Now that the virtues of virtualization are being proven in real-world situations, the rush is on among long-time enterprise vendors to buy, or at least trade, their way into the action.
Witness Cisco's recent investment in VMware, to the tune of $150 million, a move likely to deliver the latest in consolidation and virtualization technologies as Cisco rolls out its Datacenter 3.0 strategy over the next two years. And this is barely a month after Intel dropped a cool $218.5 million into VMware.
Then there was HP's $214 million acquisition of Neoware, a specialist in virtual thin-client technology, earlier this year. The deal brought Neoware's Linux-based solutions into HP's blade PC, workstation and virtual desktop infrastructure, based on Windows CE or XPe. The group will operate under the Business Desktop Unit of HP's Personal Systems Group.
The software crowd, led by none other than Microsoft, is eager to get in on the action too. According to InformationWeek, the company recently forged a new partnership with XenSource to allow the Xen platform to launch, of all things, Linux virtual machines under the Longhorn server. For its part, XenSource will soon provide a roadmap of Linux and Windows products, although probably not virtual machine deployment or management systems. And Microsoft looks set to build support for Xen into its next hypervisor.
All of this activity is bound to produce a new wave of server consolidation and virtual storage and PC solutions. But according to this piece in Virtual Strategy, over-reliance on virtual technology could make the enterprise less resilient in the event of a disaster. Not only are remaining physical servers even more critical due to the presence of numerous partitions, but the ability to get systems back online is hampered by increasingly complex management and allocation environments. One thing that leading virtualization vendors should set their sights on is a ready-made virtual disaster recovery infrastructure.
Time and again, we've heard predictions of this or that technology taking over the world. The funny thing about virtualization is that while few people envisioned a major impact when it was first introduced, it's clear now that it's likely to breach just about every major area of the enterprise.