I was looking over the VMWorld 2008 session catalog (I think you’ll need a VMWorld account), and it’s going to be a promising event with a lot of interesting sessions. Off course, there are a lot of best practices sessions, which are always good to attend, but I also found some other interesting sessions. Here is my top 5:**

VI Management Assistant (VIMA):
Never heard of this before, it looks like a virtual appliance for deploying agents and scripts to ESX(i) servers.

Virtual Storage Appliances:
How can environments without shared storage still benefit from the high availability features of VC? VMware introduces a new storage architecture: OpenVSA Platform.

VMware Workstation 6.5 Unleashed:
It sounds like VMware workstation 6.5 will be released just before or at VMWorld 2008!

Offline VDI:
This session will introduce the new feature of the upcoming VDM 3.0, I expect to be released at the end of the year.
An Introduction to VMO:
The VMware Automation and Orchestration Tool : Find out about the automation engine that powers Life Cycle Manager. I think it’s sort of like Citrix Workflow Studio

Unfortunately, no sessions about Continuous Availability, something VMware showed on VMWorld 2007.

Read the session descriptions:

VI Management Assistant (VIMA)
VMware, Inc. will be introducing the VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant (VIMA), which will provide VI system administrators with a convenient and consistent Linux-based environment for deploying agents and scripts for managing ESX Servers. VIMA will be especially important when supporting ESXi (which does not include a Service Console). In this session you will learn about the VIMA VM, product directions and opportunities for adding value to the VMware ecosystem.

Virtual Storage Appliances
One of the major deterrents of implementing advanced virtualization features in the SMB market space is the lack of shared storage. Virtual Storage Appliances (VSAs) are special-purpose Virtual Machines (VMs) that enable shared-highly-available-storage functionality across ESX hosts. With VSAs, the high-availability features of the Virtual Center (VC) are easily within the grasp of the SMB, while they considerably ease the management overhead. The VSAs run on commercial off the shelf hardware, thereby avoiding the burden of having to procure special hardware.

This presentation dwells on the business & technology behind the VSAs, VMware’s future direction with VSAs.

The session also proposes a new storage architecture (OpenVSA Platform) that will enable a VSA VM to run in a high-performance mode.

VMware Workstation 6.5 Unleashed 
VMware Workstation 6.5 is the latest and greatest release of the award-winning virtualization tool for desktop and laptop users. Come learn about the exciting new features introduced in Workstation 6.5, including seamless guest application integration with Unity, enhanced mobility support, advanced record and replay, and much more!!! We’ll also discuss the business challenges VMware Workstation can help you overcome and the benefits it delivers. 

Offline VDI 
This session will cover Offline VDI, a major new feature in the Laguna Seca (VDM 3.0) release. This session will introduce the feature and the targeted use cases, do a deep dive on how the feature is implemented, include a demo of the feature from the Laguna Seca beta and then talk about potential future directions for Offline VDI. The session will end with questions.

An Introduction to VMO: the VMware Automation and Orchestration Tool
Find out what the automation engine that powers Life Cycle Manager can do for your virtual infrastructure. VMWare Orchestrator is a key solution in the VMware product set for automating and orchestrating the virtualized infrastructure. It provides simplicity and power through a drag and drop implementation of the VI API and a complex workflow engine.

Through demo and interactive discussion, this session provides an in-depth look at the technical underpinnings of VMware Orchestrator. We will show how VMware Orchestrator provides significant cost savings through automating repeatable IT processes.