I am writing this sat in the departure lounge at Nice Airport, awaiting my flight home after having spent the week in Cannes at VMworld EMEA '09, which has just finished. Focus of this years event was somewhat different from last year, last year everything was 'Green' this year we were all living in the Cloud, or at least that ís the way the keynotes painted the picture. Most of exhibitors and attendees however still seemed to have their feet firmly planted on the ground in the reality of using todayís technology.
Sticking with the keynotes, last year they were very product and feature centric whilst this year one got the impression that VMware were providing more of a vision of where they see their software taking the industry - and this was most definitely into the cloud !
Another shift was in the client space where last year VDI was the buzz word and thin clients would solve all our business needs, this year there seemed to be an acknowledgement that the rich client has a place ( even if it might be virtualised ) so for those PowerPoint junkies amongst us who want all the cpu power they can get at their fingertips whenever and wherever they are this is good news. In terms of virtualising clients one bit of news from the conference was that VMware plan to develop a bare metal ( type 1 ) hypervisor for clients that takes advantage of Intel's VPro Technology to provide amongst other things out-of-band management and authentication of the hypervisor.
Back into the clouds, 'IT as a Service' was one of the keynote themes with VDC-OS and Vcloud enabling this. For those that didn't attend the event the keynote videos are here. To support the 'IT as a Service' story SAP presented on their IT infrastructure, of particular interest was the proposition that in the future Cloud computing would become much like the airline industry with low cost providers competing with full-service providers, pricing varying by time and demand, aggregators ( a.k.a bucket shops ) selling off excess capacity and resource over-commit becoming a feature of using the cloud.
Walking the show floor it was clear that if VMware were in the clouds most of the rest of the folks in Cannes were clearly facing up to today's reality of deploying technology to enable their business's. Much of the focus this year seemed to be on storage and back solutions, with management and networking also be key topics. It also felt like there was a more technical bias amongst the attendees than last year - maybe due to the current economic climate.
One parting thought is that what ever else is happening in the IT industry the momentum behind the virtualisation train continues to grow and its something we all need to be taking into consideration when planning our IT strategy.