Valovic on Virtualization

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How Many Definitions for Server Virtualization?

I kind of like IBM's clever marketing idea. An ad click parlayed off the theme of defining server virtualization takes you to a special-purpose Web site, sponsored by both IBM and Intel. The site is a kind of workspace to share definitions of server virtualization and even allows you to draw a diagram using a software program called Whiteboard.

So here's how it works. You create your definition. Then site visitors get to vote on each one. Each contributor's definition is shown along with the total number of votes. Right now there are 22 definitions posted (although some half-hearted efforts represented, to be sure.) In addition, you can click on links to "most recent," "most discussed" or most votes.

Here's the one that, when I checked at least, had the most votes:

There's no question, virtualization has matured nicely over the past few years. Recently, with data center battle-tested products like VMware, it has become a key enabling technology for an even broader scope of markets. For the data center and enterprise, the benefits of virtualization are numerous and obvious. The need for high availability platforms that scale on demand has paved the way for larger, application-aware and multiple OS capable architectures. In addition, server consolidation to provide efficiencies in power consumption, maintenance and other overhead costs, has become critical. There are lots of other areas where virtualization reduces costs and provides efficiencies, including cooling, application/OS testing and associated man hours, as well as reduced backup, security and OS software licensing fees. For many in the enterprise, virtualization is a virtual no-brainer. In fact, many current business models in IT wouldn't even exist without virtualization today.

On the other end of the spectrum, the mainstream consumer or small business has been living in a "maintain and upgrade every 2-3 years" paradigm for a very long time for their generalized computing requirements. It has been only recently that the average consumer end-user has seen the benefits of virtualization technology but they are becoming more apparent here as well. Though perhaps it's not the be-all, end-all of general computing, virtualization has shown its merits to an ever-increasing base of end-user types. Though some may claim that cloud computing and virtualization are different, there are many commonalities between what the enterprise and data center markets call virtualization and what end users have at their disposal now for online application, backup, and synching services. From MobileMe to Amazon's EC2, virtualization has now officially gone mainstream and there's no end in sight with its numerous application potential and extremely low cost model. Though the computing enthusiast or gadget freak may not be comfortable with a reality where all of their processing and storage resources are handled virtually, let's face it, the mainstream end user simply doesn't have much use for all that hardware.

A few years from now, many end users will be comfortable with a simple netbook or a thin client as their desktop and then the rest of all that technology will reside in the cloud. In short, from the data center to the enterprise and now the end user, virtualization is here to stay and it's not just for CIOs and Senior Technicians anymore.

Some interesting points there. Only one problem: It's not a definition!

Posted by Tom Valovic on 12/08/2008 at 12:49 PM


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