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Does the Cloud and Containerization Mean the End of Traditional Virtualization?

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Does the Cloud and Containerization Mean the End of Traditional Virtualization?

By Steven Hunt, Sr. Product Manager and Strategist, SolarWinds

At VMworld 2015, there was much information and discussion regarding the future of virtualization. More specifically, how emerging technology concepts, like cloud and containers, are impacting that future. While these technologies are sure to affect the future of virtualization, it's worth taking a closer look at them and how great their impact will really be.


It's safe to say the cloud era is here and in full effect. It doesn't matter whether we are talking about public, private, hybrid, software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), etc., many organizations are at least considering adopting cloud computing in one form or another.

In the early days of cloud, SaaS was the dominate form. The rise of companies like is a prominent testament to the success of the SaaS model. Quickly following came the gradual adoption of IaaS. But all of the grandeur regarding cloud computing was not, and is not, without its drawbacks. Thus, many organizations were and still are resistant to moving all applications and data to the cloud for varying reasons. This has led to the introduction of the hybrid cloud approach.

Hybrid cloud seems to provide a solution to many of the problems associated with using a pure cloud strategy. Organizations can quickly scale out the applications they need to in the cloud, but still keep sensitive data within their data center. It's seemingly the best of both worlds. Public cloud vendors like Amazon and Microsoft are even adopting ways to allow companies to seamlessly connect to AWS and Azure, and make the cloud an extension of the datacenter.


The strong emergence of containers is already making an impact today. Even Microsoft is working on container support. In case you've been living under a rock, here is some insight as to what container technology is all about. In short, containers allow an application to have all of its dependencies packaged with it, and remove the requirement of ensuring the operating system has those dependencies for runtime. This makes the application ultra-portable and less susceptible to compatibility issues when transitioning to and from environments.

Containers have huge, broader implications for the future, but right now, the technology is mainly seeing growth with organizations that develop or run Linux-based applications. However, as the technology matures and sees wider adoption, we will potentially see Linux and Windows applications written to support the distribution of packaged containers for general consumption by the IT systems administrator.

The Future of Virtualization

However, none of this means the end of traditional virtualization. It's simply an evolution. What we know as traditional virtualization will slowly have its footprint reduced, but still live in coexistence with technologies such as cloud and containers. In the end, what companies will focus on is the best technologies and methodologies for deploying and supporting the applications that users rely on. And that will likely be a multi-faceted approach for most companies, as different applications will benefit differently in the new landscape.

Moving forward, a new set of solutions will be required to support this evolved environment. They will require the ability to interact with a wide range of technologies and solve a broad set of problems. Even though native solutions and tools will be available, IT organizations will be looking for those with a greater scope of interaction. This has been the trend since the last recession, and it will not likely end anytime soon. Everyone will continue to seek out how to do more with less.

In this coming mixed landscape of virtualization, cloud and containers, administrators will need the tools to discern the performance and issues related to all environment delivery methods. Not only will it be imperative to see the performance and issues, but administrators will also need to benefit from information related to root cause and path to resolution.

Already today, administrators struggle to keep up with expertise in all of the areas they manage. The addition of more technologies, like containers, will increase that ever expanding knowledge gap. The tools that are able to bridge that knowledge gap will become extremely valuable for a vast majority of IT organizations.


About the Author

Steven has been involved in the IT industry for more than 10 years, focusing on server-based computing, desktop virtualization, end user computing and server virtualization solutions for SMB to enterprise environments. Currently, he is responsible for product strategy for server and application monitoring and virtualization management at SolarWinds.

Make sure to also read, "On-Premises versus Cloud-based Storage" , "Virtualization Security on the Front Lines" and "In the New Wild West of Storage, the Virt Admin is Sheriff"

Published Monday, September 21, 2015 6:55 AM by David Marshall
@VMblog - (Author's Link) - December 17, 2015 9:40 AM

Nowadays, there is a wealth of analyst data regarding the forecast and growth of cloud computing. My favorite breakdown of this information for 2015 is by Forbes and can be found here.

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