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Virtualization in 2012: Enabling "Data Centers" to Become "Service Centers"

Virtualization in 2012: Enabling "Data Centers" to Become "Service Centers"

A Contributed Article by Oracle 

IT needs are evolving rapidly as data centers transform into service centers. Service centers need to deliver applications on demand with high "Quality of Service" and respond to changing customer requirements with speed and agility. With users demanding access to applications and services 24x7, service-level agreements have become stringent. In addition, cloud computing continues to gain popularity, reflecting user needs to rapidly access, deploy and scale services.

All the components required to deliver a complete service must work together, and be available faster, in order to satisfy an increasing appetite for IT services. Users are less accepting of traditional IT service levels, with many now demanding IT resources just in time. As a result, there is a need for greater speed and efficiency in how software and solutions are deployed and managed. These trends are pushing IT departments to find better ways to integrate, provision, deploy, and manage systems at a faster pace, without straining already burdened budgets.

Virtualization is a key technology used in data centers to more efficiently utilize infrastructure resources. Many companies are using server virtualization to consolidate systems and reduce capital expenditure (CAPEX). With IT staff now tasked to deliver on-demand services, data center virtualization requirements have gone well beyond simple consolidation and CAPEX reduction.

With users looking for IT to provide the efficiency, speed and responsiveness to deploy complete application stacks, simply provisioning and delivering an operating environment falls short. IT organizations must rapidly deliver private cloud services, such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS). As a result, virtualization solutions need to facilitate flexibility, agility, and speed in deploying complete, fully configured, multi-tier, application stacks to support the new service-based charter.

The Changing Face of Virtualization

The first wave of virtualization focused on consolidation to lower equipment and energy costs, reduce the data center footprint, and build standard operating system images to provision new systems faster. While server virtualization succeeded at standardizing and automating operating system builds, it remained focused on the operating system layer. This strategy worked well for high volume file, print, and Web server consolidation, where high availability and scalability requirements are less stringent. It even led to the efficient provisioning of physical servers through the use of virtual machine images - yet lacked integration with enterprise-class applications and platform software running in virtual environments.

Keeping Pace with Evolving IT Needs

As IT organizations look to deliver on-demand services, virtualization requirements continue to advance - and companies are realizing that server virtualization is only an enabler and a starting point. IT organizations also need the ability to package complete application environments that can be flexibly deployed on demand. Today's virtualization solutions need to:

  • Evolve beyond simple consolidation
  • Support complex, enterprise application environments that meet stringent high availability and scalability requirements
  • Integrate with the applications running in the virtual environment
  • Make the entire application stack easier to provision, deploy, manage, and support
  • Result in greater IT efficiency, agility, and flexibility

Integrated Management

As virtualization becomes an effective tool to provision enterprise applications and infrastructure helping IT to deliver on-demand services, users will look for better and closer integration with applications, middleware, databases, operating systems, servers, storage and desktop solutions. Above all, integrated management of applications and the virtualization technologies will become increasingly important. Having a single console for end-to-end monitoring, configuration management, and lifecycle automation of the virtualized apps -- along with the infrastructure -- will drive better optimization, and maximize the efficiency of IT operations.

In 2012, virtualization will go beyond consolidation and begin to unleash its true potential for application provisioning, deployment and management.


Published Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:48 AM by David Marshall
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