What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011? Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed Article By Alan Arnold, CTO, Vision Solutions
When I think about the key challenges that face organisations that have deployed virtualisation going forward into 2011, there are three things that spring to mind.
1. Migration is still a problem
In the virtualisation world, migration is normally thought of as moving from physical to virtual servers (P2V). Traditional thinking was that once you had made the move, your problems were over. This just isn't true.
The rise of interest in Microsoft Hyper-V and cloud computing has meant that there are more potential requirements for migration than before. While individual tools exist for changing a physical machine over to a new virtual image, the need for organisations to move data or virtual machines between different hypervisors (V2V) or into the cloud (V2C) means that there will be more interest in this topic.
What will drive this interest is cost: taking a running machine down for migration costs both time and money. Stopping this from affecting business activities normally means carrying out tasks out of hours or closing down a service. This planned downtime can and should be avoided where possible.
Migrating to the cloud is one challenge, but in the future there will also be the prospect of avoiding lock-in. Organisations will not want to bet their future strategy on one cloud provider, so they will look for migration solutions that can cope with different cloud platforms as well.
2. Multiple hypervisors
The rise of Hyper-V, the popularity of open source and the continued dominance of VMware: in 2011, we'll see more organisations with multiple hypervisors running in their data centres. Whether it is due to mergers between companies, different departments making separate decisions on platforms or just plain cost, there will be different systems running within the one business.
From a management perspective, this may not be an issue, as each team may hold their own responsibilities. However, it throws a spanner in the works when it comes to disaster recovery planning: with multiple platforms in place, how can you protect the applications and workloads on top of them? Either you look at using separate tools, which increases cost and also runs the risk of gaps developing within the business continuity plan, or you look at consolidating your approach.
Secondly, it is uncommon for a company to have a single platform approach, as mainframes and other server architectures are still in use. 2011 will see more organisations look at how they can reduce the number of backup and continuity tools that they have to use to support all these different platforms, both to reduce the risk of lost data and also to cut costs.
3. Recovery is still a challenge
When you ask IT folks if they back up their data, the answer will always be yes. However, too often they are only thinking about the backup part of disaster recovery, and not about how to get their data back into a fit state. Looking at the R of DR, virtualisation still has some challenges to overcome.
While virtual machines can be more flexible than physical machines, there is still the obstacle of how to get the VM back to the company from its offsite location. Simply shipping a DVD or disk with VM images on does not solve this problem adequately. Secondly, availability of bandwidth also makes recovery more difficult.
The cloud provides a new platform for addressing these issues: moving virtual machines over to a hosting provider or cloud service offers a route to reduce the downtime involved in recovery. Running a workload in the cloud while repair work is carried out at the customer can keep users productive, for example. I expect more innovative uses of the cloud to come through in 2011 as the cloud matures
About the Author
Mark Alan Arnold, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Vision Solutions
Alan Arnold is the EVP and CTO for Vision Solutions and is responsible for the global technology services and support strategy for the business. Alan joined Vision in 2000, and since joining the company, he has served in a variety of positions including EVP of Technologies and President and Chief Operating Officer of worldwide operations.
Prior to joining Vision Solutions, Inc., Mr. Arnold was a senior technology executive in the management consulting practice of Ernst & Young LLC. Alan served as the firm's subject matter expert for IBM technology and e-commerce solutions, and was one of the founders and managers of the Ernst & Young Advanced Development Center (ADC).