Contributed Article By Andi Mann, VP of Virtualization product marketing, CA Technologies
7-11: 7 Virtualization Predictions for 2011
Predicting the future is a mug's game. When I was an industry analyst, I tried to stay away from it as much as I could. However, now I am in product marketing, I must always be looking ahead, so I can work with the product managers and engineers at CA Technologies to deliver leading-edge products and features, and stay ahead of our competitors.
Therefore, despite my better instincts, I am already looking at what 2011 will hold for virtualization and cloud management. Let me share some of my ideas with you:
1. "Virtual Stall" will continue to be a major challenge for the majority of organizations: ‘Virtual stall' - aka ‘VM Stall' (i.e. the tendency for virtualization deployments to slow or stop as they get larger and more complex) has been a very real issue in 2010. I do think the pace of virtualization deployments will pick up in 2011, and the average level of virtualization will expand beyond the 30% most organizations are at today. However, while better virtualization management - of capacity, automation, performance, security, and configuration - will help well-run IT shops get over the hump, I will be surprised if more than 50% of workloads, on average, are running in virtual servers by the end of 2011.
2. Automation will be the hottest topic in virtualization: Most CIOs are still working with budgets that remain flat, or are even down. Meanwhile virtualization deployments require more skills, more people, faster cycle times, and fewer errors to overcome virtual stall and be successful. Automation is the only way to deal with this conflict, accelerate virtualization, and build an efficient, cost-effective, dynamic data center. It is also essential to cloud computing. The momentum behind virtual infrastructure automation, and virtual service automation, will therefore continue to gather steam - and deliver results - throughout 2011. It may even overshadow virtualization itself as one of the hottest topics in IT.
3. Virtualization will become much more heterogeneous: As virtualization adoption accelerates among SMB and small enterprises, and as larger enterprises review the costs of their VMware ELAs, alternatives including Microsoft, Citrix, and even Oracle will gain traction across the board. Meanwhile, Citrix and Microsoft will build on their desktop leadership, Solaris Containers and AIX LPARs will not go away, and Red Hat KVM will grow in (or perhaps beyond) niche use cases. 2011 will also see the mainframe become a greater force in virtualization. All of this will drive an even stronger need for integrated, heterogeneous management that crosses platform and hypervisor boundaries - especially once organizations start looking seriously at workload mobility and hybrid cloud.
4. 2011 will not be the year that endpoint virtualization finally ‘breaks through': A half dozen ‘next big things' (including Windows 7, BYOPC, millennials, Office 2010, collaboration, mobile devices, and the economic recovery) are supposed to cause demand for desktop virtualization to explode in 2011. However, while there will be an acceleration of large, production, and mission-critical desktop and application virtualization deployments, 2011 will not see the exponential growth in desktop virtualization that many expect. It will certainly not parallel the path of server virtualization - at least not yet. Widespread adoption will continue to be the exception, rather than the rule, substantially due to the high up-front costs, but also a lack of highly compelling mainstream drivers, and the limited availability of integrated, end-to-end, enterprise-grade management, especially for heterogeneous deployments.
5. Private cloud will be the #1 ‘management by magazine' topic: Senior execs will see so much positive hype about cloud - mostly from vendors, but also from business press - that they will demand IT pull the trigger on private cloud projects in 2011, whether they are ready or not. There will be some successful implementations; however, most will really just be virtualization efficiency projects, without the service automation and service management interfaces necessary for a ‘true' private cloud. Sadly, many private cloud projects will be unable to achieve these (unreasonably high) executive expectations. A lack of good management solutions - especially integrated service automation, process compliance, and service management - will be just one of many significant showstoppers.
6. The acquisition of niche tools by large vendors will increase: This is a no-brainer from where I sit. Much of the innovation in managing virtualization (and more recently cloud) has come from smaller niche vendors. Unfortunately, some have already failed as they paid the price for risky or unsuccessful innovation, but many have proven the value of their innovation and flourished. 2011 will see larger vendors increasingly want a piece of this innovation as they play catch-up and leapfrog with each other. This will drive a significant up-tick for acquisitions in the virtualization and cloud markets. For the top two or three vendors in each discipline, 2011 will offer great opportunities. However, for niche vendors left standing without an exit strategy, 2011 will be a troubling time, because ...
7. The failure of standalone niche virtualization tools will increase: As virtualization expands, automation drives broader deployments, heterogeneity increases, cross-silo management becomes critical, and vendors consolidate, IT organizations will increasingly find that niche vendors cannot continue to be effective. Moreover, as larger vendors bolster their new acquisitions with sizable development and marketing budgets, many niche vendors will be unable to compete with what were previously equivalent small vendors. In the face of these pressures, 2011 will see an increasing number of smaller vendors try to reinvent themselves, or try to access adjacent markets. Very few will successfully cross the chasm. In 2011 and beyond, niche vendors that cannot devote substantial resources to developing and marketing the new mainstream of broad, integrated, service-driven enterprise management, will increasingly falter or fail - or get picked up by larger vendors for pennies on the dollar.
So, that is what is in my crystal ball for 2011 - but really, who knows? It is an exciting time in virtualization and cloud, and anything could happen!
p.s. For those of you (re-)reading this in December 2011 (the Internet never forgets!), give me a shout and let me know how I did! :)
About the Author
Andi Mann is vice president of virtualization product marketing for CA Technologies. Andi has more than 20 years of IT experience across four continents, and a deep knowledge of enterprise software on mainframe, midrange, server and desktop systems. Andi has worked within the IT departments of global corporations, with enterprise software vendors, and as a leading industry analyst who literally wrote the definition of virtualization. Andi has been published in the New York Times, USA Today, CIO, Network World, TechTarget, and more, and has presented at around the world on virtualization, cloud computing, automation, and IT management.