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Virtualization - Hyped in 2011, Still Won't be the Enterprise Cure-All in 2012
Article by Justin Strong, Senior Global Product Marketing Manager, Novell
Virtualization, specifically client virtualization and VDI infrastructures, was one of, if not the most hyped technology of 2011. While Gartner has predicted that virtualization will be the highest-impact trend in the infrastructure and operations market through 2012, the reality is setting in that virtualization is simply just one more tool to help IT, but is by no means the cure-all to enterprise issues.
The idea behind the hype was that if you virtualize client management, enterprises can centralize both management of devices and hardware to reduce costs while increasing performance and up-time. The theory went that by
reducing client hardware-either through slower refresh cycles or lower-performance thin-clients - cost-savings would increase and the centralization of servers would provide easier management. However, in a recent survey,
60 percent of respondents said they were disappointed in the cost-savings of virtualization for the enterprise. In some cases, virtualization is more expensive as users pay more for the server infrastructure in addition to the client hardware. The results of the survey also showed a correlation to automation and concluded that the benefits of enterprise virtualization will not be fully realized until there is IT automation. The efficiency story for virtualization has not evolved into the "savior of endpoint management" that it was scripted to become.
Despite some of virtualization's shortcomings, benefits of the technology can still be realized. For example, used in a call center setting that has old hardware that is infrequently updated, virtualization ensures a seamless user experience across a large user base without the need to upgrade hardware as often. However, virtualization doesn't make sense for a huge portion of the IT landscape. It's just another tool at IT's disposal to deliver the right services to the right people at an optimal price. In other words, it's like aspirin - great for headaches, but it doesn't fix a broken leg.
Another reason client virtualization failed to live up to the hype was due largely to a new trend: the consumerization of IT. Over the past year, the consumerizaion of IT has become one of the largest issues facing the enterprise. In 2012, we are going to see the consumerization of IT and Mobile Device Management come to the forefront. Ten years ago, IT ruled with an iron fist. They told employees what devices to use, which applications they would have and what updates they had to make. Now, with the consumerization of IT, the masses dictate to IT what will be used in the enterprise for devices and even programs. The consumerization of IT has flipped the paradigm and employees are now telling IT how they will work and what tools they will use. For example, employees bring their personal devices into the enterprise but instead of using Microsoft Word, the user prefers Apple Pages and it is now the IT department's job to find a way to meet employee demand while maintaining an efficient work environment.
While 2011 held the promise of wide spread virtualization deployments, 2012 is set to see the consumerization of IT impact the enterprise in a big way. MDM is rising to the forefront as a toolset because it begins the process of managing the mobile workforce, where virtualization falls flat. But don't count virtualization out. MDM and virtualization will have a deeply intertwined connection that is continuing to develop. It will not be about the efficiency that desktop virtualization was, but it will be about delivering the maximum service level through whatever device an employee wants to use.