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VMworld 2010 News

OK, I admit it: I’m looking forward to VMworld like a kid looks forward to camp. But for exactly the opposite reason: VMworld marks the end of summer and the beginning of the fall tradeshow season. Summer, despite its all-American goodness, is an odd time for our industry—no less busy due to fall preparations, but devoid of the big moves, vision and ideas that make it exciting. That’s saved for the fall, when everyone is back from the beach and ready to listen.

So, if you’re ready to listen, you’re likely to hear the following themes emerging at VMworld 2010:

From cap ex to op ex

VMware practically owns the franchise on the cap ex value proposition, having proven that the hypervisor hath no equal when it comes to reeling in server spending. VMware CEO Paul Maritz has signaled a heavier emphasis on the op ex side of the equation. Why? I suspect two reasons:

  • Virtualization is a cap ex boon and an op ex bust—as compute capacity is made available by the hypervisor, it’s quickly filled in with new machines. The result? An explosion in the number of machines that need to be managed—and an explosion in operating expense.
  • The often-forgotten fact that cap ex represents less than 30 percent of overall IT spending. The larger share of cost savings—higher on the mind of the CIO—is operating expense.

Consequently, op ex is emerging as the new cap ex and will get considerable attention this year.Renewed emphasis on business value

Renewed emphasis on business value

The cynical among us may tune out when tech vendors flog business value—the hollow and disembodied wah-wah-wah of the adult in Charlie Brown’s midst. But, as an industry, we have a way of dragging the conversation into the weeds and losing sight of what really matters.

Of course, what really matters is delivering value to the business.

It’s encouraging to hear Maritz advocating a truth we’ve advanced for some time: Business value resides in apps, not ops. IT operations enable (or disable) business value that originates in internal, commercial or open source development organizations. Today, the problem is that the typical IT organization stands in the way of this value, slowed to a crawl by manual and bureaucratic processes. This has to change for business value to be unlocked and optimized.

Expect the business value conversation to take center stage—hopefully with more intelligibility than the adults featured in Peanuts cartoons of yore.

Automation

A major part of this change will be next-generation approaches to automation. Today, business lines are forced to wait for weeks, months or longer for applications to be moved into production. And changes to production software are unwelcome, because a running system—like a sleeping dog—should be left undisturbed. Change wreaks havoc on the data center.

This means slow and costly IT, and it’s the impetus behind the strategic automation investment we’re seeing in IT today—new classes of automation far beyond yesterday’s script-based approaches in favor of model-driven “industrialized” approaches to automating IT processes.

Automation and IT management in general will be one of the most important themes this year.

Private and hybrid clouds

The rise of public cloud services like Amazon EC2 and Rackspace have demonstrated a new standard for cost-efficiency and responsiveness that have forced IT to rethink how they measure their own performance. Historically, enterprise IT may have survived—perhaps even thrived—with incremental performance improvements year over year. But no longer: The game has changed, and IT organizations are held to a higher standard—a standard set by public clouds.

That’s why IT is all lathered up by the prospects and promise of private and hybrid clouds. As I wrote last week, “I’ve seen the future … and it is self-service private cloud.” It’s a beautiful future.

So, that’s it—what I expect to hear at VMworld 2010. I’m sure other themes will emerge—open source cloud stacks come to mind. What else do you see on the agenda this year?

This guest post was written by Jake Sorofman, chief marketing officer for rPath, an innovator in automating system deployment and maintenance across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Learn more about rPath at http://www.rpath.com; follow rPath on Twitter at @rpath and Facebook at www.facebook.com/rPathInc; and contact Jake at [email protected].

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Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.

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