A New Era of Virtualization

Michael Vizard

Like all great changes, the history of virtualization will be broken up into eras. Right now, we're at the tail end of the first era of virtualization, which has been marked by its almost singular focus on increasing the utilization rates of servers and storage.

But from here we can also see the beginning of the next era of virtualization, which will be marked by an increased focus on providing more IT agility through the deployment of a range of intelligent virtualization technologies.

We can already see some of these technologies in action in the form of V-Motion and V-App software from VMware that allows virtual machines and application workloads to move around the network based on the requirements of the business. A key enabling technology for this is the virtual switch technology that Cisco has developed for use with VMware.

Soon there will be multiple virtual switch implementations from a variety of networking vendors. There's even an open source implementation of a virtual switch developed by Citrix that could become an industry standard. At the same time, networking vendors such as Juniper Networks are working with server vendors such as IBM to put build more intelligence about the state of virtual machines and the applications that run on them into the network, thereby making it easier for the characteristics of the network to change as these virtual machines and application workloads dynamically shift around the network.

We're also soon going to hypervisor implementations on a range of mobile computing devices, which will give these devices the intelligence they need to discover and track of all the changes taking place across the virtual network every time they reconnect.

Obviously, a new era of dynamic virtualization has the potential to introduce a lot of complexity and volatility. The vendor community as a whole is in a race to become the first to tame the complexity of virtualization as part of a general effort to reinvent enterprise computing. The good news is that most of them will roughly get there about the same time. The really good news is that once that happens, IT organizations will have enough of control over their IT infrastructure to finally turn on a dime every time the business needs it.

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Nov 24, 2009 4:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Mike is correct. Virtualization of the low-hanging fruit to achieve higher server utiliztion is now mostly implemented in larger enterprise. The next era will be characterized by virtualizing mission-critical applications based on Oracle, SAP, and DB2 and more use of dynamic tools like vMotion. The key to success on these projects will be the tools to monitor and manage these complex, dynamic, I/O-intensive environments. Users should look into virtual infrastructure optimization (VIO) tools from companies such as Virtual Instruments (www.virtualinstruments.com) before they embark on such projects. Having complete visibility into transaction flows across this virtualized environment will be essential to ensuring acceptable application performance and high utilization rates. Reply

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