Virtualization Technology News and Information
2009 and Beyond: Virtualization's Definition Broadens, and so do Management Technologies

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

Contributed by Ken Oestreich, Vice President of Product Marketing at Egenera Corporation

2009 and beyond:  Virtualization’s definition broadens, and so do management technologies

During 2009, we will see the market for virtualization finally evolve. It will expand from the current myopic perspective of hardware virtualization to include realizations that:

  • There are many types of hardware and OS virtualization, each appropriate for different uses and environments,
  • For true flexibility, IT operations will also need to leverage virtualization of I/O, networks and storage.

These realizations will serve to highlight the fact that virtualization is not an end-in-itself; and instead, is an enabler of higher-level services. IT departments will also discover that more advanced software is required to manage the many types of virtualization and deliver more reliable, dynamic data center services. Customers will begin to demand tools that manage more than VMs, and also integrate management of all forms of virtualization – OS, I/O, network and storage – and do so across multi-vendor technologies.

Because of the current dominance of VMware, the industry has assumed that hardware virtualization is the hub around which all virtual design has to be made. But in fact there are many forms of virtualization (differing forms of abstraction) for loosely-coupling hardware, software, network and storage.  There is OS virtualization (currently typified by Parallels’ Virtuozzo), OS containers (such as Solaris Zones and IBM LPARS), I/O and network virtualization, and of course storage virtualization. Each of these is optimized for different uses. But they have to be leveraged and orchestrated as one.

Let’s be clear: all of these forms of virtualization are not the end-goal. The real and future value of these technologies will be the higher-level services they enable.  For example, it is simplistic to believe that the value of hardware virtualization is only for performing consolidation. When coupled with network and storage virtualization, VMs offer sophisticated forms of high availability, disaster recovery, and service migration across all forms of platforms. When managed together, these new levels of abstraction will enable true utility computing, “cloud” style elastic compute services, and forms of IT services that are fully driven by business priorities rather than technical convenience.

Further, in 2009 we’ll see more forms of network, I/O and storage virtualization applied in ways to create more reliable dynamic compute power. Whether-or-not hardware VMs are present, production-quality reliability levels can be created simply by virtualizing I/O, and dynamically re-directing it to different physical hardware.

And, sometime in 2009, the industry will finally acquiesce that the various virtualization technologies will need to be orchestrated – which won’t be easy.  Although virtualization vendors would have us believe that virtualization simplifies IT, it actually complicates management by adding additional objects and dependencies, and frequently results in “virtual sprawl”.  Add in the fact that nearly all medium- and large-scale IT operations will likely end-up with two or more vendor technologies for each virtualization type – seriously, who won’t somehow end-up with both VMware and Microsoft? Then add Citrix/Xen into the mix if you’re a Linux user. And consider that almost no medium- or large-scale operation expects to virtualize everything – so now there will be a requirement to manage physical assets as well.

We’ll begin to see the market demand a new breed of hybrid tools & infrastructure to manage mixed physical and virtualized environments, with multiple types of virtualization technologies from multiple vendors.

For example, when new VMs are created, new virtual I/O and networks will get generated, as will new storage connections.  Even when new physical instances are generated, I/O, network and storage will adapt transparently. These hybrid tools will finally add what IT operations has lacked: a data center infrastructure that is highly agile and dynamic (at all virtualization levels), is highly reliable (at micro- and macro-levels, regardless of underlying hardware), and operates across all new and legacy hardware platforms.

These management tools will finally make extraordinarily efficient use of hardware and network assets, and simplify (if not automate) many of today’s administrative tasks. It will not be a stretch of reality to expect CapEx and OpEx savings approaching 50%.

The market today is fixated on single forms of virtualization, and makes inherent assumptions that everything will ultimately be virtualized. Exiting 2009, we’ll begin to see the new reality: tools which manage physical as well as virtual environments, as well as managing multiple virtualization technologies from multiple vendors.

About Egenera:
Egenera makes every data center a reliable dynamic data center, quickly and easily.  The company’s integrated enterprise data center solutions, powerful PAN Manager® software and professional services are trusted globally to deliver proven value through agility, reliability and availability.  Egenera solutions and services guarantee wire-once, always on, physical and virtual management across the data center with measurable savings. Headquartered in Marlboro, Mass., Egenera has offices worldwide. For more information visit, call 508-858-2600 or send email to

About the Author
Ken Oestreich is Vice President of Product Marketing at Egenera Corporation, and has over 20 years experience developing new technologies, products and markets.

Prior to Egenera, he led the product marketing team at Cassatt Corp. and helped define the market for utility computing and internal cloud computing. Ken was previously at Sun Microsystems, where he served in many capacities, including business management for an incubator business unit, coordinating Java and software strategy, and driving developer, SI/ISV and partner programs and marketing, others..  Ken also helped found the Liberty Alliance, now an industry-wide 150+ company body which creates federated identity technology standards for the internet. Prior to Sun, he held a number of marketing and sales development positions in early-stage technology and consulting companies.

Ken’s career began as an engineer of digital electronics controlling adaptive optics with Litton Industries. Ken holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.

Published Sunday, December 14, 2008 3:30 PM by David Marshall
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