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Cloud Computing & Virtualization - IT's Top Two Topics
The shape of IT to come is characterized by virtualization, cloud computing and service-based application delivery

Another confirmation that virtualization, cloud computing and service-based application delivery is set to form an integral part of software application development infrastructures in the decade to come is evident from the shape of an IT event in Las Vegas, Nevada, that starts today. Reporting exclusively for SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal, Adrian Bridgwater looks forward to examining real-world integration and implementation of virtualization technologies in this preview of the event.

Parallels will be staging its fourth industry summit this week at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from February 2-4, 2009. Over 1300 attendees have flocked into town, despite the economic meltdown, to learn about what we're told will be the key drivers in the next generation of optimized computing.

For those still doubting the fact, this may be proof enough then that virtualization, cloud computing and service-based application delivery will form an integral part of software application development infrastructures in the decade to come.

The event, known as theParallels Summit 2009, will have a governing theme of cloud computing and this will be expressed in clear terms by the company itself and the partners in attendance this week. Sessions will be structured around fundamental milestones in this IT sector including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Automation, Virtualization and other co-related topics. Additionally, Parallels tell us that we will have business leaders (well, I would hope so!) and other experts on hand to share strategic insights on how companies leveraging virtualization technologies can use them to build competitive advantage and survive against the corporate giants who are threatening their market share.

For some publications, such as SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal, this trip was opened up a day early so that journalists and reporters could get acclimated (Nevada in late January is fairly appealing after all) and sniff around to try and get a feel for what might be presented in the coming week. Tuning into the pre-show rumor mill I got a pretty strong sense of what we'll be able to see in the coming week. This event is likely to be pretty hands-on affair with beta version demos of several new products including Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.5 for OS-level server virtualization, the Parallels Virtual Automation 4.5 virtualisation management tools and Parallels Server Bare Metal, which is reportedly a hypervisor server virtualization offering.

I hope this event will provide some time to examine real-world integration and implementation of virtualization technologies, I also hope that the partners appear to show a little more unity than the rather fragmented market I saw at the VMworld Europe show this time last year in Cannes, France.

Maybe we can even start to see some more evidence of these technologies being used in everyday computing environments. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) appears to be a key area for Parallels right now, so I'm sure this will feature.

So looking to the partners for some comment, I spoke to Cloudmark CTO Jamie de Guerre, he reiterated to me that the hot topic for this show definitely seems to be cloud computing. "Web hosting providers are in a unique position to already have a customer relationship built around a hosted service, through which they now want to expand the services and value they offer to customers. Compare that to other companies looking to offer cloud computing services, which typically need to create a relationship with a customer moving to their hosted service for the first time," said de Guerre.

ISVs like Cloudmark will be showcasing or launching new services to help enable hosting providers to offer additional value added services to customers that help them to increase stickiness, foster their customer relationships and create additional revenue streams.

As a specific example, this week Cloudmark will be launching a new cloud-based email security solution specifically designed for Hosting Providers and the SMB customers they typically serve.

Looking at the program ahead of us: on both days, the conference will break into four different tracts: Service Provider, Technology, Industry and Enterprise – and each will feature its own blend of content.

The Service Provider Track will focus on building competitive advantage, competing against large players in the industry, marketing solutions effectively to end users – essentially I suppose, this segment is focused on improving the bottom line.

The Technology Track will, I am told, allow technical personnel to learn more about Parallels products, interact directly with Parallels engineers and get ideas for improving their service offerings or IT infrastructure.

The Industry track will feature presentations that will focus on specific solutions available in the market now that can, according to Parallels, improve businesses efficiency, productivity etc.

Finally, the Enterprise track is a new track for this year's Parallels Summit and it will supposedly focus on how businesses can automate their internal IT or shift their IT departments into a service provider model.

Note: there will also be a hand-on lab designed for learning more about Parallels and other products, including Parallels Plesk Control Panel, Parallels Plesk Billing, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers and more.

So it looks like a worthy event and, to be honest, all credit to Parallels for pushing forward with this gathering at such a tough time in the world economy.

The corporate 'feel-good' quote today comes in the form of words from Mr John Eng, VP of marketing for Service Provider at Parallels.

"Parallels Summit 2009 looks to be the major event for the Service Provider industry. We are excited to see record attendance - we've got over 1300 registrations among hosters, enterprise IT, VARs/consultants, and ISVs/SaaS players - and all at senior levels of their companies. It's going to be an international event – with over 30 countries represented as over 35% of our audience originates from outside of the United States," said Eng.

Right then! One dollar bill in the nickel slots is my personal limit for any IT symposium in Las Vegas, so I had better get that out the way and get my netbook charged up and my pencil sharpened too!

About Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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