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Desktop and Storage Virtualization are the Next "Big Wave"

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

DataCore Software's CEO George Teixeira shares his viewpoint on 2010. Plus, representatives from two DataCore solution advisor partners weigh in on what they see coming in the virtualization space in 2010.

Desktop and Storage Virtualization are the next "big wave"-

George Teixeira - President & CEO of DataCore Software

Prediction: Consolidation was the driver of the first wave of virtualization. In 2010, both storage and desktop virtualization will go mainstream.

The next wave of virtualization will expand beyond servers into infrastructure virtualization and this drives the need to fully realize the advantages of advanced features for migration, business continuity and disaster recovery (DR). To do so cost effectively, virtual servers and desktops will require equally adept virtual storage solutions that can meet the infrastructure needs of the future while providing fault tolerant, high-availability, shared storage.

In the past, customers deploying virtual servers were using them primarily to get cost-savings from doing simple consolidation - for instance, ten servers down to two. What is happening more and more is that the installed base of virtualization users is growing more sophisticated and starting to use advance features like disaster recovery and "motion" or live migration capabilities - and those increase the need for high-availability, shared storage. More servers and more desktops stress both performance and failure scenarios. This again reinforces the need to find cost-effective solutions that are practical for solving the business continuity and DR problems that businesses everywhere face.

Prediction: The growing cost disparity between Hypervisors and traditional SANs and shared storage arrays, needed to support virtual infrastructures, will slow down the pace of virtualization adoption.

Customers are now experiencing "sticker shock" on storage solutions for their server and desktop virtualization projects. They are now balking at paying large premiums for high-availability SANs able to protect and support the new "must have" virtualization features like VM motion for business continuity and remote shared storage for DR. As hypervisor prices go down the price disconnect between practical SAN solutions and the virtual servers and desktops they are supporting grows.

There is a major price disconnect between what customers are now paying for virtual servers versus what they pay for traditional high-availability SANs. As Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer have established themselves, they have helped bring the price of virtual servers to the point that they are now priced affordably for even SMB customers. However, when these customers try to deploy business continuity or DR solutions, what they often find is that their $20,000 to $50,000 virtual server project requires a high-end fault tolerant SAN or a set of hardware based enterprise storage arrays, which are typically priced over $100,000. Otherwise, they don't have all the features needed to fully realize the business continuity and DR advantages that they assumed would come from virtualizing their infrastructure.

There is a big gap between the price for virtual infrastructures on the server-side and the price of supporting those servers by high-availability, hardware-base SANs.  DataCore offers a portable, software-based approach to storage that allows customers to get more from whatever storage they use, repurpose existing storage and systems and drastically reduces the CAPEX costs associated with traditional SANs; thereby providing solutions that remove the "sticker shock" and get the job done.  Storage virtualization from DataCore adds the needed high-availability features, performance acceleration and software longevity to fill the gap where hardware-based SANs fall short.

Prediction: Microsoft Hyper-V has created another wave - the whole Microsoft world -that is embracing virtualization and this trend will continue to accelerate in 2010.

The Microsoft virtualization wave, powered by Hyper-V, is bringing a whole new class of customers into virtualization that has not been here before. These customers are looking for easy-to-use storage that is understandable to the Microsoft world. One no longer can assume that there is a storage administrator. Instead, network or virtualization groups have to manage the storage solutions. Storage vendors that provide solutions that run seamlessly within Microsoft environments and, like DataCore solutions, perform like a logical extension of the Microsoft operating system that handles SANs  make storage management much easier and will be very well-positioned to meet the new Microsoft wave of users ready to  consume virtualization solutions.

Prediction: This will be the year of virtual desktop proof of concepts (POCs) and pilots; greatest challenge to success is overcoming the cost of storage and the ability to scale storage effectively.

Take a look at what Citrix, Microsoft and VMware are doing on the virtual desktop interface (VDI) front and it is obvious that this is a major battleground in 2010 and the stakes are high. While each of these vendors showcases cost-efficiencies and usability of their VDI solutions, all have largely ignored the storage problem - cost and scalability. Cost figures on ROI typically focus on the desktop cost savings and defer on what to do with storage to the storage vendor solutions. However, when current storage costs for traditional storage array solutions are factored in, the overall cost savings becomes unattractive.  And as the storage sizes grow, the problem gets worse.

Virtual desktops require virtual storage solutions of a like kind - flexible software solutions that can scale and adapt to whatever storage is available while providing the high-availability protection and the performance required.  Unlike hardware solutions, you can do a trial yourself and download DataCore solutions like Citrix Essentials StorageLink for Hyper-V and the DataCore Virtual Storage Appliance directly from the Citrix or DataCore website to test drive the capabilities in your own VDI trials.

DataCore is already deploying hundreds of VDI POCs and pilot projects along with Citrix, Microsoft and VMware and the reason is simple - a software solution that delivers performance acceleration and high-availability is required and traditional solutions don't fit the bill.

Prediction: Because virtual servers are starting to become a commodity - this puts even more importance on getting the storage piece right

Today, the real focus of concern is not so much on virtualizing servers but more on, "How good is my high-availability and shared storage?" There has been a shift of emphasis that will continue and quicken in 2010 from servers to storage. Storage is starting to be considered the more important part of the servers/storage equation - and will be a keen focus of IT solutions providers as well IT directors in 2010.

Virtualizing Desktops and Storage

Aaron Schneider - Director of Sales Engineering for Helixstorm, Inc.

Virtual servers and consolidation drove the first wave.

Aggregating compute resources through virtualization is now a black and white cost-savings value proposition. Server virtualization has proven itself by consolidating workloads and reducing hardware, power, cabling, and cooling costs. Many companies have already made the jump into virtualization and have successfully increased their service level agreements (SLAs) and implemented rapid application delivery to deal with ever changing business processes and to better protect their data through business continuity.

