing The Bar

STEC showed off its latest solid-state accelerator (SSA) products and gave VMworld attendees a visual impression of how its technology can help organizations meet their goals.

NetApp's Cool Plastic Chairs

On a show floor where nearly every booth chair was some sort of representation of a cloud, NetApp stood apart with its funky, cool plastic chairs.

Veeam Is For Virtualization Lovers

The state of Virginia's legal team might have been a bit perturbed by Veeam's slogan, which treads awfully close to the "Virginia Is For Lovers" tourism campaign.

Virtualization Motocross

"Virtualization Unconstrained" was the slogan at Unitrends' booth at VMworld, and that point was made more emphatic by having a dirt bike on hand. Because nothing says "no limits" like a dirt bike.

Cloud Game-Planning

No, this isn't a scene from "Good Will Hunting" or "A Beautiful Mind." It's just an illustration from a vendor booth at VMworld that is apparently meant to show how complex and technical cloud computing can be for the uninitiated.

Virtual Hero

Simpana Software wants organizations to be unafraid when virtualizing business critical applications, and that its data protection technology is like a "virtual superhero" that will protect them in case anything goes wrong.