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"Virtually 2009" - Trends and Predictions of Virtualization Technology in 2009

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

Contributed by Marty Kacin, co-founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer for KACE

"Virtually 2009” - Trends and Predictions of Virtualization Technology in 2009

Virtualization in 2008 continued to prove its importance in the areas of migration, high availability, system/data center consolidation, and also energy conservation.  Virtualization has quickly rooted itself as a key computing technology in both the consumer and enterprise sectors.  To date, virtualization has primarily been a term related to "hypervisor" technology (in general, the isolation or abstraction of a complete operating system(s) from its underlying hardware or computing infrastructure).  Respectively, the virtualization trends we have seen have focused primarily on the virtualization and management of virtual machines.

In 2009, I believe virtualization will continue to evolve in countless productive ways.  The trends already in play will advance the capabilities and sophistication of hypervisor technology.  In parallel to the maturing of hypervisor technology, will be new forms of virtualization (non-hypervisor forms) that will benefit both systems administrators and end users alike.

In regards to the enterprise computing arena -- where volumes of new virtualization technologies will no doubt continue to be developed – I predict a few trends to be most notable in 2009:

  • Systems management software will move beyond parity in regards to its support for virtualization infrastructure as opposed to supporting traditional systems.
  • Computer platform vendors will incorporate more and more native support for virtualization technologies within their respective platforms, thus increasing competitive market pressures faced by hypervisor companies (e.g. VMWare, Citrix).
  • PC and server manufacturers will optimize their offering to natively support virtualization infrastructure directly from the factory. Additionally, hardware configurations will be offered that support new large scale VDI deployments and "data centers in a box".

On the consumer side of computing, one trend that will likely continue to rise is use virtual machines to support migration to new or alternate computing platforms.  The premier example of this is the migration of "Windows" users to "Mac" users.  In this case, new Mac users are using desktop hypervisor technology (aka Fusion, Parallels) to maintain their legacy XP environment while they transition to their new operating environment.

Hopefully, accessibility to these new levels of virtualization technologies will transcend the various commercial sectors and penetrate into the small, mid-, and large-size enterprises. As we follow these trends thru 2009, I predict a few new non-hypervisor virtualization technologies will begin to establish its value in enterprise computing.

Topping the list is "container" or "sandbox" virtualization technology that supports isolation and abstraction computing metaphors between the operating system and components within the operating system. A specific type of container virtualization includes "application container virtualization" where applications are virtualized from the underlying operating system. 

Such container-based virtualization technology yields the following benefits:

  • The ability to maintain high levels of availability "within the container" without carrying the overhead of virtualizing (or snap-shotting) the entire operating system that hosts the virtual container.
  • Container-based virtualization can secure the host operating system and host network from malicious content encountered by the application and the application container.  Web browsers, specifically (IE, Firefox, etc), can reach all new levels of security through the implementation of browser-specific application containers.
  • The ability for users to store and manage data files within a virtual container.  "Virtual data containers" provide high level of user data mobility (for the purposes of backup, multi-point access, and migration).
  • Virtual containers are highly manageable providing the systems administrators advanced techniques for container deployment, container policy management, and operations automation and synchronization.

As we move into 2009, virtual container technology, as described above, could quickly find its way from desktop computing to server-top computing.  As virtual container technology matures, not only would desktop applications, user data, and browsers be primary container targets, but server applications would logically benefit from containerization. At that point, an interesting tension between virtualizing the server application verse virtualizing the entire server may form.

In 2009, I predict we will continue to witness tremendous development with current virtualization technologies, architectures, and computing metaphors.  Compounding the options and virtualization techniques available, will be new forms of intriguing virtualization capabilities that will exist "inside the operating system" or "inside the guest OS".  Combining advancements focused on the traditional virtual machine and advancements with "container-based" virtualization, 2009 will prove yet another exciting and productive year of virtualization.

About Marty Kacin

Marty is co-founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer for KACE. Prior to co-founding KACE, he co-founded AvantGo (formerly NASDAQ: AVGO, since acquired by Sybase). During his tenure at AvantGo, Marty held key executive positions as Vice President of Applications, Professional Services, and as CTO of the enterprise applications organization. Prior to AvantGo, Marty was a founding member and Vice President of Engineering of both Intranet Partners (an Internet technology engineering group) and the Stanford Center for Surgical Computing.

Marty is a 20 year veteran of the high tech software industry with broad experience in the IT, mobile, software development, and medical computing fields. He has built a reputation as a leader uniquely capable of driving business, technology, and product direction. During his career, Marty has also held engineering and management positions with NeXT Computer, Puritan Bennett, and Hewlett-Packard. Marty holds BS degrees in General Science and Computer Science along with a BBA in Business from the University of Wisconsin.

Published Monday, December 15, 2008 6:21 AM by David Marshall
Filed under:
Trends and Predictions for Virtualization in 2009 from KACE President Marty Kacin | Big Winner - (Author's Link) - February 25, 2009 2:01 PM
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