If you’re addicted to virtualization.info like me you’ll have seen the announcement by Alessandro Perilli that the industry’s first vendor neutral virtualization conference, Virtualization Congress 2009, will be hosted virtualization.info in Las Vegas at the same time as Citrix Synergy 2009 – May 4-8 2009.

Alessandro’s goals for the Virtualization Congress are to make it the industry’s premier showcase for virtualization technology, products and business strategy.   If you’re under the illusion that VMware’s VMworld serves that purpose today, you probably also failed to notice that at VMworld even gold sponsors (like Citrix and Microsoft) are only offered one opportunity to present at the conference, and that 99% of the sessions are dedicated to VMware’s technology and products.  Indeed at VMworld in Las Vegas in 2008 I found that my session was somehow miraculously scheduled to occur in the last hour of the last day in the meeting room furthest from the elevators and escalators, and with barely enough seating.  The Microsoft folks complained of similar treatment.  (The highlight of the show for me was the huge showing of the press, who afforded Citrix generous coverage for the launch of Citrix XenServer 5).

So, will Virtualization Congress 2009 be a Citrix copy of VMworld?   Absolutely not.  Indeed Citrix has no influence or control over  the Virtualization Congress program whatsoever.   Alessandro and his independent program committee (which does not have any representation from Citrix), together with the readers of virtualization.info, will independently develop their agenda, select speakers and run the event.  Like other vendors, Citrix has submitted session proposals, but I have no idea whether or not they will be accepted. 

Why host Virtualization Congress with Citrix Synergy then?  Well, for three reasons. 

  • First, tight budgets and the tough economic situation means that  travel budgets will be cut for everyone next year.  Citrix has reserved all of the facilities at Summit that will be needed to host our partners, customers and ecosystem partners  and we can leverage our purchasing clout to secure a good deal for the facilities that Virtualization Congress needs.
  • Second, a large customer base (for all virtualization vendors) will be in Vegas for Citrix iForum – our customer conference, and a large subset of the virtualization channel partners  will be present for Citrix Summit – our channel conference.  
  • Third, the ISV and IHV ecosystem that has developed around Citrix Delivery Center, Xen, XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware will be at Citrix Expo to showcase their wares to our channel partners.  By broadening their exposure to a larger audience in a vendor neutral context we can maximize their opportunity to secure business with both customers and resellers. 

So, by co-locating Virtualization Congress with Synergy 2009, Citrix gets all it could want: A vendor neutral, independent virtualization conference in which the content is determined by the leading independent industry analysts and strategists; and an opportunity to give our customers attending iForum, and our channel partners attending Summit an opportunity to see the other 90% of the virtualization industry in a completely neutral showcase that allows them to learn, question and demand an open agenda free of a single vendor’s bias.   And save on time out of the office and travel costs while they are at it.

Indeed the value proposition is so clear that it deserves a call to action:  All major virtualization vendors should step up to co-sponsor the event to reduce the cost for the attendees and demonstrate their commitment to an open, technology and solutions focussed debate. 

Though I will probably still go to VMworld to do my pitch in the furthest room on the last hour of the last day, 2009 and the first Virtualization Congress will usher in a welcome change toward an open, virtualization vendor neutral and customer and solutions focussed debate.  As you plan your travel for 2009, I strongly recommend that you plan to be in Vegas May 4-9 for Synergy (including Summit, iForum, Expo, Geek Speak Live and more), Virtualization Congress and Network World Live - everything you’ll need to know about application delivery, application networking, data center automation and management will be on show.

Best wishes for 2009