Consolidation Still Rules Virtual Strategies

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

Top 10 Benefits of Virtualization

Virtualization has taken a firm hold at most enterprises these days, but the fact is we've only just begun to unleash the true potential of the technology.

With all the talk about cloud architectures, network convergence and dynamic data infrastructures, it is easy to forget that the basic element fueling all of these developments is virtualization. But even though the virtual layer is fairly ubiquitous throughout the enterprise, the primary driver of its deployment remains plain, old server consolidation.

According to IDC, nearly 40 percent of CIOs identify virtualization and consolidation as their top priority for the coming year. This is a testament to the fact that when it comes to weighing short-term benefits against long-term possibilities, the short-term almost always wins out. It also indicates that there is still a lot of underutilization on the server side while networking and storage systems are not so overloaded with virtual machines as some would have us believe.

The odd thing, though, is that while enterprises, particularly the large ones, are still keen on streamlining existing infrastructure, they are also bent on building out additional resources to accommodate Big Data and cloud environments. Infonetics reports that large enterprises, cable operators and carriers are in a rush to add new data centers to their networks, both as a means to enhance operations and to draw revenue from cloud services. A key finding is the fact that through virtualization and network convergence, top organizations hope to improve service sustainability by shifting applications and workloads across multiple data centers.

Virtualization and network convergence, it seems, will be the chocolate and peanut butter of the data center for some time to come. As TechNewsWorld's Ariel Cohen points out, virtual environments are only marginally effective as long as the network is mired in server-to-desktop traffic patterns. These days, server-to-server and server-to-storage links are just as vital, which means not only is the old Spanning Tree architecture obsolete but most of the earlier VLAN iterations are as well. Unified fabrics that can be configured and reconfigured at a moment's notice can avoid many of today's I/O choke points will be the order of the day.

It's almost comical to think of virtualization as an aging technology that nonetheless has a lot to offer the enterprise. It wasn't too long ago that top vendor strategies revolved around who would control the virtual layer and thus emerge as the new Microsoft.

But the fact is that an integrated, dynamic and cloud-ready data center will need a robust virtual infrastructure in order to meet both the capability and efficiency demands of the coming decade. It may not be glamorous anymore, but it's still necessary to get the job done.

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