The future of computing is upon us, delegates heard at the VMware ROI Executive Forum in Johannesburg.

Ubiquitous computing is fast becoming a reality, enabled by cloud computing and the creation of vast ecosystems of co-creativity. The enterprise virtualisation journey is moving to virtualised storage and networking, in turn leading to the truly software-defined datacentre. And there’s no stopping the mobile workforce.

This emerged at the VMware ROI Executive Forum, staged in partnership with ITWeb at Melrose Arch.

IT entrepreneur said the Internet is rapidly evolving into a sensory membrane of ubiquitous real-time federated subsystems (smurfs) that delivers rich services and applications. Now, he said, business success does not depend on being big. “Now, it’s about collaboration; building platforms for ecosystems of co-creativity.”

Masie said technology was moving away from people, and becoming ubiquitous, much in the way electricity had initially been owned by the rich, but had eventually become a utility. “We are moving away from the burden of ownership to the benefits of access,” he said.

, VP for Northern EMEA at VMware, said VMware customers were moving to this ubiquitous computing approach.

He said VMware is seeing increasing interest from its customers in getting more from their existing virtual infrastructures, and were turning their attention to network and storage virtualisation. “The next stage in the journey is to help enterprises manage this environment, and inevitably, it leads to automation of the environment,” he said.

The cloud journey will also be accelerated with the launch of the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, set to be introduced in Africa in the first half of next year, says Piercy. The service is expected to lower the barrier to entry, overcoming cost, compliance and operational concerns. “We are forecasting a potentially bigger market in Africa than in traditional markets,” he said, “possibly because many enterprises plan to leapfrog directly into the cloud.

, regional manager – Africa at VMware, noted that changing just the compute component from a hardware to a soft state model was saving VMware customers over $10 billion. Extending this up the stack allowed for even more significant savings, he noted.

But the benefits extend beyond cost savings. “The software defined data centre where IT is delivered as a service will accelerate time to market, time to innovation and time to revenue,” he pointed out.