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Quest Software: 2011 Virtualization and Cloud Predictions

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

Contributed Article By Scott Herold, Director of Virtualization Strategy for Quest's Virtualization & Cloud Management Division

2011 Virtualization and Cloud Predictions

As I sat down to write this, I managed to surprise myself by realizing that I'm about to close out my 8th year in the virtualization space, and I can honestly say this past year has been one of the most remarkable in terms of the growth of virtualization.  The market has matured so much already, and yet it's still inspiring to stop and think about the next frontier.  I see the market taking next steps in 2011 that speak to the following four themes:

Virtualization Will Be Recognized as King of the Datacenter

Initial adoption of virtualization thrived and then leveled off as organizations approached 30-35% virtualized. It became increasingly more difficult to continue to extend virtualization's reach into the datacenter as both technical and business challenges surmounted -- sprawl, manual provisioning dragging on staff, proper visibility into virtualization's impact on applications and end users, etc. Proper tooling has helped resolve some of these pains, and the market is soldiering on, albeit slowly, and a bit more cautiously.  When virtualization adoption gets to a market average of about 50% within organizations, we'll hit the next growing pain, the critical mass of virtualization. People will start to see virtualization as the standard, something that can encompass all systems in a unified way - connecting physical and virtual together. Rather than view virtualization as a plug-in module or an exception.  2011 will see organizations driving virtualization initiatives start to consider the whole system - hardware, storage, networking, and most importantly, virtualization from implementation to management. The tension between physical vs. virtual will fade as the market puts virtualization first and standard in the whole system, and no longer treats it like the step-child of the datacenter.

Legacy Systems Won't Jive with the Next-Gen, Virtualization-Centric Datacenter

I hinted at this above, but let's face it: virtualization isn't just an accessory item anymore. It's grown to more than that, and anyone who treats it as anything less is missing the value and the profound impact it has on the way their organization could be doing business. This is especially true for "legacy" management and data protection vendors. Vendors supporting only some of the key needs of the datacenter (as driven by hypervisor) or those that treat virtualization as a plug-in module to a legacy management model won't meet the needs of the IT Departments who rely upon the stack and on the things virtualization truly enhances: reliability, scalability and portability. The market's going to start figuring out that virtualization encompasses the whole datacenter - one of diverse hypervisors as a central hub to various layers of the stack -- and whole-system tools will follow close behind. 

Virtualization Is Turning Business Processes on their Heads

The maturity I'm describing in 2011 won't stop with only a technical focus. From the administrator to the CIO, the business processes surrounding and supported by IT will have to grow, too. As virtualization becomes more pervasive in IT, new security concerns arise, new provisioning needs evolve, data management needs grow and capacity demands will change. Delivering IT more broadly and deeply via virtualization will call for a revision to current key business processes in place. Each organization will have to identify their biggest opportunities that virtualization brings for operational efficiencies and focus on delivering these, especially as the datacenter continually becomes more fluid.

[Dare I say it?]

2011 Will Not Be the Year of the Cloud

We're excited about "the cloud", yes. But do we really have this next new buzzword truly defined? Is it defined according to the needs of the market? Is it defined in a way that the market can accept? Simply put, No. What we do have today are pockets of use cases and some budding, early-stage awareness that my Grandma's ability to edit pictures = "cloud"; we're still not exactly confident yet that we can run key aspects of our business external to our IT infrastructure. There's a lot of talk out there about Public Clouds in 2011, but we need to walk before we run.  Walking is what's in store for 2011, and it looks more like private cloud is the direction we're headed. Let IT organizations experiment with the technology from the safe confines of their own datacenters; where they can play with the automation capabilities and understand the effects these have on rapid provisioning and deployment, heterogeneous infrastructure management, and ultimately, enhanced IT Service Delivery. A little more confidence with this fluid datacenter model and the market will be off and, well, running... but not for a little while yet.

I ended this on what can be perceived as a sour note; so let me restate that the next horizon for us in virtualization is an exciting place to be. IT service delivery will take on a whole new dimension with virtualization-as-standard maturity; it will ultimately impact how organizations manage not only their datacenter, but also IT as a business, while allowing them to provide the most dynamic ability to service their customer that we've ever been able to experience.

About the Author

Scott Herold is the Director of Virtualization Strategy for Quest's Virtualization & Cloud Management Division. With more than a decade of industry experience in operating system, network, security and storage design, Scott is a pioneer in architecting advanced virtualization solutions. Scott also is the co-author of two best-selling books, "VMWare ESX Server: Advanced Technical Design Guide," and "VMWare Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide." 

Focused on helping organizations achieve the benefits of virtualization while minimizing the challenges, Scott is a frequent presenter at industry events, and contributes to white papers and articles focused on virtualization best practices.

Follow Scott on his blog:

Published Thursday, December 23, 2010 9:00 PM by David Marshall
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