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2009: The Unification of Virtualization and Cloud Computing

What do virtualization executives think about 2009?  A Series Exclusive.

By Scott McIntyre, VP of Software Product Marketing, Emulex Corporation

2009: The Unification of Virtualization and Cloud Computing

2008 was the year that virtualization adoption evolved and became more mainstream – when users began to shift their view of server virtualization from that of a simple tool for consolidation to one of a means to create a more robust computing platform, hosting more demanding applications via virtual servers (e-mail, database, etc.). So, what’s next for virtualization? In 2009, we can expect vendors to enhance existing virtualization technologies, and cloud computing will begin to emerge as the user resource of choice for taking advantage of consolidated resources. With that in mind, the top five predictions for virtualization in 2009 are as follows:

1. Robust computing platforms and new generations of hypervisors will further drive the demand for virtualization.
Server virtualization technologies will continue to mature, making server virtualization the basis for more robust computing platforms, encouraging customers to move more and more applications to virtual machines, which in turn will drive more widespread use of virtualization technologies. For example, migration of virtual machines using tools will become a more common practice, as will the hosting of more demanding applications (mail servers, databases, etc.) Additionally, vendors will unveil the next generation of hypervisors that will leverage advanced capabilities, providing users with the ability to house many more virtual machines on their servers, while delivering higher availability and much better management capabilities.

2. Industry standard N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) will go mainstream.
NPIV was a key element in driving server virtualization adoption in 2008. The standard makes storage connections portable across servers, facilitating users’ I/O bandwidth and access to storage. By giving each VM its own address on a Fibre Channel SAN, NPIV allows several virtual machines (VMs) to use the same connection, but each with its own logical address that can move with the VM. This enables a much tighter integration of the VM itself with its network and storage services so that users have the ability to track and chargeback storage utilization at the VM level. NPIV will become mainstream in 2009, continuing to aid in the adoption of server virtualization and, in turn, driving the need for simplified networking and fabric convergence.

3. Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology use will gather steam.
In line with a need for convergence, there will be a surge in FCoE technology adoption in 2009. FCoE enables a single network, consolidating Fibre Channel and Ethernet on a 10Gb/s Enhanced Ethernet network, on which users can run different storage and network access technologies. The result is more streamlined IT operations, higher staff productivity, and a reduction in the number of ports, cards inside servers and cables by approximately 50 percent. By leveraging field-proven Fibre Channel SAN technology, FCoE allows companies to extend their existing investments in infrastructure, management, training and processes. This, in turn, will bring the vision of cloud computing much closer to reality. In fact, the cloud may help drive the adoption of convergence on Enhanced Ethernet because enterprises will need the added bandwidth to support resource sharing.
4. A more ambitious, virtualization-based model of cloud computing will emerge.
In a time when business is tough (and getting tougher), companies are struggling to become more competitive, flexible and resilient. Cloud computing promises the right combination of asset reallocation, on-demand services and application agility to be the next competitive advantage for businesses. In the year ahead, companies will look to leverage more virtualized resources – including NPIV and FCoE – inside the cloud because virtualization enables the conversion of physical resources (like processors and storage) into scalable and shareable resources over the Internet - a strategic tool for competitiveness.

5. Unified connectivity will help address cloud computing security concerns.
As more and more users deploy cloud computing infrastructures and business-critical data and resources are put on the cloud, security will become a key concern for end users. In 2009, unified connectivity will emerge as an important strategy for cloud computing users, because it leverages data center virtualization to build a connectivity model that provides universal access, security and protection of data stored in the cloud. This approach means the cloud will become the resource of choice for taking advantage of consolidated resources, without sacrificing security and plans for convergence onto one fabric.

About Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre joined Emulex in October 2005 and serves as vice president of software product marketing. Mr. McIntyre has played a key role in establishing Emulex as a market leader in server virtualization and has spearheaded the broad integration of Emulex's host bus adapter management capabilities with all major operating platforms.
Mr. McIntyre has over 20 years of experience in the storage industry. Prior to joining Emulex, he was senior director of solutions marketing at Hitachi Data Systems and previous to that vice president of product management and marketing at Legato Software. Mr. McIntyre has also held a variety of engineering and marketing management positions at Sun Microsystems and IBM. Mr. McIntyre holds a master's degree in business administration from Santa Clara University and a bachelor of engineering degree in computer science from the University of Florida.

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Published Thursday, December 11, 2008 6:00 AM by David Marshall
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