Take Five With Tom Fenton

Virtualization Headlines of 2008

These events helped shape the virtualization landscape in the past year.

The year 2008 was the most important ever for virtualization. Uptake among companies got serious and virtualization moved from fringe technology to mainstream, must-have functionality. Although still a relatively small slice of the IT pie (latest figures put server virtualization at about 12 percent), it's clear that virtualization is here to stay. One piece of evidence of that is that virtualization made more news than ever. Here are the top stories from the past year.

Take 1
VMware's Diane Greene out, Paul Maritz in. July 8 was a watershed day for the industry, as VMware CEO Greene left, and was immediately replaced with former top Microsoft executive Maritz. The circumstances surrounding Greene's ouster were sketchy, but it's become clear in the aftermath that she was fired. Taking her place, Maritz moved aggressively to sharpen VMware's message and refocus efforts into the realms of cloud computing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Take 2
Microsoft releases Hyper-V. VMware's chief competitor stayed ahead of schedule with Hyper-V, its base hypervisor, and made it free for the masses. It was one of a number of important announcements out of Redmond. Others include the late October release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and the release of Hyper-V Server, the stand-alone version of Hyper-V that doesn't require Windows Server 2008. Releasing Hyper-V has had a major ripple effect on the industry, forcing VMware to make ESXi, its own base hypervisor, free -- giving customers more choices.

Take 3
Citrix announces Project Kensho. Though it flew under the radar in the mainstream tech media, Project Kensho could have far-reaching repercussions. Kensho is an open-standards effort that will allow portability of virtual machines from one virtual platform to another. It uses the open source Open Virtualization Format to provide interoperability among hypervisors. So, if you're an independent software vendor, all you need to do is create your virtual appliance once. Kensho will work on platforms like VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Virtual Iron, Red Hat, Novell and others. Kensho is key to helping speed the adoption and acceptance of virtualization.

Take 4
VMworld breaks attendance records. September's VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas was bigger than probably even VMware dared to hope. There were about 14,000 attendees and 215 sponsors and exhibitors, according to the company. Compare that with about 1,500 attendees at the first VMworld five years ago, and it shows the growth of interest in virtualization.

The conference also showcased VMware's strategy for the new Virtual Datacenter Operating System (VDC-OS), vClient and vCloud and became Paul Maritz' introduction to the community. It's not an overstatement to say that this was the most important virtualization event in the young industry's history.

Take 5
The growth of virtualization beyond server consolidation. The term "virtualization" still conjures up images of cramming 10 servers onto one physical box, but that perception is beginning to broaden. Numerous stories throughout the year revealed the burgeoning interest in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, cloud computing, network virtualization (witness Cisco's first-ever virtual switch) and other new uses for virtualization.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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