Virtualization Technology News and Information
Reflex Systems: 2011 – The Year of the Virtualization Administrator

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed Article By Preston Futrell, President and CEO, Reflex Systems

2011 - The Year of the Virtualization Administrator

Since the advent of virtualization, when virtual machines were initially relegated to testing and lab environments, the virtualization administrator largely played an understudy role. There he has hovered, waiting in the wings while the server, storage and networking teams took the lead when it came to budget, management, and security discussions.

Many initial virtualization efforts began as skunkworks projects led by those in the trenches trying to find ways to simplify day-to-day tasks while maximizing the resources they had.  The teams spearheading virtualization deployments have been swimming against the tide for years, trying to get buy-in from executive management and dedicated budget to expand these projects and gain broader business benefits from this powerful technology.

In 2011, as virtualization continues to grow in importance and becomes a unifying technology across the enterprise, bringing together storage, network, and server teams, the virtualization administrator will take his rightful role at center stage.  There will be a greater shift in the balance of power within the traditional entrenched IT bureaucracy to support boarder virtualization and cloud computing efforts that have already proven to have a positive impact on the business.

Enterprises beginning to embrace this concept are extending the power of IT by enabling individual business units to go to the cloud to manage IT resources through self-service models.  The virtualization administrator further solidifies his place within the IT organization by leveraging virtualization to provide a more service oriented IT structure.  The role that IT has traditionally played "behind-the-scenes" is now pushed more to the forefront, thus increasing the value the IT organization brings to the business as a whole. 

You could say that-until now- virtualization (and with it, the virtualization administrator) has been a victim of its own success, so clearly delivering on the promises of being cost-effective and easy to deploy that it has not received the attention it deserves. As organizations expand their use of virtualization, the models for how IT structures and uses virtualization solutions will have to adapt, as will the role of the IT professional managing them.  Relegating ongoing management and integrated oversight of the virtual infrastructure to a second-tier role is no longer a possibility.

One specific area where virtualization is unifying and providing benefit across an entire environment is visibility. Where it has been difficult to gain visibility across traditionally siloed groups and areas of infrastructure, the use of virtualization enables an organization to obtain a holistic view, from a ‘single pane of glass' as it were, via its usage across an enterprise. This visibility places a great deal of power in the hands of the virtualization administrator, making him a force to be reckoned with and providing him a powerful toolkit that can be shared and must be respected by the various players within an IT organization.

As he continues to demonstrate virtualization's full capabilities-some of which are still emerging-the virtualization administrator will begin to play a more central role in IT decisions, from capacity planning and application development, to security policy and deployment. With this elevated role, he will look to leverage tools that improve his productivity and enable him to oversee an ever-increasing amount of responsibility without having to spend 24/7 at the office. He will look to increase the scalability and efficiency of the technology he manages, in order to realize the automation and ease-of-use benefits that virtualization promises.

Traditional management and security vendors have not yet caught up to provide the capabilities and solve the real problems that plague virtualization administrators every day. In 2011, as the size of the virtual data center continues to encroach on the broader data center, these vendors will start to pay more attention to the needs of the virtualization administrator, and will build, partner or acquire their way into infrastructure management solutions that seamlessly integrate both physical and virtual environment management. We have already seen companies like HP, IBM, CA, Cisco, and Juniper began to take steps in this direction.  The evolution of these strategies and technology solutions will further enable the virtualization administrator to not just provide a supporting role, but truly shine in his ability to unify and reduce costs across the wide expanse of an organization and to deliver on the promises of virtualization and cloud computing.

About the Author

Preston Futrell serves as president and CEO of Reflex Systems. He was previously the Vice President of Sales and Business Development for the company, leading all revenue generating activity and playing an instrumental role in Reflex's revenue growth over the past several years. Preston brings significant business experience in the software and network security industries to his role. Prior to joining Reflex Systems, he was a sales executive for IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS), Americas Group, where his responsibilities included managing Strategic Outsourcing Services and Professional Services business for North and Latin America. Futrell was influential in the growth of ISS in the last decade and played a key role in the integration of the ISS Sales organization into IBM after their acquisition in 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University.

Published Thursday, December 16, 2010 5:10 AM by David Marshall
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