Despite a published report Aug. 27 suggesting that Microsoft and Citrix Systems might be skipping VMworld, held Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 in San Francisco, both companies told eWEEK that they will have booths at the conference, which is expected to attract about 200 vendors and more than 11,000 V-curious folks.
Microsoft with its Hyper-V and Citrix with XenServer are hard-nosed competitors for VMware when it comes to hypervisors, and the VMworld conference-the largest virtualization event in the world-is controlled by a company with a protective and proprietary outlook.
VMware is limiting its two biggest competitors to 10-foot-by-10 foot booths and is restricting the movement of their employees-requiring them to remain within the boundaries of their booths.
In the revised VMworld sales information, it reads: "To sponsor or exhibit at VMworld, your company must be a VMware partner in good standing in our TAP, Strategic Global Partner or VIP Partner programs. Sponsors or exhibitors that are not VMware partners may be allowed under exception."
When non-partners are sanctioned to exhibit at the show under exception, those approved are limited to participating at the exhibitor level only and cannot be included as a sponsor of any kind.
VMware did change up the rules from its previous four shows, apparently aiming the new regulations directly at its competitors.
"It has been incorrectly reported that we pulled our sponsorship-VMworld's new guidelines for next week's show actually prohibited us from sponsoring," Citrix spokeswomen Julie Geer told eWEEK. "We will still be exhibiting at the show. While we wish we had the opportunity to sponsor VMworld as we have had in the past, it's their proprietary event, and we will comply with whatever policies they impose."
"VMworld is a proprietary event run by one vendor," said Kim Woodward, Citrix's vice president of corporate marketing. "At the end of the day, they have every right to change the rules in any way they wish.
"Citrix respects that and will fully comply with the terms of our show contract with them. When it comes down to it, if customers want a more open event, they will have to give that feedback directly to VMware or vote with their feet by attending other shows that don't restrict competitors."
Microsoft Group Product Manager Patrick O'Rourke wrote the following on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog: "Microsoft will be exhibiting at VMworld 2009 ... If you have a chance, please stop by [the] booth. It's right next to the Blogger lounge. ... Unlike prior VMworld conferences, we're no longer allowed to sponsor the event. We can only be an exhibitor."
The rules require all exhibitors to market and demonstrate products that are complementary to VMware products and technologies, O'Rourke wrote.
"As a result ... we don't believe we have the right to demo our products in the booth. This decision runs counter to Microsoft's geek culture, as you can imagine, but we've also become more pragmatic over the years," O'Rourke wrote.
"We've learned over the course of four years attending VMworld ... that there are many attendees who use, admin, manage, sell, support Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Windows XP/Vista, System Center, etc. They want the opportunity to engage and receive information from Microsoft virtualization experts. So we'll have Microsoft virtualization experts in the booth. These experts will be there to answer your questions."
VMware Global Public Relations Director Mary Ann Gallo told eWEEK that the VMworld sponsorship contracts contain industry-standard language.
"You should ask what those guys [Microsoft and Citrix] have in theirs [conference contracts]. It's probably pretty similar," Gallo said.