Virtualization Will Help Build the Cloud


Last fall, I touched on the notion that virtualization and cloud computing were two pieces of the same pie. Now it looks like quite a few others have hit on the same notion.

A recent survey of large IBM system users, a group known as SHARE, indicates that large majorities see cloud computing as the logical extension of virtualization. While consolidation and ease of management were initial goals for virtual technology, using it as a base to establish cloud services looks to be the trend for the coming year at least. For example, 77 percent of organizations that have embarked on cloud services have already deployed storage virtualization, while more than half have taken up network virtualization and application virtualization.

The two technologies are intertwining on the trade show floor as well. The recent Parallel's Summit 2009 in Las Vegas was heavy on virtualization, cloud computing and service-based application delivery. Organizations like ISV Cloudmark are rapidly moving into services like cloud-based e-mail security using a mix of technologies.

And we are starting to see some interesting vendor convergences as well. Microsoft and EMC recently re-enforced a three-year alliance initially aimed at simple product integration but now shifting focus toward the cloud. Look for some new connections between EMC storage platforms and Microsoft platforms like SQL and Sharepoint that can easily operate both in the cloud and in traditional data center environments.

Despite all the talk over the past year or so, the cloud is still an extremely new phenomenon, so it could take several years for all of this to play out. In the meantime, virtualization still does wonders for your power consumption, your capital budget and your overall data center efficiency, even while it lays the groundwork for whatever the future may hold.