Monday, September 22, 2008

What's TechCrunch's Future?

Since joining Bessemer almost 2.5 years ago, TechCrunch has been a staple part of my morning blog diet. But lately, I've found myself breezing through the headlines, and rarely rarely reading the actual content. That said, I'm hesitant to unsubscribe.... what if I miss a juicy tidbit? But is TechCrunch's original role as a way to discover new web 2.0 startups relevant today? I suppose it must be. According to compete, their traffic hasn't dipped recently. Who are the die-hard Techcrunch readers?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

VMware: Biting off more than they can chew?

Watching the VMware keynote presentations at VMworld feels like watching the business plan of startup after startup copied onto a slide. But it's hard to know what's actually just a slide, what's just an API, and what's a real product close to being released. As I type, the CTO is announcing vCenter Chargeback, vCenter CapacityIQ, vCenter Orchestrator, and vCenter ConfigControl – all areas packed with startups. (And I’m told not many of VMware’s “Technology Partners” had any clue of what VMware was planning on announcing.)

But this doesn’t mean that startups don’t have a chance now that the mammoth VMware has announced its intention to move into these areas. After all, no one playing in the space should be surprised that VMware is trying to move the locus of it's future revenue away from the hypervisor and to the management layer. But listening to VMware's long list of "future" products, you can't help but feel like it is trying to bite off more than it can chew. If you scratch just below the surface of many of these roadmap ideas, a lot of "what if's..." pop up. Even taking the cool "bursting to the public cloud" idea I mentioned yesterday, how does the storage part work? Are you constantly mirroring storage to the cloud? That gets mighty expensive (and complicated) very quickly.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the virtualization landscape in the next couple of years. All in all, thanks in part to the startups springing up in the virtualization ecosystem, I’ll be leaving VMworld a little more bullish on Microsoft’s prospects of getting penetration in the virtualization landscape.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

VMworld topic du jour: Cloud Computing

I have the pleasure of spending today and tomorrow at VMworld in Las Vegas. These conference are always an experience. I should have known VMworld wouldn't disappoint when, on my way into the conference, I got handed a card with a $1 poker chip on it from none other than Microsoft. The card reads: “Looking for your best bet? You won’t find it with VMware.” Gotta love it.

The morning started off with a keynote speech from VMware’s new CEO, Paul Maritz. Apparently, VCs aren’t the only ones excited by the concept of cloud computing. In Maritz’s keynote speech this morning, he divided his presentation into three areas: cloud computing (for internal data center), cloud computing (federated external cloud), and more cloud computing (virtual desktops – okay, that’s a little bit of a stretch).

As much as I joke, Paul’s aspiration to build the next Windows looks like it will be based in part on riding the coat tails of the much-discussed cloud computing paradigm shift. VMware hopes to do this with its newly announced Virtual Datacenter OS. With VDC-OS, instead of having a legacy Windows/Linux/Unix OS in the data center, IT administrators can instead deploy VDC-OS. VDC-OS aggregates all the physical resources in the data center to create an internal, private cloud. An administrator can assign business policies to applications (e.g., Serve Level Agreements), and the data center will automatically provision new resources in order to maintain these SLAs.

Taking it one step further, one cool concept Paul demoed is the idea of leveraging a federated public cloud for peak loads. So if an application has a SLA that it is in danger of breaking, the VDC-OS will allow the infrastructure to “burst” to a paused vApp in the public cloud. I thought that was pretty nifty. A long way off, but a girl can dream.

Anyways, back to the conference. So many company booths, so little time.