This is an amazing vehicle, and the result of a strong commitment by VMware to demonstrate both their own technologies and those of their partners. You have a world class data center on wheels, traveling the country to promote the game changing virtualization technologies VMware has to offer.
Since seeing the data center in a trailer at VMWorld 2008, I have loved the concept of how much processing power and functionality you can pack into a mobile data center with virtualization. As a customer, I was excited when VMware announced the VMware Express several months ago and was checking the schedule for my first chance to actually get inside. Now that I am a partner, I see this as a mobile marketing tool (which it really always was). I am now checking the schedule for opportunities to bring customers to see the VMware Express.
In fact, that brings up a second point. Many partners are working on mobile demo platforms, looking to create platforms that can demonstrate core virtualization functionalities with a price tag and footprint that actually make the unit feasible. To that point, two people have put together some very impressive mobile demo platforms. Simon Gallagher (@vinf_net) has developed the v.T.A.R.D.I.S., and describes it on his blog HERE and HERE. This is a configuration made of two cheap PC-grade desktops, hosting 4 ESXi servers as VM’s and another 60 VM’s running on those hosts. With this, you can easily demo vMotion, DRS, SRM, VDI and many other technologies. At VMWorld, Simon also pointed me to Didier Pironet’s (@dpironet) post on a similar setup using slightly more powerful computers. You can read Didier’s post HERE.
So what is the challenge? What if there was a vehicle with a portion of the VMware Express functionality, in a footprint that was more feasible for partners to use? Maybe utilizing a setup similar to Simon’s or Didier’s, throwing in a wireless network and a Cisco Cius, an Apple iPad and a smaller zero client that could be used for a demonstration anywhere in the range of the wireless network. Maybe even throw in one wireless repeater for a little boost. Imagine showing a nice SRM or VDI demo, then saying “And all of this is running from that small vehicle out the window.”
I would recommend the Mini Club-S, taking out the back seats and leveraging the slightly expanded interior room. Besides, if you are making a miniature version of the VMware Express, why not use a “Mini”? Ladies and gentlemen, I present the VMware Mini-Express concept car.
So, that is the challenge. VMware, could you make a VMware Mini-Express, come up with a good competition and award it to a partner at VMware Partner Exchange next spring? Maybe even create a few additional Mini-Expresses to use in a regional role within VMware sales/marketing. Either way, it would make a great showcase for just how much power you can fit in a small package with VMware technologies. In fact, you could almost fit this in the conference room of the VMware Express trailer for transportation and have them tour together. Now I see images of Knight Rider or Smokey and The Bandit, but that is another blog post all together ;-)
If anyone does decide to take up this challenge, even if only for your own use, please let me know. I would love to see the final product!