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Whenever I attend a technology show, the first thing anyone asks is “so, did you see anything cool today?” However, unlike an Apple event or the Consumer Electronics show, VMWorld isn’t usually the type of show to blow observers away with “cool”.

However, there are still some very interesting things going on at this week’s VMWorld 2016 show in Las Vegas.

As always, this event is very focused on IT infrastructures, the challenges that plague them, and what technology can do to not only overcome these challenges but also make businesses more agile, competitive, and cost efficient.

From the first two days of VMWorld, two overarching themes definitely came to the fore. One was the importance of automation and the second was the need for integration.

Let’s start with integration. One reality that all of the vendors here are coming to grips with is that modern businesses aren’t settling on one cloud or virtualization provider (in fact, according to one VMWare presentation, most businesses use around eight different cloud providers).

In this word, businesses want tools and services that can be easily and efficiently integrated. They want to be able to, for example, build hybrid cloud or hyper-converged infrastructures that work seamlessly and that become more like one big system than a few different systems bolted together.

And when it comes to automation, companies want the cloud and virtual systems they use and manage to be as agile and efficient as possible. This means that common tasks can be done quickly so as to enable the fast deployment of applications and services. It also means that when issues occur, systems can detect and often remedy these issues before they impact the business.

These types of things may not be as sexy or cool as VR headsets or augmented reality tools, but they do help businesses run and also can lead to significant cost savings.

Actually, when you think about it, saving money can be pretty cool and sexy. So, yeah, I guess I did see some cool stuff at VMWorld 2016.

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