Things I learned when traveling…
During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling a lot – speaking at international conferences and meeting with customers. As always I took the opportunity to get a realistic feeling of what “the market” is up to by talking to many people. Interesting enough, it’s not necessarily the topics major vendors want us to make believe are the next big thing that many customers and community peers really care for. In a majority of cases it’s not cloud computing strategies, it’s not the introduction of iPhones for remote application access, it’s not client hypervisors, and it’s not a general VDI roll-out my customers are concentrating on these days.
Mostly it’s down-to-earth stuff they are looking at. Many of my customers started planning their Windows XP to Windows 7 migration, but want to make sure that user-specific application settings can be maintained across OS versions. They want to know how to deal with growing user data volumes without investing a fortune into new storage systems. They want to have guidelines on how to use application remoting and application isolation in their existing environments without making it the Holy Grail of their IT department or disrupting established workflows. They want to know how to virtualize their “workhorse” servers without spending too much money and wasting too many resources. They want to learn how to gradually introduce Windows Server 2008 (R2) to their existing backend infrastructures. They want to establish solid disaster recovery mechanisms with reasonable SLAs without investing into complicated and hard to manage HA platforms.
At their conferences, the big vendors such as Microsoft, VMware and Citrix tend to be talking about visions and future strategies while many customers just want solutions they can start using by tomorrow – which is definitely not too exciting from a vendor’s point of view. But many customers’ IT departments have a job to do, and that is keeping the business running in tough times. So please vendors, provide infrastructure blueprints and best practices that can be used immediately instead of evangelizing the world about what it may look like in two years. Now it’s the time to get our hands dirty and make those small steps to improve the quality of the existing IT infrastructures instead of promoting the upcoming big bangs, which probably will never happen.