The New Three-legged Enterprise Stool: Virtualization, the Cloud and Automation

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

Lessons Learned with Client Virtualization: Plan, Plan, and Plan

Poll results point to a need for increased upfront analysis, education and testing to enable businesses to take full advantage of client virtualization.

By now, most data centers have been virtualized. Perhaps not to the degree that some people had expected, but virtualized nonetheless.

And now that the recession seems to be trailing off, the question of the moment is: How well will those virtual environments be able to handle the kinds of data loads that accompany a growing economy?

The simple fact is, virtualized and cloud environments should be much more adept at coping with rising data loads than their silo-based data forerunners. But they can't do it alone. Along with the ability to scale resources up and down and shift loads across the room and around the globe comes the nightmare scenario of managing all of this dynamism.

That's why, if you're looking for the next big growth industry in enterprise circles, you should look no further than data and systems automation. Just about every research report on the automation market is flashing green lights. Technavio predicts strong growth in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as virtualization takes hold on the server, storage, client and application levels. And while security is still an issue, the broad adoption of cloud computing will only fuel the need for greater automation.

Virtualization and cloud may be the main drivers, according to Research and Markets, but the need for greater automation is also being fueled by things like increased legal and regulatory requirements, cost containment and improved energy efficiency. And let's not forget the incredible migration challenge that will accompany the major technology refresh coming your way now that budgets are set to rise, says SANpulse Technologies. Whether building an entirely new architecture or augmenting the old, automating the migration process is the best way to ensure a timely process and maintain business continuity.

It's also important to remember that the cloud is not the end result of increased automation, according to F5's Lori MacVittie. In fact, it's just the opposite. If you look at the major innovations that the cloud entails-elasticity, scalability, cost reduction-it becomes clear that the ultimate goal is a highly automated enterprise, what F5 calls the "dynamic infrastructure." The cloud is the means to achieve that goal, not the goal itself.

However you look at it, virtualization, the cloud and automation are emerging as the new three-legged stool of advanced data center architectures. Each one has the ability to dramatically improve data operations. Together they kick the data center up to the next generation.

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Mar 14, 2011 5:02 AM Katie McKinsey Katie McKinsey  says:

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