Virtualization and the Cloud


Virtualization and cloud computing are the two major trends sweeping the IT industry today. So it's surprising that few people are exploring how these two technologies will work together.


To be sure, virtualization and the cloud address different needs. Virtualization centers around improved hardware utilization and more efficient utilization of resources, while the cloud focuses on distributing resources across varied network infrastructures. But it's na�ve to think that deployment of one will not affect the other. And with virtualization already gaining a foothold in many enterprises, is there a way to guide that deployment so that it dovetails nicely with whatever cloud infrastructure may be headed your way?


Sadly, there's very little guidance out on the Web. But I did find some interesting nuggets that can at least serve to get the conversation started.


VMware's Mike DiPetrillo raises an interesting point when talking about the company's recent launch of the Mobile Virtualization Platform, which seeks to extend virtualization to mobile devices. He says that once an app is riding on top of a virtualization layer, you have the ability to extend that app all the way to the end device. Once the cloud is in place, any user should have access to any app from any device, presuming they're all running VMware, of course.


I also came across this interesting blog from Jeff Fisher of DeskTone, which specializes in Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions. If you are pondering the merits of desktop virtualization, you might want to take the next step and deploy a full cloud-based desktop infrastructure as well. He argues that the roadblocks to putting server workloads on the cloud (security, data migration) don't apply to the desktop because they are already so far removed from the actual data in most enterprises.


The combination of virtualization and cloud computing should do wonders for app development as well, according to Jake Sorofman at app virtualization firm rPath. Virtualization already separates the application from its underlying operating infrastructure, and now the cloud provides a flexible and scalable environment to deploy those apps across virtually any computing environment. The key will be to integrate virtual environments and the cloud into a smooth working environment, which is why rPath has just launched a set of professional services aimed at devising best practices for both technologies.


With development of both technologies moving ahead at a rapid pace, I suspect interest in getting them to work together will take center stage in the coming months. It's interesting to note that next week, Sys-Con will host its 4th International Virtualization Conference & Expo right alongside the 1st International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo in San Jose. If there's any time to start talking about virtualization and the cloud, that would be it.