When I was young, every summer we experienced the delights of the Radio 1 Roadshow hitting town. While grandly named, this comprised little more than a truck of audio equipment, assorted sound techies and over-paid, egotistical DJs far too fond of their own voices.

Since then, the road-show concept has left me rather cold. But I find the number of virtualisation roadshows in the US an interesting development. VMware is currently rolling out its VMware Express across a variety of cities - following the path of Microsoft which has done something similar - with such a growing interest in virtualisation, where are newbies to the technology going to get to grips with the technology?

I do like the idea of a fully-featured test lab rolling in cities across the US but it seems that vendors are missing a trick here.VMware has published its intinerary yet but I wouldn't mind betting that it will be visiting many cities where there are plenty of opportunities for tech-savvy managers to get to their hands on the technology already. I like the idea that a truck could pitch up anywhere and let techies get down and dirty with vSphere.<

According to VMware in the UK, it's unlikely to happen here - the cost and the lack of parking counts against it - but I can't help thinking that VMware and other vendors are missing a trick here.  I'm amazed at how few vendors really use the power of modern-day communications to provide remote hands-on experience.I know that VMware (and most companies) provide 30-day samples of programs for trial purposes but they're not usually tied into support and education. Why not have the equivalent of the road-show but online - you set up the times and dedicate the same resources to it and provide the same level of support - but it's just a whole lot cheaper. To be fair to VMware, I think it's one of the better vendors for interaction with customers. The active community and the host of bloggers make sure of that.

But there's a wider point that's related to this and that's how little organisations make of online learning/training. It seems like every week I get an announcement in my mailbox about a new set of training sessions and people still go off to seminar rooms/labs as they've done for decades. In 2010, we should be exploring more ways to do this.

I know some universities and colleges have been experimenting with distance learning (VMware again has been enabling some of these) but there should be a lot more. There's a lot of talk about flexible/remote working but not so much about flexible/remote learning).

In the IT field, we should be more prepared to use IT itself. I've just heard of one guy, Paul Browning, who offers Cisco training remotely. Students using the How To Network service can access routers remotely and receive remote guidance. It's an excellent concept and, as someone who'd attended one of Browning's courses, know that the tuition will be spot on.<

The big need in the future is going to be virtualisation skills and the company that can provide remote training and hands-on experience will be on to a winner - and no big truck needed.



Follow Maxwell on Twitter @maxcooter