VMware seminar and some thoughts on virtualization

On Wednesday I attended a VMware Virtualization seminar at Hotel Chancey Pavillion, Bangalore. It was a well attended, half-a -day, seminar. It must have been a combination of VMware’s popularity and the current market scenario, that brought in a large crowd and the huge hall was full. The other surprising thing was that most people arrived on time and the seminar started at 9 am as announced. A rarity, which the first speaker made a point of mentioning.

The seminar was done professionally. Things started on time, the speakers spoke well, the presentations were brief and to the point and importantly all speakers finished their presentations within the alloted time. In short, they ensured that you were not bored. A major achievement for a seminar !!

In most of the seminars sponsored by the marketing teams, the theme always remains the same, “We have the exact solution to every problem that you have.” You need to observe what they are not saying or don’t want to say in order to get a more realistic picture. This seminar spoke about the future features and products from VMware. From what I could gather from the presentation, the two key areas they are keen on addressing are:

  • Running business critical application in virtualized environment
  • Management tools to support server virtualization

They had a presentation about running critical apps like Exchanger server, SAP, Oracle in virtual machines and showed how this could enable better performance. Given that VMware would want to be in the heart of the enterprise, addressing this issue will be of paramount importance.

Management of virtual machines is another headache which requires lot of good tools. Currently VMware has certain tools and they are quickly adding to this list. The future tools, as always, give an idea of what is missing now 🙂

The speaker on Desktop Virtualization was very gung-ho about it. Reminded me of the X-server days when we thought that the diskless workstations running X-servers would catch up soon. Somehow that didn’t happen to the degree we anticipated. It will be interesting to see how much Desktop Virtualization catches on. To me the adoption of Desktop virtualization would be slower than Server virtualization but a good value proposition exists.

VMware folks say that they have around 600 customers in India. I am sure this number will increase soon. In a country like ours, virtualization makes great sense. Especially given the power shortage and the current quality of power. This was emphasized in the seminar and I fully agree. The lesser we draw power the better it is for everyone. Maybe we should make virtualization mandatory for companies which draw more than a certain amount of power for their IT needs. I am sure the server vendors will not be very happy whereas the virtualization guys will be more than happy. Given the value proposition of virtualization, it doesn’t need a law for people to see the benefits. Especially in the current economic condition.

A nice article by Eric Seibert, which talks about what you must do after you have virtualized. Read it here.

Met a manager from a company which implemented virtualization. He was saying how difficult it was to get expert help. The company from whom they bought the infrastructure would send some ‘experts’ initially for deployment. After a few days, they would be pulled out and new faces will appear. Upon continuous pressure the old guys will return but only for a few days. When they tried getting some consultancy from the software guys, their quote for consultancy services was more than the cost of the infrastructure !! Apparently they had their experts in Singapore, who had to fly down and stay in some fancy seven start hotel for which this company had to foot the bill !!! This is something I have personally seen, being on both sides of the table. Consultancy and training are high margin stuff and companies want to do this on their own but unfortunately do not have enough staff to meet all the demands.