Valovic on Virtualization

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Virtualization With Anchovies

Recently the domain name Pizza.com was sold at auction for $2.6 million. An enterprising gent named Chris Clark bought the domain name in the early 90's for $20. That means an appreciation of...well never mind. But I'll tell you a secret: that could have been me.

Think I'm kidding? In the early 90's I was an editor at Telecommunications magazine. One Sunday afternoon, Brian Kahin over at Harvard sent me an e-mail saying that the Internet was about to be commercialized. That's nice, I thought while yawning. But that set up a flurry of emails with Vint Cerf who was on our editorial advisory board. After a few days of digesting Vint's and Brian's comments, I realized I had tiger by the tail and possbily one of the biggest scoops of the decade.

The rest is history of sorts. We were indeed the first publication to break the story that there was going to be this Entity Called The Internet that everyone and their pizza delivery person would end up using (wow, awesome, holy cow etc). The New York Times picked it up 3 months after we broke the news. Looking back, it was one of those professional experiences you just never forget.

So what does all this have to do with pizza? Better yet, what does it have to do with virtualization? The point here is I got to watch this trend from the git-go and had the inside track on watching the Internet and its markets develop from ground zero. Long story short, if I wasn't off chasing the next trend, I might have ended up buying up domain names or exploring some other angle. Alas, the lure of the next emerging tech trend was just too great.

After the magazine, I joined IDC where I was an analyst for nine years specializing in -- what else? -- emerging markets. Trends are to analysts what petri dishes are to microbiologists and code is to software developers. After a doing this for a while you get a somewhat intuitive sense about how new markets form and the complex inter-relationships between vendor push, end user pull, and of course the hype curve that rides between them.

When I look at virtualization in its current incarnation, I see a technology that's been around for a while and poised to make the jump from incubation to operational reality. Stated in terms of the Gartner hype curve (or whatever they're calling it these days), virtualization seems to be positioned somewhere between the "Technology Trigger" and the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" demarcs. (Tell me if you agree or disagree). But what really intrigues me about this technology is how it impacts and informs so many of the macro-level trends associated with IT transformation and next-generation data centers: Green IT, recentralization of computing resources, SaaS and DaaS (Desktops as a Service), and the automation of IT workflows just to mention a few. I'll be talking about how virtualization affects all of these issues in future blog entries. In the meantime, let me know which of them is on your radar screen.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 04/14/2008 at 12:49 PM


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