So the week before last was spent in the delightful (but blinking expensive) city of Copenhagen. I was there to attend my first VMworld, and what an interesting week it was. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a couple of Novell BrainShare events (well four in fact), but the scales are completely the opposite. I don’t think I’m inviting any criticism by saying that the two vendors are at opposite ends of the spectrum – Novell’s fortunes have been on the wane for several years, whereas VMware is an industry (and Wall Street) darling on the relentless rise quarter after quarter.
The purpose of the visit was really twofold. Firstly to network as a VMware partner, to see how we can really go out to market and sell VMware solutions and secondly with my technical head on, trying to re-learn my VMware skills that have gotten pretty rusty over the last couple of years. As such, it was a pretty good success. The problem with any event that has 7,000 delegates is that you’re always going to have a hard time spending any “quality time” with the people who have the answers. Getting the opportunity to talk to the subject matter experts in the exhibition hall is not an easy task!
The main thrust of the event was to showcase VMware’s cloud message. I used to hate the expression and all it stood for, as it stands for everything and nothing. Ask 10 vendors their take on cloud computing, and you get 10 totally different replies. In VMware’s case, it’s been a clear, concise and consistent message for the last couple of years. To them, cloud computing is essentially an agile environment where IT is turned into something akin to utilities such as water, gas and electricity.
In the VMware world, you can build an internal cloud that can expand and contract as load and business requirements fluctuate, or you can offload all of your VMs to a public cloud, such as the one from vCloud partner Colt, or you can have a Hybrid Cloud of the two, where you keep all your important business IP and services on premise, but when occasional spikes in demand occur, you can spin up some extra capacity at a vCloud partner, but still have it as part of your infrastructure. Once the spike falls, you tear down the VMs in the public cloud. I must admit, the more I’ve been thinking about this idea, the more I like it. As I said, it’s been the same message for the last couple of years and it’s an easy one to conceptualise.
On a slightly different track, I went along to a Scott Lowe session for the first time. He’s well known in the VMware space and has written numerous books and articles. What made his session interesting was that for once, it wasn’t too preachy or numbers driven. It really followed the process of how to design a vSphere implementation from the ground up. Rather than concentrating on raw numbers (which many do), he turned it around completely and asked to look at it from the business perspective. I really liked this approach, as even now, technology solutions end up being a square peg in a round hole and the business has to flex to fit it, rather than it being a business based solution that technology can help with.