PALO ALTO, Calif. -- VMware's sales people could give you a PowerPoint presentation and a whole lot of vivid descriptions of what their software can do for you, but why stop there? The VMware Express is going to come rumbling into a town near you sometime this year.
And "rumbling" is the word. VMware (NYSE: VMW) has decked out an 18-wheeler with a functioning datacenter inside, along with some demo stations and plenty of large, flat-panel LCD screens for videos.
The datacenter inside is a combination of EMC (NYSE: EMC) storage, Cisco's (NASDAQ: CSCO) Unified Computing System (UCS) blades, MDS, NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) and Xsigo hardware. There are 32 Cisco blades alone with 96GB of memory, enough to run 3,000 or more virtual machines if there was enough storage available, according to VMware officials.
The truck is taking part in a 150-city tour of the U.S. and Canada this year, and is designed to let customers see virtualization in action, particularly desktop virtualization. Server virtualization has been around a while and is easier to grasp, but desktop virtualization is a different process altogether.
"People want to see how it's used. There are a number of ways it can be used, so what better way to show it than to take it on the road," Julie Eads, senior director of Americas marketing for VMware, told InternetNews.com. "The desktop is important. People want to see desktop over IP."
One of the demo stations is for VMware View, a purpose-built solution for delivering desktops as a managed service. Most thin-client desktops are little more than terminals that connect to a server, but VMware View lets the client use a PC or Mac laptop and see all of the files and applications regardless of whether they connect to the company network in the office or outside of work.
Customers can also see vSphere and VMware vCenter Server, the virtualization management platform, along with the rest of the VMware vCenter family of products.
That's another reason for the demo stations: they gives customers the end-to-end view of everything VMware serves, not just the server part that people are most familiar with.
VMware is not the only vendor demoing its products in this rolling trailer. AMD, EMC, Cisco, Dell, MDS Micro, NetApp and Xsigo are also on board, as their products are also featured in the demos. Tour dates can be found here.