The Vacademy, a virtualisation education centre offering free virtualisation advice and which launched in May, is going global.

Run by consultancy VirtualizeIT, managing director Julian Box said that the response to the opening, first reported by Techworld, had been huge. "We got hundreds of registrations from all over the world, even Japan," he said.

As a result, he and partner Adam Ryan decided to take the concept global by setting up partner campuses. Now a separate company, Virtualisation Academy, will open six local partner campuses specialising in disciplines such as IBM virtualisation, storage, and Sun Microsystems. They'll be located in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Jersey to start with, in addition to the organisation's Northampton centre.

The plan is to institute up to 30 x86-based campus associates over the next two years, with 10 of them specialising in IBM virtualisation, five in Sun Microsystems, and six in training. The Vacademy will also be producing vendor-certified training courses in due course.

"We're now looking for like-minded partners in Europe and beyond," said Box. "We plan to officially launch the new global operation at VMware's annual conference, VMWorld, on 1 November."

More campuses will be added over time depending on demand, with the aim of offering a standard set of independent advice and services from all locations.

Vendor interest has been considerable, according to Box. Those signed up as sponsors include Altiris, LeoStream, NeverFail, Platespin, Softricity, SWsoft, VirtualIron, VMware and XenSource. Box said the academy is also talking to Microsoft, which appears keen to participate, and that meetings are scheduled with AMD and Intel, who are also expected to climb on board.

Vendor independence is maintained, said Box, because the academy does not promote any particular technology, but instead shows how virtualisation works. Potential visitors complete a survey to give Vacademy's consultants a picture of the organisation's virtualisation needs and skills.

"After that," said Box, "we produce a VIFA - a virtualisation infrastructure feasibility assessment - to show people what virtualisation can do, and offer them a costed road map. If they join the academy, they can book any of 70-plus sessions - that number will grow by half a dozen annually - and they can book anyone in. It's not technical training, it's more about benefits. They can also plan and test real environments, including benchmarking, by bringing VMs with them."

The sessions cover server, application and storage virtualisation, although Box said server virtualisation is the hottest topic by far. However, he expects that balance to shift as the cost of storage virtualisation falls over time.

"By offering total impartiality, Vacademy will help customers make the right choice to address their critical virtualisation, disaster recovery, high availability and LAN/WAN tuning requirements," said Box.