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Not So Secret Change Agents

While surfing around some of my favorite blogs, I came across the latest effort from Amy Newman, managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet, and a very bright virtualization mind.

Amy's Dec. 16 blog is entitled "5 Ways Virtualization Will Change in 2010," and she starts by forecasting that virtualization will move downmarket and become more "grizzled."

Basing her premise on recent studies from Gartner and IDC claiming the virtualization adoption rate slowed during 2009, she maintains that despite those down numbers, SMBs are virtualizing faster than ever before -- to which I would add, "You're darned right they are because they tend to bite off relatively huge hunks of virtualization at once as opposed to adding it incrementally like the big guys." Amy also notes that the upside of this SMB growth is the increased availability of "solutions that are simple to deploy and manage aimed at SMBs." Microsoft and Hyper-V await with open arms. (Maybe that's the grizzly part.)

Predicting that the hypervisor landscape will change on two fronts, she mentions the continuing growth of commoditization, claims Microsoft will up the ante against VMware in the new year, and asserts that prices will be slashed again, following the trend of 2009. While it's true as she says that nobody has yet been able to dethrone VMware, you've got to believe that they are eventually going to start coming back to the market the way golfers who build big leads are eventually overhauled by the competition. VMware will stay on top of the server heap, but Citrix, for one, seems more interested in attacking them at the desktop, where they have developed some pretty serious chops.

Amy cites management tools as another agent of change, and based on the onslaught of press releases I'm seeing, I would have to agree. With many of these tools in hand, users will be able to map their virtual infrastructures, visually monitor their virtual machines, and then track them as they live-migrate from one physical server to another.

Moving on to security, she notes that there's plenty of room for improvement, even though a major virtualization-based breach has yet to occur. "With cloud deployments on the increase, expect this to change," Amy asserts. "Depending on the severity of the breach, it will likely impact the public cloud's future in the enterprise."

I don't know about that. Everyone knows that some day there will be a negative event of this type that will garner a lot of headlines, but I don't see it having a significant dampening effect on the overall public cloud market. There is just too much anticipation, and above all else, too many vendor dollars on the line, for this bandwagon to lose its wheels.

Lastly, Amy prognosticates, "Enterprises will take a closer look at the business impact of virtualization." What she's saying is that to this point, enterprises have been far more concerned with virtualization technology than its potential benefits to the business bottom line. Which is always the way it goes with hot, sexy, disruptive technologies. Continuing, she says there will be a growing interest in business benefits as virtualization migrates out of datacenters and into smaller divisions and departments.

Giving accounting as an example, she says employees in that department are not concerned about the location of the general ledger, as long as it's accessible to them. If it's not, or access is too slow, hackles will rise. Emotions will also heat up if LOBs feel they are being charged unfairly for server resource consumption. So what to do? While the cost of buying a new server and charging internal customers for its usage is relatively easy, things get dicey when multiple departments are consuming various amounts of CPU cycles from the same server.

"Such issues will come into play, and will need to be figured out as more enterprises virtualize more of their infrastructure," Amy concludes.

It's enough to make you want to resume talking about technology.

QUESTION: Who should control virtualization? Please e-mail me at bhoard@1105media.com or leave a comment below.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/17/2009 at 12:48 PM


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