April 21st – What will we get?

So many have already posted about the Virtualization announcement that is planned for April 21st, 2009 (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). You can see from the amount of announcements on the Blogosphere that this is a highly anticipated event. (By the way all of the blogs posted above have a huge wealth of information that I highly recommend you frequent whenever you have a chance)

So I put up a balloon on Twitter this morning with the question, “Is this going to be the launch of vSphere (a.k.a. ESX 4) or will this be the announcement of when the launch date will be?”

The only answer I actually got from the Twittersphere was that is is an announcement – what it will contain is not yet disclosed (which – in VMware’s defense – I must say would sort of “be missing the point” if they removed the suspense. The hype around this announcement is HUGE!! I mean I only gave 12 examples above of bloggers that posted about it in the past 24 hours – I am sure there are at least double the amount of posts that I might have missed.

What will we get? What will the announcement be? the way I see it - three different alternatives.

  • VMware will release their new version of vSphere. It has been around in Beta since September 2008 (I have personally filled out countless amounts of surveys and feedback forms with my input on all aspects of the product and all the additional functionality that will be released with it).
  • VMware will announce the release date for vSphere.
  • Something completely new will come out – that has not been circumventing around the virtualization world.

Now I have some thoughts on each of the above.

Option One. vSphere has been in Private Beta since September 2008 (6 months in total). I was one of a number (exactly how many I do not know) of individuals that were given access to the new version – even before it was called vSphere. Testing, installing, playing around has been a good learning experience, has helped the VMware development team to make the product better and add in improvements across the board. Besides all the public information that has been presented, in VMworld 2009 in Cannes, by bloggers which have rightfully or not disclosed features / screenshots of the upcoming product, and has taught me a lot about testing and learning a new product.

But, and for me it is a big BUT.. I do not want to receive a product that is not complete yet. We all remember the fiasco that happened with VMware and the time bomb bug last August, which I think most of us agreed that the reason this happened was because of the rush to get out a product and Microsoft’s Hyper-V in the works. Of course mistakes happen, but I am wondering, if the product is to be released in two weeks from today – is it ready? Are we in for more some more bugs and embarrassments due to cutting corners to meet deadlines? Believe you me – I know that no software release is perfect, bug-free. There is always a trade off between perfectionism and time. Someone once told me that when developing software you have to draw the line where the delivery of the product is not perfect but where the delivery is good enough to go out but financially tangible and worthwhile. But I personally think that this 6 month period of broader testing is not enough. The amount of additional features, improvements new technologies, practically a complete overhaul - will be a big incentive to persuade VI Admins worldwide to move to the new version. But as always – without extensive testing, and waiting for what I would call a “let the bugs emerge” period, the new version will have to wait a while until I deploy it.

Now that is out of the way – let’s go to Option Two. I will be happy to finally have a release date – which will allow for proper planning for the move to the next version, adjust licensing costs – new hardware requisitions, training and career paths. VMware partners will also have time to finish their new products and technologies that will compliment and improve the next version. I do not know many people who like live without knowing what is in store for them in the future

If this is the case – the HUGE HYPE – will not be warranted. I mean what else can they tell us that has not already been announced on numerous occasions in the past 6 months?

Option Three. This one is intriguing.. What has been going on under the covers? I mean Chad Sakac has been hinting on this on numerous occasions – for example. I am sure the other partners have their secrets as well. Could there be something that will surprise us all? I don’t think so – a secret like that is really, really hard to keep. We still have two weeks till the announcement so maybe we will learn some more as the date gets closer.

Personally I place my bets on option 2 with something additional from option 3 – but nothing earth shattering.

What are your speculations?