Plagiarism: did Paul Maritz steal my pitch for the VMworld 2008 Keynote?

I think he did but, relax Paul, I am not going to sue you… ;-)

Joking aside I was sitting at the VMworld 2008 Keynote in Las Vegas back on Monday last week and I was somewhat surprised (perhaps even pleased) to see Paul touching on many innovative concepts I have been talking about last year at VMworld 2007 in my breakout session. Those of you that are entitled to download the official VMworld presentations can find it searching on the portal for session number S288511 (Virtual Appliances and the New Datacenter: Changing the Rules); those of you that do not have an account on the VMworld portal can get a similar (superset) version here.

There are many concepts in common between the two “visions” and if you have time to look at my pitch, those that have been at VMworld 2008 or that have been reading about the announcements made will recognize the affinities. One for all is this concept of the Datacenter OS that I discussed last year (VMware Virtual Datacenter OS anyone?). BTW this was somewhat funny as my session was due on Wednesday at VMworld and I was sitting in the VMworld 2007 Keynote when Diane Greene explicitly said “oh, and by the way, I want to make sure you all understand that we are not trying to create an OS here!”. My reaction? For the first 5 seconds I was thinking how to try to cancel my session as it was clear for me that I would have given contradictory messages, but then I thought “Mh, I don’t think so; I think what you are building Diane is exactly what an OS is and what an OS is supposed to do and I am going to say that!”. Well, I guess after all it was a good decision.

Talking about affinities between my pitch and the new VMware vision how about these examples? This is the VMware vision presented at VMworld 2008 which calls out the “Virtual Datacenter OS” concept:

Do the following slides sound familiar in the context of the vision? Notice the logo on the right hand side… it says VMworld 2007

Well I have to admit I had to use the legacy Virtual Appliance term where they have used the term vApp to identify the black-box but hey!… I have been working out the vision, didn’t have too much time to work out the marketing details :-)

On another topic, the vCloud component of the vision was (very) intriguing too. I can’t really find a good architectural picture of what they have been talking about but in essence the overview is as follows (taken from the VMware web site a couple of minutes ago):

Mh, do you mean something like this Paul?

I have never used the term Cloud since, while it’s been around for some time, it was not a concept widely used by standard IT human beings (and quite frankly I have been exposed to it only recently too).

In conclusion of this post, what should I say? Maybe something like this?

For some reason I called out in 2007 in red what it has become the most important and appealing concept of VMworld 2008 (ok ok… among many others).

The “Virtual Infrastructure” (be it VMware VI3, Xen, Windows Virtualization) to potentially become “the Datacenter OS”

I think I heard the concept many times last week.

You will notice, by the way, that this presentation was really product agnostic. It could theoretically be applied to any virtualization software stack out there (not only to VMware – as I have specified in the original closing statement). The problem is that to get there you have to believe in it and you have to be able to commit to the plan. And VMware apparently seems to be well positioned for both. What I am trying to say here is that this is an open race but it is the only way forward (in my opinion) no matter who implements it. It doesn’t require a visionar to understand that the current model is pretty broken. Even a geek like me understands that … and by the way this is the reason for which I am not suing VMware, how can I sue them for coming out with the obvious next step?

Massimo.

P.S. Paul, if you ever read this article, understand I am giving you/VMware a hard time just for kidding. Seriously I really believe you rock and I look forward to seeing who is going to win this race…. don’t sit on your laurels though (oh and if you read this please let me know as I want to call out in my CV that “Paul Maritz reads my blog” – thanks).

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