Take Five With Tom Fenton

Predictions for 2009

The past year was huge for virtualization. What will the new year bring?

There's no doubt that 2008 was the year virtualization broke through. Server consolidation went mainstream; Microsoft released Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager; Citrix Systems Inc. released XenServer; VMware Inc. made ESXi free, and, with it, the hypervisor was commoditized.

Now that virtualization is off the launching pad and heading into orbit, what does 2009 hold? We've asked five experts for their opinions. Here's what they saw in their crystal balls.

Take 1
Schley Andrew Kutz, blogger and developer of plug-ins for VMware: "VMware and other virtualization vendors need to work harder to integrate with companies like Oracle, who, instead of adopting an existing vendor solution, opted to create its own virtualization layer with Xen. My prediction for 2009 is that we'll start to hear rumors of a possible acquisition of VMware. Whether that's Intel, Cisco, Oracle or even a long shot like Microsoft, it's clear to me that even though VMware is doing wonderfully right now, the bubble may be about to burst."

Take 2
Chris Wolf, Virtualization Review columnist and Burton Group analyst: "2009 will mark the time that organizations begin to seriously look at tools that help them manage what's becoming a complex, service-oriented virtualized infrastructure. Treating the internal infrastructure as a private cloud is great for users and apps, but presents new challenges for IT staff. When application or performance problems arise, IT staff must troubleshoot through multiple layers of abstraction: server virtualization, storage virtualization and I/O virtualization. To effectively isolate and resolve problems-and to prove compliance-tools that penetrate the cloud's vapor and are capable of fully visualizing the data path will soon be assumed parts of virtual infrastructure management."

Take 3
Alessandro Pirilli, founder of Virtualization.info: "I think that in the second half of 2009 there will be a boost in sales of so-called 'VM [virtual machine] lifecycle management' and 'configuration management' products, with a high chance of seeing some acquisitions in this space. In 2009 I also expect a change in Citrix's strategy. The company is still warming up after the acquisition of XenSource, and its opportunity to sell virtualization is mostly untapped. Citrix may take more aggressive steps to counter VMware in the enterprise segment, heavily investing in new products, acquisitions and channel development. I wouldn't be surprised if the company revamps its product portfolio in a significant way."

Take 4
Dan Kusnetzky, virtualization analyst for Kusnetzky Group LLC and ZDNet blogger: "Management, orchestration and automation are going to be major points of focus for suppliers of virtualization technology in the coming year. The technology suppliers know that virtual resources are only of marginal use if they can't be found and managed, support the organization's policies, meet service-level requirements and allow the organization to comply with regulations."

Take 5
Rachel Chalmers, virtualization analyst for The 451 Group: "Once virtualization is inside an organization, people create lots and lots of VMs because they can. Without automation, these second-wave effects are impossible to achieve. Indeed, it's the combination of virtualization with automation that creates this second wave. Going further, this combination of virtualization with VM-aware automation is an essential building block of cloud computing, or IT infrastructure as a service. In the future, organizations will need both virtualization and automation to create their private clouds."

What do you foresee for 2009? E-mail me at [email protected].

About the Author

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