All Aboard for VMworld

Arthur Cole

Looking ahead to VMworld next week, the early chatter seems to indicate that this has become the must-see show for the IT industry, which is a remarkable accomplishment considering VMware wasn't even on most people's radar barely five years ago.

This year's show in San Francisco, which starts Monday, promises to highlight two developments that are near and dear to VMware's heart: VDI and cloud computing.

On the VDI front, VMware will have a number of improvements to the Virtual Desktop Manager platform, but some of the hottest action will be from third-party vendors. Groups like RingCube, Wyse, Wanova and NxTop, are coming out with innovative approaches to enhance user experiences and drive down cost and complexity within the VMware environment. In particular, look for a number of new ways to stream desktop images from NAS devices.

And fresh from the announcement that VMware is acquiring Java developer SpringSource with plans to augment the vSphere 4.0 stack, expect to see a lot of press around both it and the ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor. The combo is heavy on resource allocation and load balancing with an aim to pool resources across multiple boundaries into some heavyweight computing power. The latest figures have the system capable of 2,048 processors supporting more than 1,280 VMs, augmented by 32 TB of main memory, 16 PB of storage and throughput as high as 3 million IOPS.

Also interesting this year is the company's decision to relegate arch-competitors Citrix and Microsoft to just small slivers of floor space. This is ample evidence that the show has not quite evolved beyond a mere vendor showcase and into a bonafide industry event, but it's hard to see VMware doing anything else now that the stakes for the virtual data center are so high. Of course, it makes the two companies look very small indeed in their pitiful 10x10 booths and shut out of any and all sponsorship opportunities. But, as Microsoft in particular should know, those are the perks of market dominance.

Modern trade shows being what they are, the action is no longer limited to the show floor, the conference rooms or even the private suites. There's plenty happening in the air and on the Internet, as well. Twitter is expected to be particularly active with any number of feeds coming in from countless sources. Virtualization Review's Rick Vanover has a few of his favorites (including his own) marked out, just in case you needed to keep up with more than just the official feed from

I'll be tracking the news and providing my own spin as well, with my usual approach of pulling together disparate developments into some sort of cohesive whole. That's getting harder and harder to do with all of the rapid changes that are taking place, but at least there is a focal point now to allow everyone involved in virtualization to take stock of where we are and where we want to go.

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