I first was made aware of this event through a colleague at work and since reading and investigating what exactly it was about I was instantly impressed. The sheer amount of IT companies present I thought would give me a great insight into the market of today and the potential picture of tomorrow.
I must say I was not disappointed the day the event was so large that it really needed one to carefully plan which seminars and stalls to attend. The best approach is to know what area in the vast world of IT interests you and your company. For me I am a big fan of desktop virtualization which in turn relies on storage and wireless technologies thus I planned my day around these areas.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
A highlight was the seminar held by Cancer Research UK who had transferred their entire desktop platform to VDI with Citrix Xendesktop this was part of a move from 8 offices into one HQ based in London with 1200 users. It was delivered by Jane Swindle who has been in the IT industry for 35 years and specialises in business change. I mean to sum it up briefly I enjoyed the seminar as she provided practical scenarios of how VDI benefitted the company and what challenges they faced.
One challenge that sticks with me is that they had implemented VDI solution on the same storage device (EMC Clarion) as their other business critical applications and what they had found was that when there was an increase in I/O traffic to the storage device it would slow down the VDI experience. Users then began to introduce a new phrase around the company the VDI problem. As a result of this she advised not to use the same storage device as other applications and since then the have moved over to a new storage solution.
Technology has moved a long way recently and we have seen the boom in data consumption, we are now data hungry beings each potentially carying a laptop, smart phone and tablet device. As such its its important wireless technology can handle such demans. The key phrase that I remember from the spokesman from Xirrus was that wireless technology should be “boring” in a the sense that it should just work and if that is the case then the implementation has been successful. He presented a case study from Swindon college where they had implemented a totally wireless classroom, the photo of the rack instantly conveyed the advantages, it was virtually empty with one switch and 5 cables running from the patch panel to the switch.
In my opinion VDI and generally virtualization is rapidly expanding the two big players VMware and Citrix were both present and both of whom seem to be leading the way. Citrix has recently acquired a number of companies which strategically enhance their own VDI solution. I believe that XenDesktop coupled with XenApp will be the norm. Many organisations will follow Cancer Research UK in having a thin client that connects to the central datacenter. What I havent really mentioned is the new buz word ‘Cloud’ Microsoft seemed to focus almost its entire day on subjects around this technology showcasing what they have on offer. In a separate seminar by VP of virtualstream explained the various types of cloud infrastructures and highlighted how most are currently public clouds where the provider may not know where exactly the data is physically stored and backup measures may not be in place. He went on to explain that the enterprise or public sector would not seek a public cloud but rather the enterprise cloud where the provider can determine where data is stored right up to SAN and rack detail. However the enterprise cloud would be a more expensive solution as it would adhere to strict requirements
The expo offers a great insight into where technology lies today its an open picture of what is happening in the IT sector and really from the seminar topics one can see where the future lies. The expo has also reaffirmed my love for the IT sector and motivated in wanting to be part of an ever changing world.