After spending some time at VMware VFORUM yesterday it left quite an impression. I’ve not seen this kind of market unanimity since years 1999-2000 and the market wide race to beat the clock with Y2K and launch every business onto the internet, hell or high water. It was awesome. Companies were spending money like drunken sailors on the west coast US, especially in tech-hubs like the bay area or Seattle.
Now were racing against a similar pressure clock to cloud enable anything with a bit and a silicon soul. It’s quite exciting to see VMware, with a leading market position in enterprise virtualisation, rally practically every hardware/software vendor, consultancy, and techie/VCP into a common charge.
Amazingly, the Australian market is seemingly saturated with companies proporting ‘We know cloud’ when arguably there are no truly elastic cloud players operating in region. (I’m intentionally not counting platform as a service or virtualisation with a wrapper as cloud. Just because you’re billing as OPEX doesn’t make it elastic!)
But the race is on in spite of the facts:
- No one really has a firm grasp of the market opportunity
- The payback potential for consumers is undeniably large
- The actual definition of cloud is still contested (mainly because everyone spins it against their existing capability, whatever that happens to be)
- True cloud providers don’t exactly publish their P&L’s or provide forecasts inclusive of actual risk
- Therefore the risks and actual payback for providers is yet to be proven
But in the end, I’m happy to be back in the land of tech-hype and excitement. For a lot of us, it’s why we’re in the game, because it tends to shift and change a lot. It’s just like 1999 Seattle VC days when ideas were rich and bottom line was not a topic of popular discourse. And we’re collectively chasing a concept, some of which is real and some of which is fantasy.
Some of the fantasy will come true. This reminds me of a young entrepreneur who told me in 1999 about how virtual economies will be a legitimate business, and her’s would provide a ‘virtual pony’ for little kids to mind. Beyond my rude beer choking reaction, we now have Farmville and a 2B virtual market economy. At any rate, it’s good to see some excitement back in the industry after a couple dull GFC years.