February 07, 2011

What I learned at the New England VMware Users Group

I’m a week late but wanted to chat a little about an event I went to and got to present at, the New England VMware Users Group in Foxboro MA. This event had about 1,200 people, it was mostly focused on VMware and virtual desktops as well as cloud…obviously since it’s a VMware event.
Our breakout session was related to a topic Markus Nispel and I were talking about, iPads and other wireless devices and what to do about supporting them. I didn’t see any official metrics, but I think we were one of the most attended vendor breakout sessions at the event. The title was “Desktops unbounded.” We jointly presented with a partner of ours “Mosaic Technology.” We also use them as an IT vendor and they have helped me deploy ESX and storage over the past few years.
Some interesting tidbits from what I picked up. Markus may have some comments as well since he joined me as well.
1. Everyone is looking at virtual desktops. Technically only about 90% of the people mentioned it, but that’s pretty close to everyone. VDI has a ton of mind share, though, interestingly enough, there is practically no cost savings. Arguably there is a lot of operational cost savings, but if you are thinking you can save loads of cash by not having to buy laptops or desktops, you’ll be disappointed.
2. About 10% of people are actually piloting VDI. The vendors I talked to are doing a lot of talking and I think in the next 6 months many more people will do proof of concepts. We just finished one up and while there are some interesting benefits to VDI, we probably won’t use it ourselves. That said we wanted to understand it so we can help customers deploy it on their networks.
3. Almost everyone is being asked to let iPads “on the network”, though, for many people, wireless guest with Internet-only access is OK. We do that now, but are also going to allow iPads on the network and use policy to restrict what iPads/Android devices can do. The hardest part is deciding what that access actually should be. Technically easy, politically harder.
4. Freebies were better this year than last year. I’ll admit, I’m still a sucker for a free trinket. We actually had a pretty cool giveaway. Basically it is a picture frame, clock, calculator, much better than just a free pen. If you missed it and want one, make a thoughtful comment to this post and email me your address and I’ll send you one. We also raffled off an access point which was a pretty cool prize for one person. I can send you the picture frame, but if you want an AP you’ll have to buy that, but feel free to mention my name. I doubt it will help you get a better price, but you never know…
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