Our Economy Ain't Dead Yet

All week, the financial news has been bleak. Lehman Brothers saying uncle, stocks falling faster than a base jumper, the doom-and-gloom analysts getting unlimited air time...

But I was living in a different world. At VMworld, there were some 10,000 customers looking to transform their shops, over 200 third parties creating a brand-new and vibrant market, and a company, VMware, looking to do revolutionary things -- doing it all with a fair bit a class and savvy.

Virtualization also offers us a way out of this economic and even energy mess. Through the massive centralization of servers, PCs, networks and storage that virtualization allows, we can save mega megawatts. The energy saves are stupendous, as are the hardware and management economics.

Sun Adds VMware to Virtual Line
Sun is one of the pioneers, if not the pioneer, in thin client computing. While the "Network Computer" that Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison talked about for years never quite materialized, the Sun Ray line is a very effective thin solution.

But just as Sun made up with Microsoft, it apparently isn't religious about thin client and other virtual tools. This week, in fact, Sun agreed to sell and support VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Virtual Desktop Manager.

This software can be used to drive Sun Ray devices, or customers can opt for a purer Sun solution. Sun has a pretty cool strategy of pushing its unique technology, such as SPARC and Solaris, as well as a full complement of industry standard (read: Wintel) tools.

What do you think of Sun these days? Opinions accepted at [email protected].

XenServer Take 5
Everyone, it seems, is trying to crash VMware's big VMworld party. Microsoft's shenanigans this week are well-documented, but Citrix (also a pioneer in thin client computing) made some noise, too -- right in VMware's back yard: Citrix unveiled server virtualization tool XenServer 5.

Some have questioned Citrix's commitment to XenServer given that the company is so close to Microsoft and such a fan of Hyper-V. Perhaps XenServer 5 will help answer that question. New features focus on monitoring, disaster recovery and more options for third-party programs.

Where do you see Xen going, and is Citrix truly committed? Send conjectures to [email protected].

Mailbag: VMware's Big Plans, Seinfeld Ad, More
One reader is optimistic about VMware's virtualization ambitions:

A Datacenter Operating System? I think that'd be wonderful if implemented correctly. From my experience, most datacenters have a tendency to have a server per application to ensure the reliability of that application and that multiple applications won't tread on each other's territory. It also makes it easier to plan upgrades, patches and new releases.

With everything running under a virtual environment, we open up a new possibility. If all you are going to run is a Web server, then why not have an OS that is designed from the ground-up to be a Web server? You could have the same for a file server or a print server. I know that Windows Server 2008 has headed in this direction by only installing the roles needed, but there is probably still a LOT of unnecessary code that allows this one OS to be everything to everyone. Without this extra code, the OS would run much faster and would be much easier to secure. I think the time is right for someone to develop operating systems that are designed from the ground-up to maximize the benefits of a virtual environment.

The second installment of the Gates-Seinfeld ads is out, but the response hasn't changed much (read: lukewarm):

The second ad had funny parts to it, like the grandmother and the setup, but there were many moments where the ad was too lame (like the bedtime story). The ads need work. They lack and need a certain je ne sais quoi. I'm disappointed in the ads because MS is spending so much money on them and they're not as entertaining as Apple's Mac and PC ads.

The first commercial seemed really bad, but it did set the tone. The second one IS better. Obviously, it's like all the foreign car commercials, where you know absolutely nothing about the car when it is over, but in this case, everybody in the target audience knows what the product and message is, regardless of how bad the delivery may become. I think at this point, we just miss Bill, and are glad to watch him in mini sitcoms on TV.

I have no idea why Bill Gates is in a commercial; as a business person, I don't get it. Why would I care if he became a normal person or an oddball? All I want is for Vista to work quickly, correctly and with zero maintenance! The average consumer has no idea what should work or should not on their PC; if they get a Blue Screen of Death, then they think this is normal.

The Mac commercials are very accurate and, sad to say, Microsoft really doesn't care; it's all about marketing. In fact, Microsoft reminds me of Ford and GM: They have made cars which fail after so many years and now they are paying the price for this inferior "marketing" quality.

I guess I'm thinking that these Gates-Feld commercials are going to take folks somewhere and when we get there we'll all be converts to Microsoft. I know that we'll all end up in Vista-ville down the road, though I'm dragging my feet like everyone else. Often, the changes that end up being "for the better" are often the ones that are uncomfortable to wiggle into -- maybe like the "conquistadors." The ones that are comfortable in the store end up being loose and sloppy.

Vista SP1 fixed some issues I had with one of my customers whose "dollar-store laptop" didn't want to participate in their Windows Domain. If Microsoft can continue to chip away at the nuisances and annoyances to provide a secure and stable platform, we'll move on.

But unlike the ad, Doug's crack about the difference between a VMware CEO and a pitbull was unequivocally funny...to one guy:

I laughed at your joke.

Thanks for the support, Anonymous. Everyone else, feel free to chime in! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


comments powered by Disqus