Kimbro and Sean will be attending the  rPath leadership summit  on virtual appliances April 3-4th in Dallas, TX. It should be an important event - small (25 ppl) but dense with some of the brightest minds in this space and all of the major players will be represented. We’ll ammend this post with the takeaways from that event that we can share. If you’re a Dallas resident, come join us for a cocktail in the hotel bar of the Omni after the days’ events.

summit.jpg UPDATE:  As promised, here’s a recap of some thoughts on the Virtual Appliances Leadership Summit last week in Dallas.

As expected it was a small but high-power cast of some very influential people in the industry- program managers and CTO’s from the major hardware vendors and virtualization players. There were two tracks the first day and Kimbro and I split up to get best coverage. I lucked out with the one I attended while it sounded like Kimbro’s group got side-tracked by discussions of grid computing and peripheral issues to building virtual appliancs. The takeaways I had from my group:

  1. Validation. Being in Phoenix we’re somewhat isolated from the lively technology ecosystem that is Silicon Valley. But engaging in discussion with these folks and having our company name used in the same breath as a 38-person, VC-funded company was major validation that we’re doing something right as a 4-person shop in the desert ;-)
  2. Differentiation. Although we have a technology that’s similar to rPath’s in the sense that it allows us to deploy linux applications as virtual appliances, we’re serving different roles in different markets. rPath makes the toolset to allow software vendors to transform their apps into appliances- they don’t actually build appliances. JumpBox developed its own toolset but doesn’t sell it- we build appliances. rPath is focused fairly exclusively on the enterprise space while we’re tackling small/medium business - each has an entirely different set of problems to solve. Which segways to the third takeaway…
  3. Distraction. The topics that were primarily discussed in my tracks were focused around the enterprise bag of challenges. This is understandable since rPath was the event host but from our perspective these concerns are secondary to improving usability and awareness of virtual appliances. Issues like backups in an enterprise setting, broadcasting resource requirements and doing dynamic resource allocation for the appliances: while these concerns are important in the enterprise setting, they’re moot points for us until wide-spread use. Our focus right now is on building awareness, building out the library of apps and solving issues to improve the adoption of VA’s for small/med business.

The second day the group stayed together and we heard summaries of the previous day’s discussions and an analyst from IDC explain why he thought the VA market is going to boom over the next few years. None of the charts or research he presented was public at this point but expect to see some compelling statistics come from the analyst world soon. The presenter that did the final talk of the day was from the grid computing group and while they were extremely nice people, we thought their presence derailed a lot of the discussion. Using VA’s for a grid computing scenario is interesting but such a specialized instance whose relevance is limited to academics and highly-niche industries, we thought it was a bit strange to close with this topic for a wrap-up.

All in all it was a great event with solid people in attendance and we were extremely priviledged to attend. rPath stepped it up and showed themself to be a leader in this space by gathering this group and fronting for all the food and materials. Great choice of venue, great food. We look forward to keeping in touch with the folks we met there.

-sean