vmware no longer exciting
IMO their last big good release was 4.0 (still using it for my production systems, well 4.1U3 - and I use ESX not ESXi - I like the thick mgmt stuff). I looked at what was new in 5.0, 5.1 and now I think 5.5, and don't see much that gets me really excited. 4.0 is obviously pretty old at this point, but the point is the competition is/has caught up to vsphere 4.0 in many areas.
So there's less incentive to go hog wild with vmware, though I still think it's the best hypervisor out there(and the only one I use today still).
Never been much into conferences myself, living just a dozen or so miles from VMworld was hosted I never had any interest at all in attending. My boss went for one day on a vendor invite - though he said he didn't see much either, given the lack of news on el reg on the thing I wasn't too surprised.
As a VMware customer for the past 14 years now (back when vmware was linux only, need to find my 1.0.2 CD ..) - I feel that it is no longer exciting, it's a very useful technology to have and I use it every day, but it's pretty mature tech at this point.
I told our VMware rep I don't see us buying any more licenses until at least 2015, I plan to upgrade the CPUs on our existing clusters, the cost of that is a fraction of additional hosts, and doesn't consume any additional power.
After that perhaps late 2014 start replacing existing servers with the newer faster variety.
The latest Intel 12-core chips are 3x faster than our existing 12-core 2.3ghz opterons, so we can triple our performance/capacity at some point and won't have to worry about any more vsphere licensing. Too bad that AMD abandoned the high end chips, was sad to learn that. Not sure what chip perf will look like a year from now.
Also I'm a strong believer in not making everything a VM if it doesn't have to be. If you can drive performance on the HW side (or there is a software licensing issue) I have no problems putting something on real HW (even though right now all of my shit is VM).