It's official. There's about a zillion blog postings and news articles coming out about the next generation of ESX.
In watching the press conference yesterday the one thing that really hit me is that this is the next game changer. Cloud computing has been stuck for years in lock-in approaches. Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure are development environments that you really need to develop to for your apps to work. The designs and setup have to be extremely customized to function. This is the main reason cloud computing hasn't taken off full scale. No cross vendor solutions. No ability to take my application out of the box deploy to the cloud system and it just works. No way for me to honestly develop in house and then move it easily to the cloud.
vSphere 4 (or Cloud Infrastructure) is the first Cloud Computing solution that I have seen that doesn't lock you into a specific vendor. I can run Microsoft Azure on top of vSphere 4 (woah!). It can run on my infrastructure of commodity parts (yeah.. that white box I have can be a cloud computing solution). I can set it up, test it, run it in my basement, then deploy it up to a cloud provider with more bang and power than I have. I can develop on linux, suse, freebsd, windows, or solaris and have the whole thing packaged up as a deliverable tool. No middleman. This is a powerful concept. This is the game changer.
The reason Microsoft OSes took off in the early '90s is they were simply the easiest and most accessible development environment out there. Today Linux/Java/Web is taking most of that development energy by storm. It costs me nothing to develop solutions on those products. If I can setup a development environment of my own without having to pay some thousands of dollars just to get started with the tools, I can make the next facebook/twitter/ebay. I don't have to be a corporation to develop a solution.
VMware gets that and Paul Maritz was a key component of that understanding at Microsoft. Welcome to the next great thing.