Looking at the virtual road ahead as the main section of this VMworld Europe 2008 conference closes, we can perhaps draw a few concluding thoughts from the exhibitors and attendees.
VMware CEO Diane Green herself said that she didn’t want the focus of the event to come across as virtualisation only for big scale corporates. “That’s my mistake if that has come across,” she said. “We’re focused on the SMB sector and I think that virtualisation growth at the individual’s computing level will be one of our greatest areas for growth in the coming years.”
In an informal meeting I had with VMware VP of R&D Steve Herrod we talked about the potential for home users to plug in to a virtual desktop download delivered in much the same way as they use their broadband for web connection and/or movies and international phone calls. For Herrod, the road ahead is about breaking rules and, as he put it, “Delivering requirements that the no customer has even asked for yet.”
Herrod also stressed that this, the first VMworld in Europe, is a virtualisation industry event – not a VMware user conference.
Things have certainly changed, in meetings I had with Sun Microsystems, Vijay Sarathy, senior director for Sun xVM happily stated that, “The dynamics of the market have shifted.”
One of several colourful Russian technology pros in attendance, Neterion founder and VP of software engineering Leonid Grossman told me that, “The state of virtualisation up until now has been rather like a Catch-22 scenario because network intensive applications typically sit on 10 Gb Ethernet connections, but high-speed networking will never support virtualisation very well as these high-performance applications tend to sit on dedicated servers. But all that changed when multiple enablers such as ESX3.5, better 10Gb hardware and server platforms with support for 4-core CPUs came on board. These developments (for ESX 3.5 just at the end of last year) mean that virtualisation can now potentially grow faster than ever.”
Scott Herold from Quest software and Jane Rimmer from Vizioncore suggested that we look to enabling technologies such as converters (to take us from physical to virtual environments) as key determining factors. We also discussed the potential for ‘cloud’ or ‘liquid’ (please excuse the marketing-speak until I get hold of a better term) computing for resources to move to compute as and where they are needed to reduce wastage as a key factor.
One keynote speaker (sorry, I forget which now) even suggested that we could eventually see taxation levied on computing power consumption if cloud computing means that resources are moved around to the degree suggested.
In the same style as the London congestion charge, if compute power can be isolated in one area, it could be easier to target it and tax it. This could be taking the “road” ahead for virtualisation one step to far - or is it?