So what else can we do with virtualization and clouds?

While server virtualization for consolidation may be somewhat saturated, there are still very large untapped areas where virtualization or cloud computing will make a huge impact. Desktop and storage virtualization will be the next "big wave." There has been plenty of activity/discussions/buzz around adopting desktop computing into the cloud. However, virtualizing the desktop has nowhere near the adoption rate as server virtualization - even though the underlying technologies and concepts are identical. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has historically fallen short in two (2) keys areas - user experience delivery and short term ROI. At the end of the day, there is not a CEO on the planet that will sacrifice a poor user experience on the desktop to make life easier for IT. On the ROI front, there is a significant investment made to adopt desktop virtualization (server, storage, software, thin clients), which is why some organizations turn to vendors that offer desktops through SaaS (Software as a Service). However, over time, there is a strong ROI over the traditional desktop. In our opinion, the only true way to implement desktop virtualization is to de-couple the operating system from the applications and then in "real-time" mesh the two together and deliver to the end-user the usability they need. Citrix and VMware have the leading and most stable approaches for these types of implementations right now.

Organizations that have adopted or are looking to adopt server and desktop virtualization need to look strongly at the storage aspect. Virtualizing the storage layer to have a virtual infrastructure is critical. This gives companies the ability to implement Enterprise features to deliver business continuity such as synchronous and asynchronous replication to safeguard corporate information, without the "Enterprise" price tag. This is a key topic, since we find that many companies in the SMB market need the ability to provide Enterprise level features of a traditional storage solution, at a price point that fits their budget. A software approach to storage virtualization, such as that provided by DataCore software, does just that. It protects your software investment while the value of the hardware continues to depreciate on a daily basis.

The virtualization marketplace is still filled with solutions to help you improve and implement business processes. The impact of virtualization is spreading and this year it will lead to greater success for desktop and storage virtualization. In terms of desktops, new technologies like PCoIP (PC over IP) along with advancements in several connection broker technologies look to finally solve the end- user experience and deliver a seamless, near-native desktop computing platform. Storage virtualization as a software solution is breaking down the remaining hardware constraints and continues to evolve so that today it has become amore cost-effective alternative over traditional-based arrays and is doing so without sacrificing performance or features.  The key point is that the technology now exists to build virtual infrastructures and clouds, but it has to fit the budgets. Cost-effective storage virtualization solutions are a critical factor to the further growth of both server and desktop adoption in the marketplace.

Clouds  and Virtual Infrastructures

Craig Stein - Systems Architect for The Mirazon Group

Clouds and Virtual Infrastructures (not just virtual servers) that encompass virtual storage and VDI are the major opportunities for 2010:

1. The Cloud Computing concept will become more of a reality as service providers offer easy ways for customers to embrace the portability of their virtual workloads to move their VMs and storage from private clouds to hosted cloud infrastructures and back as needed.

2. Greater adoption of Microsoft Hyper-V R2 in both SMB and Enterprise markets for both development and production environments.

3. As organizations embrace Hyper-V we expect to see more products that support the backup and management of vSphere/ESX to also support the Hyper-V platform.

4. As IT budgets are cut, we expect to see a greater trend towards Storage Virtualization that allows commoditization of storage and a heterogeneous vendor approach - instead of a single vendor solution that locks the customer into their initial storage vendor.

5. We expect the VDI market will slowly yield solutions with lower CAPEX cost of Virtual Desktops. VDI is still very expensive from the Software/Thin Client/Storage (SAN) perspective. The ROI for VDI is currently realized through reduced OPEX costs. OPEX costs will also continue to improve as better management tools appear and the VDI software matures.

6. More and more organizations will realize the value of Virtualization as it relates to Disaster Recovery. Even small businesses are embracing Virtualization as the technology becomes more mainstream - simply for the recoverability.

7. In 2010, we expect the trend to continue where Application Vendors embrace virtualization of all workloads, including I/O intensive servers running SQL, Oracle, Exchange as the technology is understood, proven and trusted by the ISVs.

8. For Telephone/Communication systems, as SIP Trunks become more popular in replacing proprietary T1/E1 cards, we expect to see virtualization of voice platforms for increased uptime and DR that virtualization affords.

About DataCore Software

DataCore has developed a rich set of features and functions that frees storage from mechanical constraints and improves the speed, resiliency and utility of all the popular disk storage brands. DataCore's software operates across different networking connections to form a storage area network (SAN) that allows you to protect your data, avoid storage interruptions to your business and make it easier to manage your storage centrally. Thousands of installations around the globe, ranging from petabyte-sized disk farms to small workgroups, speak to the scalability and robustness of DataCore Software.  Find out more, go to http://www.datacore.com/.

About Helixstorm, Inc.

Helixstorm is an IT engineering firm focused on helping customers find the right technology solutions for their business. We help our customers design, implement, and support computing environments to comply with goals and needs of today with the ability to easily scale for future growth. Helixstorm is a DataCore Software partner, a VMware Enterprise Solution Provider Partner and a Dell registered Partner. For more, visit http://www.helixstorm.com/.

About The Mirazon Group

The Mirazon Group was formed to provide networking infrastructure assistance to business big or small. Our staff is made up of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers, Microsoft Certified Trainers, Certified VMware and SAN Engineers and Certified Cisco professionals. The team of professionals Mirazon employs has been providing state of the art technical services for over 20 years. Architectural designers and project managers alike are skilled in being able to reduce implementation time of projects and lower the total cost of applying new technology. For more, go to http://www.mirazon.com/.

Published Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:42 AM by David Marshall
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