I saw this session in person, it was good. I don’t need convincing of the benefits that the software/virtual appliance model brings: I think the benefits exist for many scenarios and they most all stem from the presence of a strict separation of complexity concerns (not a reduction in overall complexity of software). But hearing what the panelists had to say about deployment scenarios and challenges in the commercial software business world was good for me.
I liked the idea of using a VM deployed at a customer’s site to be a sort of customer facing front-end in a SaaS model — a hybrid of over-the-WAN “on-demand” and “on-premise”. This session also moved me to evaluate Zimbra which looks pretty helpful for replacing some mail/collaboration daemons I run (though moving to their clients full time and abandoning Sylpheed/Claws seems unlikely).