Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017. Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed by Todd Scallan, VP of Product and Engineering, Axcient
3 Virtualization Predictions for 2017
In 2016, we saw virtualization continue its march toward ubiquity, as evidenced by such events as the partnership between two industry giants, VMware and Amazon Web Services. This deal exemplifies the developments we can expect in virtualization technologies in the years to come. No longer relegated to strict production environments for high performance and variable workloads, newer technologies, such as OS container-based virtualization, will make further inroads, and strategies for non-production workloads will continue to develop as virtualization expands into new use cases.
Here are three predictions for the year ahead in virtualization:
1. Bringing Cloud Computing to Non-Production Workloads
Traditionally, cloud computing has been reserved for production workloads, but its cost-effective and on-demand nature makes it an ideal solution for non-production workloads as well. For example, Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), data protection and archiving all benefit from virtualized environments. A DRaaS solution is, in reality, a fully functional copy of production workloads and therefore can be used for the non-production workloads, making it an important part of a recoverable environment.
Most companies traditionally use virtualization to segregate their test and production environments, but a new approach allows for a combination of both the test and production environments, which can alleviate the damage of losing one or more production servers. In essence, this approach spreads risk and results in reduced failure, faster restarts and the ability to squeeze resources from virtual non-production infrastructure in the event you need additional resources for production VMs. This additional cushion allows your environment to handle an outage or spike in resources without disruption.
2. The Virtualization of Infrastructures
Let the price wars begin. In the year ahead, IT departments will increasingly employ virtual infrastructures, along with hyper-convergent services and software, and virtualization vendors will be pressured to provide better products at better prices.
Hyper-converged infrastructures not only simplify the architecture of virtual environments at reduced costs, but also integrate computing, storage, networking and virtualization resources that have been preconfigured to work together. Vendors specializing in virtual environment backup now offer various solutions for non-production workloads, ranging from tightly integrated hypervisor-level VM replication to DRaaS. Expect the DRaaS market, for example, to experience huge growth in the next few years.
3. Containers March on Toward Production
Granted, virtual machines have proven to be able to handle even the most critical workloads. Containers, however, are quickly maturing and making great strides into production environments. Whereas with virtualization each VM workload runs with its own copy of the operating system, containers package up applications and all their dependencies, but use a single operating system. Containers (also referred to as workload isolation) allow you to achieve a similar capacity to isolate workloads, but result in a lighter weight system, requiring less equipment.
However, containers remain a relatively nascent technology and face certain challenges. First and foremost, containers have yet to fully address some security issues. While containers are designed to ensure the isolation of each application, the jury is still out on whether every situation of malware snooping can be eliminated. For example, when two containers are allowed to talk to each other, and one of them is loaded with malicious code, that container may dig for encryption keys in the shared data. However, continuing advances in container technology should lead to improved solutions that can mitigate the effect of such attack scenarios.
The Year Ahead
2017 will continue to see virtualization and the cloud impact data centers of all sizes, allowing businesses to increase performance while reducing costs. In all aspects, we will watch as virtualization and the cloud move into previously non-virtual environments and bring flexibility and efficiency into previously rigid and inefficient realms.
About the Author
Todd Scallan, VP of Product and Engineering
Todd Scallan leads product vision and engineering execution of the Axcient platform, and has more than 25 years of product management and engineering experience. Most recently, Todd was VP of Product Management for Interwoven, where he spent eight years overseeing the definition and delivery of enterprise software products for content management. Before Interwoven, Todd worked at Segue Software and start-up Black & White Software, which Segue acquired. His roles included VP of Engineering for Segue's functional testing and software metering solutions and VP of Business Development for Black & White's distributed application development products. Prior to Segue, Todd spent 11 years at IBM. He holds a Master of Science in computer engineering, a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and has published numerous articles and papers on a range of computing topics.