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Welcome to Virtualization and Beyond

Welcome to Virtualization and Beyond

Contributed by Michael Thompson, Principal Product Market Management, SolarWinds

Well, as this is my inaugural post to the newly minted Virtualization and Beyond guest blog here at VMblog, let me just say how excited I am for this opportunity. I have followed VMblog for quite a while now and have always been impressed by the quality of the information and broad range of viewpoints presented here on a daily basis. I'm very much looking forward to being a regular part of the conversation.

I decided on the name Virtualization and Beyond because not only will I explore the vast topic of virtualization, but also how virtualization interacts with the broader IT landscape. This includes technology areas such as applications and storage, as well as different roles within IT such as management, operations and development. After all, while virtualization might quickly be becoming the center of the IT universe, there are still a lot of other important things in orbit around it.

As you know, one of the most important things that virtualization does for the IT infrastructure is make it radically faster and easier to make changes to the environment. New virtual servers can be created in minutes and existing workloads can be moved from one location to another without any down time. But that same speed and flexibility can also cause problems.

For example, in the old days of physical servers and dedicated storage, implementing a new application could take months of planning and implementation. While this seems glacially slow by today's standards, it did provide the benefit that all of the components required for that application were carefully planned and architected. The application matched the server and storage capacity and given the level of effort needed to make changes, things were pretty constant over time. Virtualization changed all of that, though. Sure, it makes the entire environment much more dynamic, but with this new speed and flexibility, it has also become much harder to ensure that all components are architected to meet the overall requirements of the application.

As an analogy, think of the application infrastructure stack as a house where all the parts have to work together appropriately to create a solid structure. The foundation, walls and roof all need to function together to keep the house standing. Similarly, storage, virtual servers and applications all need to function together to keep the IT environment functioning properly.

However, unlike building a house, in IT each layer is often operated relatively independently. In many data centers, each layer of the stack can be moved or changed easily in real time. Going back to the house analogy, it's like if the crew in charge of the walls suddenly decide that all the load bearing walls to the west are blocking the view and rapidly move them to the east side of the house. The foundation crew might also decide that there is much better support in the firm soil under the north side of the house instead of the sand on the south side, so they independently move all their supports to the north. You don't have to be an architect to know what will happen to the roof and the whole house in this scenario.

Applying this to the application infrastructure stack, decisions made at each layer might make sense in isolation, but without synchronizing on the bigger picture, the ultimate business objective of optimizing application performance often won't be met. Consequently, new ways of seeing the big picture that will allow the whole IT department to work together without handcuffing individual teams are critical.

With all of the exciting, broad technology developments happening that are sure to impact how we view and leverage virtualization-high capacity, high performance VMs that enable more virtualization of mission critical applications; storage technology advances like solid-state disks; software-defined networking; and hosted, cloud and hybrid applications-there is going to be a lot of things to talk about that cover virtualization and beyond.

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About the Author

Michael Thompson is a principal for product marketing management at SolarWinds. Prior to this role, he served as director of business strategy for virtualization and storage. Michael has worked in the IT management industry for more than 11 years, including leading product management teams and portfolios in the storage and virtualization/cloud spaces for IBM. He holds a master of business administration and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. 

Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:50 AM by David Marshall
Comments
@VMblogcom - (Author's Link) - February 20, 2014 6:46 AM

Computers and applications along with some form of management have been in general use by business for well over 30 years. In that time we have invented the Internet, GPS and the modern mobile phone, but we still haven't figured out how to make sure our

@VMblogcom - (Author's Link) - March 20, 2014 6:58 AM

As a company that does virtualization monitoring, the most prominent pain point we hear from customers is around storage I/O per second (IOPS). The speed at which the datastore can read and write data to the physical storage is still the most common limiting

@VMblogcom - (Author's Link) - April 22, 2014 7:27 AM

What IT administrator hasn't asked the question, "Will I still have a job if or when my company adopts the cloud?" A couple quick Google searches will return tons of opinions regarding the comparison of on-premise virtualization verses off-premise cloud

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